Tuesday 30 April 2024

Sierra de Loja and Zafarraya Road Valley, Granada Province, Spain.

The last day with Sonia and Ricky up Sierra de Loja and surroundings.
Ebird List for the Sierra.
Ebird List for Zafarraya Road site.

Some low cloud passing the tops.
We started the day by driving through to Riofrio where we had some breakfast and then made our way up Sierra de Loja, on the way up we started the list off with Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Thapsia villosa, Viola dementria and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Western Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Western Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Once we were up on the tops we had Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Western Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Wild Peony (Paeonia broteri), Purple Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) and Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
Out along the crags and amongst the Hawthorns we found Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), a couple of male Blue-rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Looking out West.
and into the valley below us.
We continued on passed the normal turnaround point seeing at least 20 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing west, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Linaria almijarensis and Iris Subbiflora.  
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We retraced our way back along the crags and took the track around the back of the crags and up to the parking spot for the Mirador Sierra Gorda but the wind had got quite strong so we didn't see much new but on the way back down we did see Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and a very showy Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which was on Ricky's side of the car so he got some brilliant shot.
Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) female.
Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) female.
Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) female.
Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina) male.
Before we left the site we checked out the middle quarry getting good views of a displaying pair of Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), a flyover Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Adonis (Lysandra bellargus) and Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), Dianthus pungens subsp. brachyanthus, Blue Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Wall Pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris), Mallow-leaved Convolvulus (Convolvulus althaeoides), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), Sedum mucizonia, Venus's Navelwort (Iberodes linifolia), Cerastium gibraltaricum and Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Linaria almijarensis.
Venus's Navelwort (Iberodes linifolia).
Sedum mucizonia.
We left the Hill and drove down the Western side of the Sierra to a spot where we looked for Orchids, on the way we saw had
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and as soon as we were on site we started to hear more Bonelli's Warblers, another singing Western Orphean Warbler, Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
We walked through the Oak woodlands finding good numbers of Orchids including several spikes
Ophrys ficalhoana, Southern Early Purple (Orchis olbienis), Lange's (Androrchis langei), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanathera longifolia), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) and Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) var. fraternalis.
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula).
We returned to the car and headed up the valley back to my car, here I said goodbye to Sonia and Ricky after a few good days out and about and I headed off home. 
Ophrys ficalhoana.
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) var. fraternalis.
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) var. fraternalis.
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) var. fraternalis.

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