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Sierra Crestellina Outing

29 May 2018

April's GONHS outing took place at the beautiful mountains of Sierra Crestellina, near the town of Casares, Spain.

Sierra Crestellina is a limestone mountain that lies behind the village of Casares, north of Gibraltar. The outing was well-attended, and started off on a good footing, when a stand of orchids was spotted on the bank by the trackside, well before the car parking area. Here there were a number of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) and a couple of Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum).

Once on the walk itself, it was wonderful to see the hillside covered in yellow Spiny Broom (Calicotome villosum) and purple Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas). During the early stages of the walk, various species of Cistus were present, including the Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) and Sage-leaved Cistus (Cistus salvifolius).

Further along the track, the limestone outcrops became more apparent, and the vegetation changed to something more like that found on the Rock. Scattered among the limestone rocks were many species of calcareous soil, including a number of the beautiful Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica).

Various species of mosses and liverworts were also noted on the rocks, and large stands of the lichen Pebbled Pixie-cup (Cladonia pyxidata).

The leaves of the Tangier Fennel (Ferula tingitana) were seen in a couple of places along the track, but no flowers. These plants are very common in Gibraltar but very rare in Spain. A number of flowering plants were seen by the roadside, on the return journey, just outside the village of Casares itself.

Birding highlights included fantastic views of nesting Griffon Vulture, and Egyptian Vulture, Raven, Lesser Kestrel and Crag Martins. Numerous Tit species including Crested Tit were heard, as well as other song birds and the drumming of Great Spotted woodpecker. The Outing ended with a lovely lunch at Venta La Molino.


Total bird species seen: 22

Chaffinch Blue Rock Thrush
Greenfinch Wood pigeon
Goldfinch Raven
Linnet Great Spotted Woodpecker
Blue tit Sardinian Warbler
Great tit Blackcap
Created tit Black Kite
Firecrest Lesser Kestrel
Wren Peregrine Falcon
Robin Griffon Vulture
Blackbird Egyptian Vulture

Man Orchid Aceras Anthropophorum
Man Orchid Aceras anthropophorum
Naked Man Orchid Orchis Italica
Naked Man Orchid Ochris italica
Sawfly Orchid Ophrys Tenthredinifera
Sawfly orchid Ophrys tenthredinifera
Yellow Bee Orchid Ophrys Lutea
Yellow Bee Orchid Ophrys lutea
Sage Leaved Cistus Cistus Salvifolius
Sage leaved Cistus Cistus salvifolius
Grey Leaved Cistus Cistus Albidus
Grey Leaved Cistus Cistus albidus
Spanish Lavender Lavandula Stoechas
Spanish lavander Lavandula stoechas
Spiny Broom Calicotome villosum On The Hillside
Spiny Broom Calicotome villosum
Pebbled Pixie Cup Cladonia Pyxidata
Pebbled Pixie Cup Cladonia Pyxidata