Thursday 10 March 2022

Sierra de Mijas and Guadalhorce Pools, Malaga Province.

A morning Orchid hunting with Kiersten, Annette and Bob and later watching an American Gull on the coast.

Photographing a very smart Atlas Orchid that Kiersten found.
I arrived early and checked out one of the sites I planned to isit later to see if I could find a spike or two of the rare Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica) but I didn't find any Orchids at all at this side which was very worrying as in years gone by there were several hundred spikes of a few different species.
Anacamptis x dafnii.
Ophrys x Peltieri.
I gave up at this site and went to the meeting point in the Sierra de Mijas and after a short while Bob Hibbert arrived, It had been a while since we had seen each other so it was going to be good to catch up and Bob very kindly gave me a copy of the Orchids of Europe and the Med which I will put to good uses, a few minutes later Kiersten and Annette arrived and we got on with the search.
Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys Scolopax).

Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys Scolopax).
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
Almost straight away we found the first interesting plants but unfortunatley the two spikes of
Anacamptis x dafnii which is the hybrid between Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina) and Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) were passed their best so I will have to come back next year a tad earlier.
Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).

Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).
In the same area we also saw several spikes of
Woodcock (Ophrys Scolopax), Pink Butterfly Orchid and Ophrys x Peltieri our second hybrid of the morning.
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).

As we walked through the trees Kiersten made find of the day when she came across a very smart spike of the Atlas Orchid, the species I had looked for but could not find it earlier and thought we would miss out on today, very happy people.
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum).
We saw and heard Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
Ophrys x castroviejoi.
Ophrys x castroviejoi.
We continued on down to the main track, o the way we added
Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), several passed their best Fan-lipped (Anacamptis collina), a few Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum) before we found the spot for another hybrid, this time it was Ophrys x castroviejoi (O.Speculum X Scolopax).
Ophrys x castroviejoi.

Ophrys x castroviejoi.
Back in 2011
Juan Pérez Contreras and I found a single spike of this stunning plant which turned out to be the first record of this Hybrid to be recorded in Andalucia, so today it was nice to see it again and at least 6 spikes.
Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla).
Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla).
We returned to the cars seeing a single Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) on the way and headed to a spot near to Coin where we parked and checked a wooded bank near a large quarry and we quickly found several spikes of Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla) and further up on the bank good numbers of both Man (Orchis anthropophora) and Italian Man Orchids (Orchis Italica) and a single spike of well over with Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora).
Our last stop in this area was at the site which I had visited earlier and Orchid wise we had no more success but things had warmed up a little so we did see several butterfly species including Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small White (Pieris rapae), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) and a tatty lookng Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) along with Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
We all returned to the meeting point, Kiersten and Annette headed off home and Bob and I dropped down to the coast to visit the pools at Guadalhorce where we were hoping to find at least one of the two uncommon Bonaparte's Gulls (Gaviota de Bonaparte / Larus philadelphia) which had been around for a few days.
Bonaparte's Gull (Gaviota de Bonaparte / Larus philadelphia).
After a slight wrong turn leading to some rather tight streets in Mijas village we reached the site and walked out to the main hide over looking Laguna Grande, on the way we saw
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and a single Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger).
Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia).

Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus).

From the main hide we soon found some nice species including
Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) x2, Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) x6, Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and a Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) which was sat on an old tree stump for the whole time we were there. 
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We scanned through the large numbers of Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) out on the water and eventually found the adult Bonaparte's Gull (Gaviota de Bonaparte / Larus philadelphia), in the same gull flocks we found several Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
Other species seen from here included
Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).
From and on our way to the next hide we had
Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala). Bob and I then walked back to our cars and then headed off home after a very successful day which I hope everyone enjoyed as much as I did.


Kiersten said...

It was a fantastic day Mick, great to meet Bob and see such special orchids. Superb photos from the day. Thank you for sharing your time with us. Kiersten

LojaWldlife said...

It was great to spend the time with you all seeing some stunning plants and other wildlife, looking forward to the next trip.