Saturday 6 June 2009

Dragonflies at Charca de Suárez, Granada Province.

Two more new species.

Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator).
After the RAM sea bird survey Juan and I went to Charca de Suárez near Motril, the wind was strong but several species of Dragonfly were seen. The first was a nice male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) which was sheltering from the winds in some vegetation, a common species at this site and on most areas of water with some marginal plants. It is the largest and most powerful flying of the Odonata seen in this region and some territorial battles between the males are to the death. 
Female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
The Emperor was quickly followed by Male and female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) hunting from cut off stalks of Fennel growing along the walk ways around the reserve. This species gets its Dropwing name from the position it takes at rest with the wings thrust forward and down and the abdomen held high. Several male Broad Scarlet's (Crocothemis erythraea) were seen and what I first thought was a female of the same species was the next insect to be photographed but later it was reidentifed as a female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) the first of two new dragonfly species seen today. 
Male Broad Scarlet's (Crocothemis erythraea).
I then notice an all black insect with a very active flight skimming low through the vegetation in a drier area of the marsh. I again managed to get shots of an Imm male but this was enough to identify it as a Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) the second new species for me. 
The male was all black which means it was probably quite an old insect, younger males have some yellow markings along the side of the abdomen. 
Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii).
It has a restricted range still Iberia, mainly coastal in the south but is expected to expand north. Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) and Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum) were also seen along with Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) all of which avoided the camera completely.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Sierra de Almijara, Granada Province.

A spectacular show of Marsh Orchids.

The Rio.
After quite a drive out in to the wild's, Jayne and I got to the site where Ian Philips from Malaga had seen Common Twayblade (Listera ovata) and Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza eleta) in the past.
Common Twayblade (Listera ovata).
The Marsh Orchid was quite a sight with about 60 spikes growing on the banks of a clear mountain stream with several of the plants reaching a height of near 3 feet and were possibly of the subspecies sesquipedalis. The prize here though were two spikes of the Common Twayblade a new orchid species in Spain for me. They may not be the smartest or brightest orchid I have ever seen but the two spikes were very nice. 
Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza eleta).
Usually growing to between 20 and 60 cm, these plants were on the small side at about 30 cms. The spike usually only has two subopposie large oval leaves but a small third leaf can rarely be present.
Also seen here was Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and a very large species of pond skater.

New Damselfly, Sierra de Almijara, Granada Province.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula).

Male Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula).
Several of the Odonata species were on the wing along a small mountain stream in the Sierra de Almijara. I only managed to photograph males but several insects were seen in tandem. This was the only Dragonfly species seen at the site which was surprising as the site looked ideal.