Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Osuna 'triangle' - Andalucia 5/6/15

Today's trip with our guide Peter would take us around Osuna and the 'steppe' on what was a very hot dry and dusty day.  Fields and fields of Sunflowers joined us on our journey a magnificent heartwarming sight and a sight that we will remember always.
We passed acre upon acre of Olive groves and it was in the shade of the Olives that we had a couple of good views of Iberian Hares and Stone Curlews sheltering from the hot sun.
A Hoopoe would fly here and there and as we drove along the dusty tracks we had views of Griffon Vultures, Montagues Harrier, Black Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, lesser Kestrels, Calandra, Crested and Greater Short Toed Larks. A couple of Turtle Doves were seen mating on the road side - you don't see that every day!
After stopping for a superb lunch in a local town we went on to a lagoon area. The lagoon was host to Greater Flamingos, Cattle Egrets, Black Necked Grebes, White Headed Ducks and Glossy Ibis. Nice to hear the cooing of a Turtle Dove here and also a family of Swallows all the young lined up waiting to be fed. From the Lagoon we drove onto an area with a huge abandoned property with old outhouses - nature really had reclaimed this area! This area was now home to at least 5 pairs of Rollers and we had great views of this stunning bird but just so hard to get a photo of! Along the way we also had some good views of a few Collared Pratincoles in a field.
Another day of fantastic wildlife, scenery, flora and company.

    Stunning Sunflowers

                   Fields and fields of Sunflowers - Wow!

    Calandra Lark - so lucky that it perched on top of the flower

                   Iberian Hare in the shade of the Olive grove

   Stone Curlew - another fan of the shady Olive groves

                    Stone Curlew on the nest

   Greater Flamingo - still amazes me that we are seeing these beautiful birds in the wild

                   Swimming Flamingos- this pair swimming like graceful pink swans!

   White Headed Duck - a bit far off for a decent shot

                   Family of hungry young swallows

   A flighty Roller!!!!

                  A distant Roller that took flight to an Olive tree

   Serious looking Turtle Dove

                   Collared Pratincole

Sierra de las Nieves - Andalucia 1-6-15 Fritillaries, Orchids and lots of birds!

Our friend and Guide for the day Peter Jones from Spanish Nature picked us up from our villa on what was a beautiful hot and sunny day. We headed off towards Ronda and then into the Sierra de las Nieves a beautiful mountainous area. 
The meadows and grasses were full of various wild flowers including Scabious. The Scabious in turn a great attraction for many butterflies. In one small area we saw 3 types of Fritillary, Marsh, Spanish and Cardinal. Cleopatra, plenty of Painted Ladies and Clouded Yellows, Walł, Grayling, Skippers and to top it all a beautiful Black Veined White. Four 'lifers' in one area!
We found a couple of Orchids along the way including a fine Lizard Orchid. As we drove to the more mountainous areas the floral landscape was breathtaking - like one vast rockery of various plants.
Plenty of birds also seen in this area including Griffon Vultures, Short toed Eagle, Alpine and Pallid Swifts, Choughs, Crested and Wood Larks, Crag Martins, Spectacled, Melodious and Sub Alpine Warblers, Black Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Serin, Linnet, Corn, Rock and Cirl Bunting plus Stonechats. A truly awesome day from wildlife, flora, scenery and company.

Typical meadow and scrubland

                   One or two Orchids still to be found 

Orchid - yet to ID

                   Clouded Yellow

   Fritillary- Marsh?


    Cardinal Fritillary 


   Lizard Orchid - didn't realise how tall they are!

                                                                              Lizard Orchid

    Rock Rose?

                   Lizard - great colours

  Wow! What a tail!

                  Natures rockery

   Superb mountain views

                   Melodious Warbler



   Cirl Bunting

                    Spectacled Warbler

   Black Wheatear - distant shot!