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Wednesday 3 July 2024

Roncal Valley, Navarre, Spain.

A long awaited big Orchid day.

Geranium cinereum.
I set off and headed for the Roncal Valley and right up to the French border as the sky was clear of cloud, I reached the border and turned around and dropped back down slightly to the first parking spot I could find and looked at some road side rocks finding Draba aizoides, Geranium cinereum, Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) leaves, Alpine Bartsia (Bartsia alpina), Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum), Alpine Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla alpina), Anemonastrum narcissiflorum, Pedicularis foliosa, Fairy Foxglove (Erinus alpinus) and as I was there I picked up Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Valeriana pyrenaica.
Alpine Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla alpina).
Fairy Foxglove (Erinus alpinus).
Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) leaves.
I dropped down further and spent 20 minutes waiting for a large group of cows to clear the road, as hard as the herds men worked they decided that they wanted to stand in the road under the only bridge on the road and they were not going to move until they were ready.
Draba aizoides.
Pedicularis foliosa.
Anemonastrum narcissiflorum.
Alpine Bartsia (Bartsia alpina).
Whilst I watched the goings on I also picked up a
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) before eventually getting through and heading down to my next stop lower down the valley, I parked and met a lady who worked nearby and she very kindly took me into the woodland nearby and showed me a single spike of the holy grail of Orchids, the Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum) which saved me walking around the site searching and possibly causing damage to other plants as they are amazingly difficult to see.
Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum).
Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum).
Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum).
I thanked the lady and set about taking a lot of photographs of this amazing plant which from posts I have seen unfortunately doesn't get the protection it deserves, luckily this site has someone that tries to help and looks after it.
Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum).
Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum).
Other species seen included Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Heath Spotted (Dactylorhiza maculata) and Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
Dark-green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja).
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus).
Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis).
Idas Blue (Plebejus idas).
Very happy I decided to have a short day and head back to the campsite and chill but called at one more site lower down the valley, I parked and checked the area around the lay-by and some fields nearby finding Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Common Heath Moth (Ematurga atomaria), Southern Heath (Melitaea nevadensis), Dark-green (Speyeria aglaja) and Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis), Idas Blue (Plebejus idas) and Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) before I headed off.
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Amanda's Blue (Polyommatus amandus).
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
After getting something to eat later and a drink or two I turned in and could again hear at least two calling
Tawny Owls (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco).
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).

Horsefly Species.
Common Heath Moth (Ematurga atomaria).

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