Friday, 10 September 2010

Rio Velez, Malaga Province.

Wading in a smelly Rio Velez.

I dropped Jayne off at the shopping centre at Velez Malaga and went down to the Rio Velez and the beach. As I arrived I noted that there were large numbers of Dragonflies along the river, I immediately picked out several Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) patrolling along the reeds, Broad Scarlet ( Crocothemis erythraea), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) were all seen perched on spikes of vegetation along the track. A quick scan with the bins and I picked up a single immature Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), a couple of adult Grey’s (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and several Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). As I walked towards the beach several Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) flew along in front of me and a second Purple Heron flew up from the reeds carrying a large eel, as it flew over the two Grey Herons they both started to mob the bird till it dropped the eel and then the two Grey Heron squabbled over it. The dragonfly numbers grew greater the closer I got to the pool near the beach, there were hundreds, if not thousands of Broad Scarlet’s, lots of the Dropwings and new species included a single male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
The only ducks seen were a few Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and the only other things on the water were Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and a single Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). In the trees and reeds surrounding the river I added Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). I eventually reached the pool behind the beach, here there were hundreds of hirundines feeding, most appeared to be Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). There were also a few Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia). I was chasing around in smelly ankle deep water trying to get some shots of another Long Skimmer when I stumbled across a male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) which was just taking the last few mouth fulls of a male Broad Scarlet and was not in the mood to fly to far. I managed to get close enough to get some nice shots before he departed, as I started to turn around an old female Long Skimmer landed on almost the same reed stalk with an Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) in it grasp and quickly polished it off which gave me chance to get the pictures I wanted. In the area around the beach I added Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis). Another largish Tern was seen flying away from the beach, it defiantly had an Orange / Red bill which looked to long for Caspian Tern (Pagaza Piquirroja / Sterna caspia) but from the angle and distance I was at and the fact that the scope was on drier ground I did not get good enough views for possitive Id.
On the way back to the car I picked up a few Butterfly species including African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla).
Photographs from the top: Tatty male Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), old female Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii) in tandem.

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