Friday 25 June 2010

Balsa de Íllora, Upper Cacín Valley and Mesia, Granada Province.

Another excellent site from Juan.

Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina).

I met Juan Perez just off the A92 and we made our way to the site near Illora, as soon as we arrived we meet up with some of the farmers and checked that we could walk all the way around the lake as they were harvesting on the far bank. Once we were given clearance to proceed we set off, the first birds we picked up were a couple of immature Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) feeding out on the thick blanket weed which covered about a quarter of the water. On the more open areas there were at least four family groups of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) duckling numbers ranging from 8 down to just a single bird. Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were also seen on the pool. Over head we added Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). 
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum).
On the fields surrounding the site and in the dead trees at the far end of the lake we picked up Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Dragonfly species were few but the two seen were in good numbers, Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) several seen in the marginal weeds and a great many teneral Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) were over the water. No butterflies of note were seen only Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae). Just as we returned to the car we picked up eight Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) flying in and bumped into the Campo Warden for the estate, he was very helpful and gave us the phone numbers of the people to contact for access to the site on future visits.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Juan then dropped me back to my car and made his way back into the city, I went to the agricultural area in the upper Cacín Valley where the only species of interest were a pair of Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and good numbers of Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
Mesia woods were also quiet but I got some nice views of Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).

Thursday 24 June 2010

Near Archidona, Malaga Province.

Up to my knees in it, but it was worth while.
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).

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. 
False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi).
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. 
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).
More butterflies were also seen in this area including Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Common (Polyommatus icarus) and Holly Blues (Celastrina argiolus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) and Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides 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. 
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).
At least five male Large Pincertails (Onychogomphus uncatus) were sat out on and fighting over rocks in the center 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. 
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).
Other birds seen or heard during the couple of hours were Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), 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.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Balsa de Regidor, Moraleda de Zafayona, Granada Province.

A site that's hard on the senses.

Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina).

Jayne and I stopped off briefly on our way back from the Garden Centre with the latest lettuce plants for the veg patch, so that I could check out the Dragonflies. The first thing that hits you at this site is the smell of raw sewage which is allowed to leak into this man made irrigation lake. It is far as I am aware a know problem that no one seems to want to do anything about. 
Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).
Anyway, there is still quite a lot of wildlife on the site, on the pool a couple of pairs of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) had 10 ducklings between them and there were also numerous young of both Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) around the margins. In the Almond trees around the northern side of the pool I was scolded by several Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and at least two Juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) also rattled the disapproval from a nearby Willow. 
Wasp species on Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).
Good numbers of Dragonflies were around the marginal vegetation, including Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum).