Blog: El Paraje de las Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada walks · nature · culture · events · publications · weather
blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

27 April 2011

Encuentro con Gerald Brenan, Saturday the 30th of April in Yegen

This coming Saturday the 30th of April an ´Encuentro con Gerald Brenan´ is organized in Yegen. Tribute will be paid to Juliana, the mother of the author´s daughter.

25 April 2011

San Marcos and San Isidro program Berchules 2011

In Bérchules and Alcútar the patron saint of the animals is honoured every year. After a Holy Mass the figure of San Marcos is carried out of the church together with the figure of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the farmers. Children in colourful clothes, youngsters in covered wagons, riders and villagers with their animals join the procession that slowly moves to Alcútar. Back in Bérchules ´roscos´ and animals are blessed and the breadrings are then handed out. (see post of 2010 with slideshow)
The San Marcos festivities are celebrated Saturday the 30th of April and Sunday the 1st of May.
This is the program of San Marcos 2011:

24 April 2011

A few excellent bird photographs taken by an ornithologist

The Russian ornithologist Sergei V. Drovetski who stayed at El Paraje recently shared the wildlife photographs he took in the area. It is a great pleasure for us to be able to offer a slideshow of a selection of his bird shots and we feel really grateful for this opportunity. We hope other people will enjoy the photos as much as we do.

Falco Tinnunculus - Common Kestrel - Cernícalo vulgar - Torenvalk
Alectoris rufa - Red-legged Patridge - Perdiz roja - Rode patrijs
Galerida cristata - Crested Lark - Cogujada común - Kuifleeuwerik
Saxicola Torquata - Common Stonechat - Tarabilla común - Roodborsttapuit
Oenanthe oenanthe - Northern Wheatear - Collalba gris - Tapuit
Oenanthe hispanica - Black-eared Wheatear - Collalba rubia - Blonde tapuit
Certhia brachydact​yla - Short-toed Treecreepe​r - Agateador - Boomkruipe​r
Lanius senator - Woodchat shrike - Alcaudón común - Roodkopklauwier
Serinus serinus - European Serin - Verdecillo - Europese kanarie
Emberiza cia - Rock Bunting - Escribano montesino - Grijze gors
Miliaria calandra - Corn Bunting - Triguero - Grauwe gors

22 April 2011

Ophrys tenthredinifera or Sawfly Orchid

Right along the GR7 footpath between Cádiar and Lobras (close to waypoint 15, see map) we saw this beautiful Sawly Orchid. It is name can be explained by the fact that it is a sawfly that pollinates this orchid. The mimicry is even carried as far as the orchid producing the same scent as the receptive female insect, see text on this Sawfly Orchid on the website Andalucía Life Magazine.

In Spanish this Ophrys tenthredinifera  is known as ´flor de avispa´ or ´abejera´.

This orchid grows in the same area as the Ophrys lutea (between waypoints 14 and 15). Last week we saw a particulaly large number of this Yellow Ophrys close to the riverbed, la Rambla de Albayar.

Related key words: abejita, abejorros, flor de abeja, flor de la abeja, lila de monte, orquídea, orquídea avispa, testículos de perro, bee orchid, spiegelorchis, wespen-ragwurz, ophrys guêpe, ophrys tenthrède, ophrys à grandes fleures, familia orquidáceas

20 April 2011

Timon lepidus or Ocellated lizard

One of the special moments of the spring Bird Census last Saturday was watching a pair of Ocellated lizards through Gary´s telescope. Antonio Ramos, guide of the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, took a good photograph of these ´lagartos ocelados´ basking in the sun. We read on Wikipedia that this Ocellated lizard  is part of the cuisine of Extremadura. "In this region there is a speciality known as lagarto con tomate. This dish is made by frying slices of lizard in olive oil, after which they are stewed with tomatoes and onions on a slow fire in an earthenware pot." This is something that never would have crossed our minds while watching this wall lizard along the GR7 path between Cádiar and Lobras.

Related key words: parelhagedis, perleidechse, lézard ocellé

17 April 2011

Report of the IV Censo de Aves or Alpujarra bird count

Yesterday the 16th of April the IV Censo de Aves took place. The census was led by Antonio Ramos, guide of the Sierra Nevada Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, and the local wildlife specialist Gary Morrell. Five people, of three different nacionalities, participated. A total of 45 species were counted of which 7 birds were not seen or heard on earlier bird counts: Sparrohawk (Gavilán), Cuckoo (Cuco), Little Owl (Mochuelo común), Pallid Swift (Vencejo común), Nortern Wheatear (Collalba gris) and the Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón común). The Collalba gris (Oenanthe oenanthe, Tapuit in Dutch) and the Collalba rubia, the Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica, Blonde tapuit in Dutch) were regarded as the´Birds of the Day´. We saw a male and a female of the Collalba rubia in an abandoned vineyard and we could follow them closely as they were posing on the trunks. The guides agreed that there could very well be a nest somewhere between the vines. We ticked off the bird species that were observed on this census on the ´Listado de aves avistadas en los censos de Alquería de Morayma´ (see related links below).
Apart from counting species, the participants appreciated all aspects of wildlife on a glorious morning in an area of great natural beauty. Four different types of orchids were counted, amongst which the Ophrys lutea or Yellow Ophrys and the Ophrys tenthredinifera. Footprints were found of a Genet and a couple of Ocellated Lizards were observed through Gary´s telescope. Like last time we followed the GR142 to Lobras and returned to the Alquería de Morayma on the GR7. This walk is a route that we offer our guests as well (see map below), but it must be observed that parts of the path along the Rambla Albayar have disappeared. Some people will find it difficult to find their way through this riverbed. You should not mind improvising a little bit following the watercourse northwards until you get to the crossing of the two Long Distance Footpaths. Almost all waymarks of the GR142 have diseappeared on this stretch.

Related articles:
- Report I bird census, II bird census, III bird census

Related links:
- List of birds censuses around Alquería de Morayma (word doc)
- GPS track of the walk
- Slideshow of photos IV Censo de Aves
- Crónica de Carmen: IV Censo de aves de la Alpujarra desde la Alquería de Morayma

Related key words: vogeltelling, orchid, orchidee

15 April 2011

Colias alfacariensis or Berger's Clouded Yellow

A couple of days ago we took this photograph of this Colias alfacariensis or Berger´s Clouded Yellow (we think) close to the wall of our large terrace. They say that the Berger´s Clouded Yellow is very difficult to distinguish from the Pale Clouded yellow (Colias hyale). The only thing we go by is comparing pictures and reading about the differences. The Berger’s Clouded Yellow was identified as a distinct species from the Pale Clouded Yellow in 1945 and is named after the Belgian entomologist, L.A. Berger, who made this discovery. This species is considered one of the rarest migrants to the British Isles. In the Netherlands is has been sighted only nine times in the past century, according on the information on this Zuidelijke Luzernevlinder on On the Guía de Mariposas of the online Waste magazine only the Colias alfacariensis (´Colias de Berger´ in Spanish) is mentioned, would be interesting to know whether this is because this one is the only one sighted in Andalucía.

Related key words: pieridae, piéridos, witjes, weißlinge, gelblinge, coliadinae, dwaalgast, wanderfalter, zuidelijke luzernevlinder, hufeisenklee-gelbling, südliche heufalter, hufeisenkleeheufalter, federfühler-herbstspanner, fluoré, jumeaux, soufré austral, vlinder, schmetterling, B&B, bérchules, alpujarra, sierra nevada, andalusië, andalusia

Vanessa atalanta or Red Admiral

This week we discovered a small corner on our finca that seems to be particularly popular with butterflies. Our white arrow route passes this sheltered spot before you start walking northwards. We visited this ´butterfly corner´ a number of times and saw different types of Whites (Pieridae), an abundant number of Old World Swallowtails, Scarce Swallowtails and the Vanessa atalanta. At first we did not see this Red Admiral (´Vulcana´ or ´Numerada´ in Spanish) butterfly of the Nymphalidae family rest for a single moment. Yesterday it was later in the afternoon and finally one of them decided to have a little break for a moment. Like the Vanessa cardui or Painted Lady it is a migratory butterfly that will fly north later on in spring, maybe to our native country where this ´Atalanta´ is one of the most widespread species.

Related links: 
- Guia de Mariposas on the online magazine Waste Ideal

Related key words: vanesa, almirante rojo, admiraal, admiraalvlinder, ninfálidos, nymphalidés, familie der edelfalter, vulcain, papilio atalanta, pyrameis ammiralis, vulcano, mariposa migratoria, trekvlinder, vlinders, B&B, alpujarras, sierra nevada

14 April 2011

XVI Feria ´Hecho en la Alpujarra´ 2011 in Orgiva

From the 21st to the 24th of April, the trade fair ´Made in the Alpujarra´ is organized for the sixteenth time in Órgiva. This Feria del Turismo, Artesanía y Alimentación ´Hecho en la Alpujarra´ 2011, is a an exhibitition of tourism, crafts and local products that can be visited on four consecutive days from 11.00 to 22.00 hours.

Related links:
- Facebook event
- Article in the IDEAL newspaper 2-April-2010 on the feria 2010
- Official blog with all participants of the feria Hecho en la Alpujarra 2009
- Web of the town hall Orgiva (ayuntamiento)
- Orgiva on Turgranada tourist board
- Videos on Youtube of the feria 2009

Related key words: eventos, evenementen, evénements, veranstaltungen, comer y beber, eten en drinken, manger et boir, essen und trinken

Bérchules - Trevélez - Bérchules

The part of the Alpujarras between Bérchules and Trevélez is quite interesting for walkers. The GR7 route connects Juviles and Trevélez and there are a few possibilities to pick up this route from Bérchules and of course from El Paraje. Thanks to the ALSA bus service, it can be done as a linear walk (another option is to organize a taxi transfer).
For keen and fit walkers we offer a special connection with Trevélez (our ´high´ route) that does not bend around the mountains but that goes right over them, passing the Peña de los Papos at 2,535 metres.
If you prefer circular walks, or if you like trail running, you may consider combining the two. This leads to a 32 kilometres walk or run that really is spectacular.
This route connects El Paraje (01) with the pista forestal (06-09) that also can be reached using the access dirt track to the sendero Sulayr Gr240 from the Cruz the Juviles.
(At 04 you can choose a less steep option going west on the dirt track and connecting lower down with the pista forestal. This may be a good option for runners, see map)
From point 09 to 13 a single track leads through the pìne woods, almost up to the ridge. You follow the ridge until 15, take a small track right until 16 after which you cross the barranco. Descend to the pine woods (19) and along those pine woods to a  water reservoir (19) of a small farm house. Descend over a meadow another 400 metres to the border of another pine forest (20 chalk crosses on big stones!). A clear track zigzags down and connects with the GR7 (21).
From 21 to 27 the GR7 is well waymarked. At point 24 the Sulayr goes left steeply up, while we continue straight on.  Where the single track of the GR7 reaches a dirt track (27) you can go on to Juviles or go left, leaving the GR7 and follow a beatiful shortcut to El Paraje.
This is the GPS track of the route. For guests we have a more detailed description in English, Dutch and Spanish at El Paraje, together with a print of this map.

Related key words: wandelen over de GR7, trekking through the sierra nevada, wandelroute, B&B, hotel in de alpujarras

13 April 2011

Orchis papilionacea or Butterfly Orchid

On the same spots were we saw the Sword-leaved Helleborine last spring, they reappeared again this year, only a few weeks earlier. We saw a Southern Early Purple a lot closer to the house and a month earlier in bloom than last year. Our biggest surprise yesterday was to see a new type of wild orchid on our finca, a magnificent butterfly orchid. There are apparantly many subspecies, but ours is exactly as the Orchis papilionacea or the Orquídea mariposa on the online magazine Waste.

Related key words: flowers, bloemen, anacamptis papilionacea, vlinderorchis, schmetterlings-knabenkraut
orchis papillon, familia orquidáceas, orchid family, familia de las orchidaceae, orchideeënfamilie, familie der orchideen, casa rural el paraje, bérchules, las alpujarras.

12 April 2011

Anthocharis euphenoides subsp andalusica or Morocco Orange Tip

Sunday afternoon while walking down our own dirt track enjoying the last moments of sun, we were lucky to photograph a female ´orange tip´ that we had not seen on our finca before. To find the names of new butterflies we always first consult the online magazine of Waste Ideal. Looking at photographs on this website an flora and fauna in Andalusia, we now think that the one we saw is an Anthocharis euphenoides subsp andalusica, a butterfly in the Pieridae family. Another name is mentioned between brackets: Anthocharis belia euphenoides Staudinger, 1869. The Spanish names given on this website are ´Aurora meridional´ or ´Bandera española´ and the English name ´Moroccan Orange Tip´. It apparantly closely resembles to the Provence Orange Tip (Anthocharis euphenoides). In an article on the Provence (Moroccan) Orange Tip by Matt Rowlings from his website dedicated to European Butterflies, we can read that the Provence Orange Tip has only recently been split from the Moroccan Orange Tip. Of this beautiful species he mentions that it flies from April in one generation and that it mostly is over by the end of May. The Morocco Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia) and the Provence Orange Tip are both said to fly in Spain. We hope to be able to take more pictures soon so that we can learn to distinguish them better.
PS We often see the male Morocco Orange Tip - much smaller and yellow with orange tips - flying around today (the 8th of May) we saw it res for a moment for the first time (see last photograph).

Related links: 
- Guia de Mariposas on the online magazine Waste Ideal

Related key words: familia peridos, familie pieridae, witjes, geel oranjetipje, vlinders, alpujarras, sierra nevada,  bérchules, trektocht, trekking, wandelvakanties, holiday, urlaub, vacances

11 April 2011

Bird Count, IV Censo de Aves de la Alpujarra 16 de abril de 2011

This coming Saturday the 16th of April at 08.00 hours the second spring bird count will take place starting at the rural hotel Alquería de Morayma in Cádiar. Last year the spring bird census was done on the 18th of April, during which 37 different bird species were counted. It will be the fourth censo, as two other autumn countings were organized. From the map of this announcement the first loop will be done which is a walk of 8,5 kilometres through the beautiful valley of the Río Guadalfeo. Anybody interested is welcome to participate. The ´IV Censo de Aves´ will be led by Antonio Ramos, guide of the National Park Sierra Nevada and by the enthusiastic expert and local wildlife guide, Gary Morrell. For more information you can call us at El Paraje, the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada or Alquería de Morayma.

Related article:
- Report of the II Censo de aves de la Alpujarra 18th of April 2010

Related key words: censo de pájaros, bird census, vogeltelling