Thursday, 24 June 2010

Near Archidona, Malaga Province.

Up to my knees in it, but it was worth while.

Jayne and I fancied some fresh air so we went to a cracking site near Archidona, just over the boarder into Malaga Province. A small water course called the Arroya Marin meanders along an at times steep sided valley lined with Pine and Oak woodlands. The main interest today was to see Butterflies and Dragonflies, The first stop was by a concrete bridge over the Arroya, Jayne settled down with her book and music and I had a wander. The first species seen was a female White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) which posed nicely on a Bramble stem (makes a nice change), several more of them were seen including a nice male which did not settle at all. On the river back several species of butterflies were coming to damp gravel to take on water and minerals, these included Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), the latter was the first confirmed sighting I have had in Spain. The area was also being used by huge numbers of Honey Bees to take on water which meant that the butterflies were impossible to photograph as they were constantly disturbed by the Bees. The only shots taken were of a very nice False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi) which landed on the path nearby. On my way along the river I flushed a larger Dragonfly which settled long enough for me to identify it as a Pincertail, but that was it, the insect then disappeared as quickly as it arrived. More butterflies were also seen in this area including Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Common (Polyommatus icarus) and Holly Blues (Celastrina argiolus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus) and Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli). A stop a little further along the track produced another sighting of the Pincertail but this time a female. Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) called from the tops of some Poplars near where we parked the car but only 4 juvenile birds were actually seen. I was getting a little frustrated with the Pincertail and said that I would like to go back to the original spot but Jayne suggested that we went down to the last of the bridges and had a look there and how right she was. At least five male Large Pincertails (Onychogomphus uncatus) were sat out on and fighting over rocks in the centre of the river, I took a few shots through the scope for insurance and then went in to get closer views. The first insect approached was not interested in flying any where and sat for ages while got some nice shots of it from all angles. I then took some of the others in the area, another female type fly through but did not settle. Other birds seen or heard during the couple of hours were Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Bonelli’s (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). I then got back to dry land and we made our way into Loja and then home.
Photographs from the top: White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi) and 3x Large Pincertails (Onychogomphus uncatus).

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