April / May 2016

Northeastern Spain

Part 4 : Alquezar

The medieval town of Alquezar

Perched on top of a cliff overlooking a spectacular gorge, the picturesque medieval town of Alquezar and its surrounding area was probably my favourite location on this trip despite it being a popular tourist destination and the weather continuing to be mostly dull and wet.

Rio Vera Gorge

Pyrenean-violet (Ramonda myconi)

The walls of the gorge were covered with masses of Pyrenean-violets, a relictual endemic member of the African Violet family found only in shady rock crevices in the Pyrenees and north-eastern Spain.

Pyrenean-violet (Ramonda myconi)

Pyrenean-violet (Ramonda myconi)

In the surrounding maquis, the wildflower diversity was pretty good and included many colourful and conspicuous species such as Gladiolus communis, Beautiful Flax and Bearded Iris.

Eastern Gladiolus (Gladiolus communis)

Bearded Iris (Iris x germanica)

Beautiful Flax (Linum narbonense)

Beautiful Flax (Linum narbonense)

Brown Bluebells were common but easily overlooked due to the soft, pastel brown colour of the flowers merging in with the surrounding dead vegetation.

Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum)

Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum)

Pyrenean Hyacinth (hyacinthus amethystinus)

Common Vetch (Vicia sativa)

Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa)

Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)

Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Lesser Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

With the weather being so cold and wet most of the time, insect activity was negligible and it was only during the rare sunny spells that any appreaciable activity was obvious.

Bee sp.

Anthaxia nitidula (Bupestridae)

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

Both Egyptian and Griffon Vultures were commonly seen soaring above the cliffs, with the Griffons outnumbered the Egyptians by about 10:1.

Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)

April/May 2016 (NE Spain pt.3) 2016 Index April/May 2016 (NE Spain pt.5)