Tuesday 18 April 2023

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

The Creaky four are out and about again.
Ebird List, 52 species.

Back along the far crags.
I met friends Barbara, Derek and Andy down at Rio frio and after some breakfast we went for a days birding up on my favourate patch, Sierra de Loja where we were hoping for several upland species. 
Looking out to the West.
We started off by checking the lower quarry where we began the day list with Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major).
Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
As we drove up to the middle Quarry we passed through the Pines adding
Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and on the track to the middle quarry we saw Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), Viola dementria, Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Common Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We returned to the car and drove up the crags and out onto the tops, on the way we saw Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and both Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
As we carried on further, passing Charca del Negro and moving on along the far crags, we had views of an unexpected Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Spectacled (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), at least 10 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and then two male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) showed well but distantly on the cliff tops.
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
We dropped down as far as the junction to the pools where we saw a single Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and then turned around and started to make our way back down, we called in at a small dell where I found a couple of Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) x2, Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) x1 and a single Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) and a little further down our only Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) of the day and a small number of Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica).
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
As we dropped we  took the track back up to the Middle Quarry, it was a bit warmer now and we found singing Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) and Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus).
Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris).
We dropped back down to the service area and to my car and then we headed off home.

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