Sunday 2 April 2023

Grazalema Area, Cadiz Province, Spain.

A visit to see friends in Grazalema.

Cinereous / European Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).
I left home and headed West towards Antequera, then Campillos before getting to Grazalema just before Lunch.
Cinereous / European Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).
On the way I picked up Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
The distant Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
I got to Grazalema and was pleased to find a parking space in the street almost right out side Sue and Sam's, after saying hello and bringing my stuff in we headed up to the terrace where we spent a very nice few hours chatting and catching up as it had been a while since I had last seen them both.
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) Male.
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) Male.
Whilst we were up there we had a nice bit of lunch and did some birding, the most obvious species were the many Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) which were whizzing around the towns and diving in under the roof tiles.
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica).
As we sat there we also saw a good number of Griffon Vultures, the single resident Cinereous / European Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus), a passage Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which Sue picked up way out over the crags, Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta).
Small Woodcock Orchids (Ophrys picta).
Later in the afternoon we went out to a couple of local spots, the first was a car park on the way up to Puerto de Las Palomas, here we could hear a calling Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and around the Rosemary bushes a good number of Black-eyed Blues (Glaucopsyche melanops) x18+ and singles of Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora).
Orchis x bivonae.
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica) left, Orchis x bivonae in the middle, Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora) right.
Later we went to a spot near the village of Benamahoma where we checked a wooded slope mainly looking for Orchids, it was an amazing spot and we started the list with Small Woodcock (Ophrys picta), Italian Man (Orchis Italica), Man (Orchis anthropophora) and the hybrid between the two Orchis x bivonae.
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum).
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
As we wandered around we also added
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia), Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea), Mirror (Ophrys speculum), some dry Giant Orchids (Himanthoglosum Robertiana) as well as Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus), Provence (Anthocharis euphenodes) and Common Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus).
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia).
Sam photographing the Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia).

We started to head back towards Grazaema making a few stops on the way, just out of the village we checked the roadside for the uncommon white form of
Aphyllanthes monspliensis, at first we couldn't find any but then Sue found a small plant with just three flowers open on it.
Aphyllanthes monspliensis white flowered form.
Aphyllanthes monspliensis white flowered form.
In the same area we saw a single Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) before moving on to a site just down the road where we were hoping for another Orchid, this time the Yellow Bee Orchid form minor which Sue had seen in the area before, eventually after a bit of a search we located just a single spike but it was in nice condition.
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) form Minor.
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) form Minor.
In the same area we had anothe Wood White along with a couple of spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
Our last stop of the day was nearer to Grazalema where we checked a large rock and found several spikes of the beautiful Narcissus cuatrecasasii, most were over with but in the areas of shadow there were still some good condition plants.
Narcissus cuatrecasasii.
Narcissus cuatrecasasii.
Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra).
We also saw the early stages of the Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) in a colvert which held some water as well as Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
We headed back to the house and had our second very nice meal of the day up on the terrace including a pud which Sam sorted.

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