Sunday 8 May 2022

Sierra de Loja and West of the Sierra, Granada Province, Spain.

Up on the Sierra with Mike and Bella.

Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) male.
I met Mike and Bella at the Abades Service area and we went up the Sierra, on our way over to the far side where we were hoping to get views of the elusive Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) we had good views of Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) male.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica)  female.
We also check a nice group of flowering Iris Subbiflora, as well as Wild Peony (Paeonia broteri), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Viola dementria, Spring Cress (Arabis verna), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Common stork's bill (Erodium ciconium) and Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris).
Wild Peony (Paeonia broteri).
Iris Subbiflora.
Iris Subbiflora.
We reached the area where I have been lucky with the Thrush bit we struggled to find it so I guessed that the female must by sitting and the male was sitting low, we had a walk along the road adding
Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius),  Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and then Mike came up withfind of the day when he spotted a 2nd C/Y Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) down below up, It soon agained hieght and was well above us heading North but was only my second Egyptian for the Province and a new species for the site.
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
We made our way back towards the car and just as we reached it I turned around for one last check and found the male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush was sat on top of a hunting sign and showed well.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
As we dropped down we made a stop at Charca del Negro finding several Sharp-ribbed Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl) including a couple of very young ones with Gills.
Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl).
Other species seen as we drove down the hill were Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), 2x Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), 
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Our last stop on the hill was along the track to the middle quarry and here we found House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) along with Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) x4, Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), Black Horehound (Ballota nigra), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), White Asphodel (Asphodelus macrocarpus), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Linaria tristris, Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) and Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys).  
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
We dropped back down to the Services and then took the road along the Western side of the hill, we stopped at an area of fields where we had some great views of several Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) along with Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
Our last stop of the day was further down the valley amongst the Oak trees where we spent a while looking for Orchids, we found lots of Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) as well as lesser numbers of Late Sawfly (Ophrys ficalhoana), Lange's (Androrchis langei) and a few Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia).
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia).
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia).
Late Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys ficalhoana).
In the same area we had Western Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), Starry Clover (Trifolium stellatum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), Ronda Cranesbill (Geranium malviflorum), Serrate Spurge (Euphorbia serrata), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia) and Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris).

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