Friday 20 August 2010

Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

New Dragon for my Granada Province List.

Male Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).
While I was tatting in our neighbours John and Christine’s garden, I was very pleased to see a cracking male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) flying around the pool. This was the first insect of this recent colonist I have seen in the Province of Granada. Whilst I was there I also had a male Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Guadalhorce Valley, Malaga Province.

Two new Dragons.

Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) female.
Steve and I set off for a days Dragon hunting in the Valley of the Rio Guadalhorce and on some of its tributaries. We travelled down the main road from Campillos to Malaga and made our first stop at the bridge over the Rio Grande. Several Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) were the most common species on the river but we also saw Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). 
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).
As soon as we got out of the car dragonflies appeared, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) was the first with both male and female posing, quickly follow by a less helpful male Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma). 
Teneral Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
Down in the vegetation by the river we quickly realized that there was a mass emergence of Epaulet Skimmers as we found loads of teneral insects clinging to plant stems and many exuvia of insects already flown. Here we also caught up with Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and several Broad Scarlet’s (Crocothemis erythraea), both males and females. A newly emerged insect was photographed and Steve later identified it as a teneral Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) a new colonizer from Africa, proving that the species is breeding here and not just migrating. 
  Immature Male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
Back near the car we found a sub adult male and full male Orange-winged Dropwing as well as an old female Epaulet Skimmer.
The next stop was at a bridge over the arroyo de Casarabonela, again there were loads of Epaulet Skimmers, Orange-winged Dropwings, Broad Scarlet’s, Violet Dropwing and the first sighting of the dragon of the day a male Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus), which cruised up and down the same stretch of river the whole time we were there but only settled briefly but Steve was equally as quick with the long lens camera and managed to crack off a couple of shots (one shown in the blog, thanks Steve). 
Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) by Steve Jones.
A nice pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) soared over head and a couple of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) flew up and down the river feeding.
Male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
The next stop was on one of the tributaries near Pizarra called the Arroyode las Canas, again the Orange-winged Dropwing was common here along with more Epaulet Skimmers, Broad Scarlet’s, Iberian Bluetails, Violet Dropwings and our second Ringed Cascader of the day. A Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) flew off from up stream and did a wide circle around us be for dropping back in to cover a little down stream, another Booted Eagle flew over and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) called close by.
The last stop in this valley was a little closer to Pizarra on the Rio Guadalhorce, all the above species were seen again plus several pairs of White Featherlegs (Platycnemis latipes) and Blue-eye’s / Goblet-marked Damselflies (Erythromma lindenii) were seen in tandem. 
Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) Male.
Up stream there was a small shallow back water off the main river, the water here was very warm and the numbers of dragons in this small area was amazing. Birds seen at this included White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and an immature Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax). On the down stream side of the bridge we added the only Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) of the day but nothing else.
Our last stop of the day was on the road towards Ronda at a water extraction point on the Rio Guadalieba, again we kept up the sightings of Orange-winged Dropwing with a nice male flying around the lower pool. On the upper part of the river very good numbers of Copper Demoiselles (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) danced around in the reeds and by the car a Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa) showed nicely above ground. After getting some shots of the Demoiselles we made our way back to Sue and Clive’s and then I continued back home.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Laguna Dulce, and Grazalema Area, Malaga and Cadiz Provinces.

A couple of days with friends in Grazalema area. 

Sue and Sam.
After sorting out a few things at home I travelled over to Grazalema to meet up with Steve Jones and his family. Who were staying with Sue, Clive and Sam at there house in the countryside near the town.
On the way I stopped at Laguna Dulce where I sat in the hide with Ana and Jairo, two birders from Granada and had a pleasant hours birding. Out on the lake the
re were good numbers of adult and young Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) along with Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). I did not manage to see the White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) that Ana and Jairo had seen earlier but out on the margins I added a couple of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a number of Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber). 
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) Male.
On the surrounding fields good numbers of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) were feeding and over the lake swarms of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) picked off the insects.
Also seen during the journey were Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Woodchat (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) female.
As I arrived at Sue and Clives I immediately picked up a Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene) in the willows and several Copper Demoiselle’s (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) along the track.
It was good to see Sue and youngster Sam again and to meet Steve, Lyn and Adam. We all sat down and had a chat waiting for Clive to get home f
rom running the visitors Centre in Grazalema, when he arrived we sat down to a very nice meal.
Other species seen whilst at the house in the evening included Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Green (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).

Monday 16 August 2010

North West of Alhama, Granada Province.

Amongst the agricultural flatlands.

Jayne and I were travelling through the flat agricultural area between Alhama de Granada and Zafarraya in the South of the province when Jayne picked up a large flock of birds flying quite high east. Typically the bins were in the boot, we stopped and I slipped quickly in the back of the car just in time to Id the birds as Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a flock of some 150/200 birds. We also saw Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).