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Sunday 26 May 2024

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

A cracking day up my favourate mountain with Sonia and Ricky.
Ebird List for the Hill.

After getting breakfast at Venta Riofrío we headed up the Sierra, I always say I am going drive straight over to the far side and never manage to do it but Ricky did so we were soon at the area I call the far crags and shortly after arriving we were perched up in a spot where we waited for the stunning Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) to do its stuff. 
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
We didn't have to wait too long and the fine looking male bird soon flew in and landed several times on different points along the crags, at some points it came quite close and sang and did several song flights, I managed some OK shots but Ricky got some amazing photo's.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
We sat quietly and still for quite a while but in the end my back side was so painful I went for a walk and left Ricky to it, I had a drink at the car and started to walk to another spot nearby when Sonia said the bird has moved and it flew right passed us and on to a tree nearby where I managed a few more photo's.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Other species seen in the area included Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Western Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
I continued on around to the next spot I wanted to check where in the past I had seen Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon) but unfortunately the area was so degraded by over grazing I suspect the species is now lost.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
I did find
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis pandora), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica), Erodium cheilanthifolium, Bitting Stonecrop (Sedum acre), Thapsia villosa, Viola dementria, Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Cerastium boissieri, Blue Dreams (Chaenorrhinum Glareosum),  Carduus granatensis and Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis).
Erodium cheilanthifolium.
Erodium cheilanthifolium.
Whilst I was looking for the butterflies Ricky and Sonia went a little further on along the track and picked up Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Antirrhinum australe.
On the way down the hill we added a passing Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), a couple of male Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator) on the two pools at Charca del Negro, further on we saw Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) and down at the middle quarry Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Looking back along the crags.
We also saw Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Venus's Navelwort (Iberodes linifolia), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Sedum mucizonia, Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum) and Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Once we were down at the bottom of the hill and back at my car we went for a drink in the services and the we headed off home after a really nice weekend.

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