Saturday 4 May 2024

Grazalema Area, La Rana, Cadiz Province, Spain.

A morning with Sue and Sam searching for Orchids.
Lax-flowered Orchid (Orchis laxiflora).
I left home early and headed out west towards Grazalema for a day with Sue and Sam Eatock, on the way I picked up Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Lax-flowered Orchid (Orchis laxiflora).
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera).
Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora).
As I was getting close to Grazalema and ahead of schedule
I made a stop at a roadside spot I had been to a few years earlier hoping to find Lax-flowered Orchid (Orchis laxiflora) and was pleased to see 15 or so spikes, some were already starting to go over but a few were still in good condition.
Heart-flowered Tounge Orchid (Serapias cordigera).
Heart-flowered Tounge Orchid (Serapias cordigera).
At the same spot I also found Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera), Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum),  Bartsia trixago, Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
Heart-flowered Tounge Orchid (Serapias cordigera).
Heart-flowered Tounge Orchid (Serapias cordigera).
I moved on and was pleased to find a parking spot right outside Sue's, we had an hours chat, catch up and a couple of Coffee's before heading out to our first site where we parked on the roadside and walked into some nearby fields to look for some more Orchids but before we got to the main spot we saw Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta), Hybrid Goatsbeard (Barba Macho / Geropogon hybridus), Phlomis crinita subsp malacitana, Yellow (Phlomis lychnitis) and Purple Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Long-headed Poppy (Amapola oblonga / Papaver dubium) and heard a singing Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis).
Tounge Orchid (Serapias lingua).
Tounge Orchid (Serapias lingua).
On the field we were heading for we found a good number of flowering Heart-flowered Tounge Orchid (Serapias cordigera) and most were still good but some were showing signs of damage from recent rain and some cool nights.
Sue and Sam checking out the Lotus.
Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata).
Phlomis crinita subsp malacitana.???

French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas).
Hairy Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus subbiflorus) ?????
In the same area we also saw European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Western Orphean, Western Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Small (Pieris rapae) and Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Small Tongue (Serapias parviflora) and Tounge Orchid (Serapias lingua), Ophrys ficalhoana, Curly Rockrose (Cistus crispus), Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata), French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and what could be Hairy Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus subbiflorus) ?????
Ophrys algarviensis.
Ophrys algarviensis hypochromatic.
Ophrys algarviensis.
Our next stop was on the fields of La Rana where we had a good walk around with Sue showing me some brilliant spikes of very interesting Orchids which included all three colour forms of Small Woodcock Orchid, Yellow Bee, Ophrys algarviensis including a stunning hypochromatic plant, the hybrid Anacamptis × subpapilionacea (champagneuxii x papilionacea) and Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii) including fully hypochromatic spikes and a very smart spike with both white and pink flowers.
Hybrid Anacamptis × subpapilionacea (champagneuxii x papilionacea).
Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii).
Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii).
Mixed Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii).
We moved to another spot nearby where Sue soon found several spikes of the interesting Ophrys apifera var. bicolor and a single over with spike of Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).
Silene species ?????
Hairy Lupin (Lupinus micranthus).
Hairy Lupin (Lupinus micranthus).
Yellow Lupin (Lupinus luteus).
In the last two spots we also saw
Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), Yellow (Lupinus luteus) and Narrow-leaved Lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) and many more that I just can't remember.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) white.

Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) pink.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) greenish.

Ophrys ficalhoana.
We returned to the car via another small colony of the Ophrys apifera var. bicolor and went back up to Sue's where we had some lunch another chat and then later I headed off to go to my hotel in El Colmenar for the night down nearer to the coast ready for tomorrows meeting with more friends and some more Orchids.
Ophrys apifera var. bicolor.

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