Jayne and I headed over to Sue, Clive and Sam's near to Grazalema for a couple of days of birding and general wildlife watching. On the way we picked up Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Hen (Northern) Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) a female and several Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus). We arrived a little later than planned but it was not long before we were all sat around the garden table having a drink and a chin-wag in what can only be described as a place of out standing beauty. The mountains towered above us on two sides with Griffon Vultures soaring almost continually along their crags, the river which forms the boundary to there property on one side is lined with a dense band of trees and undergrowth which was full of birds and other species. Whilst we sat and chatted Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotarda / Sylvia atricapilla), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) were all seen. The first new species of the trip then whizzed passed, a Blue / Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) several more of both sexes were seen over the two days. Down by the river several Western Willow Spreadwings (Lestes viridis) were still flying and on the driveway a male Common Darter (Sympertrum striolatum) was perched on some brambles. Our only trip out was for lunch at one of the local bars on the road between Ronda and Sevilla (very nice it was to). On the way back we heard Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) in a group of dying trees and stopped at a small bridge over the river that runs passed Sue and Clive's but further down stream. Here I had my second new dragon species of the trip a cracking Western Spectre (Boyeria irene), a species that I missed on the last visit, along with more Blue / Southern Hawkers, White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and Common Darter, plus hundreds of young Iberian Water Frogs (Rana perezi). In the meadow above the Oleanders (Nerium oleander) several clumps of Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus) were found including a completely white specimen and a couple of the tall spikes of Sea Squill (Urginea maritima). We then headed back to the house and relaxed for a while, Sue then found an Iberian Worm Lizard (Blanus cinereus) which had been attacked by the cat unfortunately damaging it tail. We later headed up to the rear of the garden looking for Common Winter Damsel (Sympecma fusca) and Mantis species. The Damsel's were soon found in the grass below the Olive trees and so were several species of Mantis including European Dwarf (Ameles spallanzania) and Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa). We continued our wonder picking up Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina). The Rosemary bushes in the garden were covered with Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus), Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) and a pair of mating Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa). We then returned to the garden table and Sue and Clive prepared a very nice evening meal including home made passion fruit ice-cream. Whilst Jayne entertained Sam and I sat by the river watching Western Spectre, Western Willow Spreadwing and Blue / Southern Hawker.
After our evening meal I set up the 125 MV moth trap which almost immediately started to attract moths and unfortunately a small number of Hornets (Vespa crabro).
Photographs from the top: View from the garden table, Iberian Worm Lizard (Blanus cinereus), Common Winter Damsel (Sympecma fusca), European Dwarf Mantis (Ameles spallanzania), Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and the youngest member of the group, Sam.