Saturday 29 June 2024

Valle de Roncal, Refugio de Belagua and Bosque Mata de Haya again, Navarra, Spain.

Out Orchid Hunting in the Rain.

The main track through the woods.
Just after midnight when everyone eventually quietened down and I was about to drop off I heard a Tawny Owl (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco) start to call and then at just after 05:00 I was woke by a loud roll of thunder which indicated the start of a storm which flashed, rumbled and poured for the next 90 mins or so.
Birds-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis).
Birds-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis).
The storm gave the tent a good test and all stayed dry so I was happy, I got up just after 07:00 and headed out to the next valley over to the west and up to the Valle de Roncal where I was going to look for Orchids.
Pyrenean Germander (Teucrium pyrenaicum).

Thyme Broomrape (Orobanche alba).
Large-flowered Bugle (Prunella grandiflora).
Rock Basil-thyme (Clinopodium alpinum).
Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes).
On the way I pulled in just outside the town of Ansó to sort my cameras and bins out, as I was doing the a very smart look Red Fox (Zorro / Vulpus vulpus) came trotting along the road with what looked lick a small bird in it's mouth but as soon as it saw me it shot off up the hillside and away.
Common Wintergreens (Pyrola minor).
Small-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla).
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata).
I drove on adding 
Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor).
I arrived at the car park by the woods but it had started to rain again so I waited for it to stop but as I sat there I saw and heard a female Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Bonelli's Warbler
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata).
(Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli),
Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica).
It stopped in the car park so I went for a walk into the woods where it continued to rain for another 30 minutes or so until all the drips had come off the trees, as I walked I picked up Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) bird wise.
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Orchids during this first visit were few and I only found over with Birds-nest (Neottia nidus-avis) and White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium).
Spanish Heath (Coenonympha glycerion iphioides).
Spanish Heath (Coenonympha glycerion iphioides).
It started to rain again so I returned to the car and decided to go up a bit higher to see what I could find up on the road towards France, I got so far and the cloud and rain got bad so I turned around and dropped back down to the Refugio de Belagua where I spent a short time scanning the rocks and slopes finding Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and some flowers including Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora) but just the leaves, Silvery Paronychia (Paronychia argentea), Agrimony (Agrimonia Eupatoria), Rock Basil-thyme (Clinopodium alpinum), Large-flowered Bugle (Prunella grandiflora), Pyrenean Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium ssp. pyrenaica), Thyme Broomrape (Orobanche alba), Pyrenean Germander (Teucrium pyrenaicum) and Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes).
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Whilst there I had a chat with Steve Griffin in the UK and he gave me some extra information regarding the Orchids so I dropped back down the hill and parked up again, this time the little cafe was open so I went in and had a coffee plus late breakfast / early lunch, half of which I took with me for later.
Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio).
I chatted to the lady in there and then went out for another walk around the wood finding Common Wintergreens (Pyrola minor), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Heath Spotted (Dactylorhiza maculata) and Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), what I think is Small-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and best bird of the day but not great views, a Black Woodpecker (Picamaderos Negro / Dryocopus martius) which I heard call several times but when I got the the spot where it was it was off and I only go bum end views as usual.
Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia).
Burnt Orchid (Neotinea Ustulata).
The light in the woods was so bad that all the photo's were taken with flash and are not great unfortunately, it started to rain again so I headed back towards the car and started to make my way back to the camp site in Ansó but on the way down I made a stop by the Rio Belagua where I walked a couple of tracks finding Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Spanish Heath (Coenonympha glycerion iphioides) x1, Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) x2, Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus), Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica), Wild Clematis (Clematis flammula) and a Moth species which I still need to name.
Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica).
I continued on down the valley towards the turning I had expected to take but before I got there I saw a sign saying Ansó 26km so I took a different route back as I drove I stopped a few times finding more at least 4 Red-backed Shrikes (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Heath Spotted Orchids, Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia), Bladder Senna (Colutea arborescens), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) and Digitalis lutea.
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
I stopped at Collado de Arguibiela and found Burnt Orchid (Neotinea Ustulata), Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) x1 and Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides) x1.
Turquoise Blue (Polyommatus dorylas) male.
Turquoise Blue (Polyommatus dorylas) male.
I reached Refugio de Zuriza and went some of the way up the valley towards Parking De La Pista De Tacheras, on the way I checked out a nice looking hillside where I found loads more Burnt and Fragrant Orchids amongst the masses of Yellow Rattle
Burnt Orchid (Neotinea Ustulata).
Burnt Orchid (Neotinea Ustulata).
Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea).
Just down the I stopped again when I saw a blue butterfly on the roadside back which turned out to be a nice male Turquoise Blue (Polyommatus dorylas) x1, in the same area I had a couple of Dark-green Fritillaries (Speyeria aglaja) x2 and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) x2.
My accommodation for the last couple of nights and for the foreseeable future.
I dropped down the valley of the Rio Veral, before I reached Ansó I saw House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).

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