Tuesday 11 April 2023

Embalse de Bermejales and the Cacín Valley, Granada Provinve, Spain.

Looking for some more Orchids with some birding in between.
Ebird List for the Contra-Embalse.
Ebird List for the Terrace.
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
I got up and as my back was feeling a tad better I decided to pop down to the Pine Woodlands near to the Embalse de Bermejales which are usually a great spot for Orchids but not this year, after a very dry Autumn, Winter and Spring I was expecting things to be poor but not this bad.
I walked from the car through the Pine woodlands but there were no Ophrys species in flower at all and the only Italian Man Orchids (Orchis Italica) I found were lying on the floor looking in very poor condition, however in a spot near the gorge which was a little less shaded I did find a patch of around 50 spikes of the Italica's that were still OK but nothing else.
Even some of the good Italian Man Orchids were starting to flop over.
After about 2 hours of wandering around finding next to nothing I returned to the car and headed up the valley to the Contra-Embalse de Bermejales, on the way I saw Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
I reached the Embalse and set the scope up and started to scan the lake and the margins, most surprising was a flock of 18 Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) roosting in a tree on the far shore, on the water there were well over a 100 Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra),a small number of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), 7x Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), 3x Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), a few Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and around the margins and on the muddy bar I added 8x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 11x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), 4x Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and at least 8 Water Rails (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) with 5 on view at the same time on the muddy margins.
Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).

Other species seen included Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
As I walked out to view the lake from the shore line I also saw and heard Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small White (Pieris rapae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba), Mallow-leaved Convolvulus (Convolvulus althaeoides), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa) and Wild Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) x6, Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).

I moved on and made my way to another spot for Orchids, I had visited this spot less than two weeks earlier and found that some of the species there were flowering but in much reduced numbers, most leaf rosettes remained blind. 
I checked the same plants and found that most were now going past their best so I did not both to take any photographs as I had better from my last visit.
Up on the Terrace.
My next stop was the terrace where I sat and caught up with a few bits on the laptop whilst doing some birding, best species was a pair of the locally uncommon
Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) which visited the nest box in the fig tree several time but were chased off by the resident Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major) who nest in one of the metal fence posts and a displaying pair of Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).

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