Sierra De Las Nieves Outing
The Sierra de las Nieves outing was held on Saturday 21st May. A good group of people attended and the weather was magnificent.
We made our coffee stop at a roadside venta along the road near the entrance to the park and enjoyed a good Spanish tostada con ciete y tomate and café con leche, before setting out to drive to our final meeting place at the 'Area Recreativa Quejigales', where we were meeting up with the Tiedtke family.
Even before entering the park we saw and heard a Corn Bunting and saw some Ravens above us. Our first stop was to look at some delightful cerise pink orchids covering the side of the track (yet to be id). Also seen in this area was Yellow Bee Orchid and a beautiful Sawfly Orchid and a white orchid too. Another stop along the track was to admire the lovely wild Peonies which were in bloom along the road side.
We all organised ourselves in the car park at the Area Recreativa Quejigales for the hike up through the beautiful wooded valley, first enjoying the abundant Blue Iris and Giant Squill along the stream we were crossing over. During the climb through the woodland we heard Bonelli’s Warblers singing, as well as Wren, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin and Blackbird, some glimpsed and some just heard.
As we climbed higher we came across Spanish Bluebells, a species of candytuft and another two orchid species. We were now high into the Spanish Firs or Pinsapos (Abies pinsapo): many were dead and dying, possibly in response to our warming climate but there were many young trees growing in the area too. A stop in the area of a dead Pinsapo, it’s trunk riddled with woodpecker holes, produced a nesting Common Redstart, Nuthatch and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. We also heard the distinct call of Crossbills and located a singing male at the top of a tall Pinsapo that gave us great views before eventually flying off with his mate.
After a picnic, we made our way back. On the descent towards the valley we saw many butterflies including Adonis Blue, Spanish Festoon, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Orange Tip and Black-veined White. One of the group got a distant Black Eared- Wheatear and we saw Rock Buntings flitting across the rocky terrain, one last Brown Bee Orchid was seen alone the roadside, and a beautiful stand of Peonies was also enjoyed.
Back at the car park we said our goodbyes and were lucky enough to see a Southern Grey Shrike and get some good photos as we left the park entrance.
Many thanks to all participants, especially Kian Khalilian for his plant identifications, Moni and her lovely mum Bruni who joined and guided us, and Luke Stewart and Rob Quested for the bird lists. We were just sorry not to be joined by botanists Leslie Linares and Michael Tiedtke, who were both missed.
List of bird species seen.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker|
|Chiffchaff inc. Iberian|
|Southern Grey Shrike|