Rivers and Waters
The Sabar River is present at the beginning and at the end of the route. The road from Alfarnatejo climbing from Pulgarin Alto leads along the river when it cuts into the Sierra de Enmedio. You will crosses two bridges, one at the lowest point of the walk and one near Alfarnatejo.
Then you will pass by the riverbed as it contours around the village of Alfarnate. The river is somewhat contaminated upstream by urban residues and leaking from the landslide of Malinfierno. The river seems to recover downstream. Its nature of a turbulent torrent makes its riverbed open and very stony, as in the strikingly named Charco del Aceite (the puddle of oil). However there are calmer parts in the flat areas surrounded with cattails and rushes and pools overtaken by water plants. Some willows, poplar and ash, make up the rest of the vegetation. The locals called the Sabar river Arroyo del Palancar or Alfarnate.
In terms of quality of water the Borbollón river is quite different, since you are close to the source in the rocky amphitheatre formed the Tajo Gomer and the Sierrecilla del Rey. The stream Arroyo de la Cueva comes down from the mountain pass but the source itself is a lagoon, extensively colonized by catkins, which you pass on your right. The Borbollón supplies water to Riogordo and yet it is a river with a significant and permanent flow. The proof of this is the fact that there is fish, mostly barbel, in the pools near the Cortijo de Auta.
The farmstead houses are built on a travertine terrace of an ancient waterfall which had long disappeared. The current waterfall is more modest and you can hear itas you cross the river on a small make-shift bridge (although there is also a ford on the side). These calcareous waters give life to a dense and well conserved wood with tall Elms and Poplars, Ash and some Willows.
As always, the brambles occupy their usual place in the sun in more open areas. Finally, given its proximity to the walk, let´s mention the spring called Fuente de Conejo, near Alfarnatejo, sign-posted by the local training workshop-school.
You will be walking by many rocky outcrops during Stage 10 which determine the type of birdlife during this stage of the walk. Olive groves, both new and centuries old, together with stretches of grain fields and formations of holm oak and pine, create an environment capable of supporting a high diversity of species.
The beginning of Stage 10 is marked by the presence of olive groves up to the section leading along the road, which you will need to follow for a while until you come to a dirt track again. In this type of environment, where there are olive trees with trunks thick enough to provide nesting spots for many species of birds, you can see Hoopoe, Robin, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Common and Spotless Starling, Common Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Greenfinch and Red-legged Partridge, among other species.
Once you start walking through the retama bushes and farmland the most common species get to be the Barn Swallow, House Martin, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, House Sparrow and Corn Bunting. At the Cortijo de Auta you will cross a stream where birds congregate in order to find water and where you will be able to see Cetti´s Warbler and Grey Wagtail. At this point you are walking among crop fields again which then are replaced by a holm oak wood leading to the Alfarnatejo valley. During this stretch you are close to the cliffs and you can mainly see such species as Griffon Vulture, Bonelli´s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Eagle Owl, Rock Dove, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Rock Thrush at the top of the rocky outcrops, Rock Sparrow, Raven and Red-billed Chough.
Once you are in the holm oak wood, which will pretty much continue keeping you company till the end of Stage 10, you can spot Common Wood Pigeon, European Turtle Dove, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Black-eared Wheatear, Bonelli´s Warbler, Common Firecrest, Blue Tit, Southern Grey Shrike, Common Linnet, Eurasian Siskin and Cirl Bunting. Other species occurring at Stage 10 are Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Woodlark, Western Orphean Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper and Rock Bunting which is especially abundant at the old quarry, nowadays serving as a tip, just before you get to the Alfarnate water-treatment plant. Other species which are present occasionally and irregularly in winter are Brambling, Eurasian Bullfinch and Yellowhammer.