Saturday 4 June 2011

RAM and Charca del Suarez, Motril, Granada Province.

Sea bird survey and water birds at Charca.

Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) male.
Juan and I meet as usual at Aki in Granada and then made our way down to carry out the monthly sea bird count. Bird numbers were mixed with Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwater’s (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) and immature Northern Gannet’s (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) being the most common species counted. A single Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) added a bit of variety. Other birds recorded during the two hours were Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), a single fly by Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). 
Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) female.
A couple of pods of cetacea's passed distantly west, the second contained at least 20 Common Dolphin's (Delphinus delphis) but the first pod remained unidentified but all the animals stayed very low in the water and had fine backwards pointing dorsal fins.
We then moved on to Charca where we meet the warden at the main gate, who gave us a copy of the new book about the site. We then spent a couple of hours wandering around the hides. In the small hide not far from the gate we saw Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) all out on the water, while in the air lots of Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) were feeding. Further around the reserve we stopped at the hide near the photograph centre and picked up Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a pair of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). On the track near these hide we had some cracking views of a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) which sat on a reed stem and let us take several close up shots, also seen briefly was a male Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) which zipped in to sight and was gone as quick as it arrived. 
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).
From the photographic hide we picked up a nice Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and from the board walk at the back of the hide I saw at least three different Little Bitterns (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus), several Iberian Bluetail Damselflies (Ischnura graellsii), a male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and a couple of Speckled Wood Butterflies (Pararge aegeria). The time flew by and the warden was soon around to close up so we walked back towards the entrance picking up an old female Blue / Common Emperor on the bamboo fencing which also posed for a couple of shots. Other species seen included Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura).

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Ronoral Pine woodlands near Antequera, Malaga Province, Spain.

Rio Frio Health walk at Ronoral Woods.

Spanish Mallow (Malva Hispanica).
I picked the two guests that were walking with me up from the hotel and headed out, while David took the others on a different route up through the mountains. We parked up and walked the dirt roads through the Pines which later opened out and then changed to a mixture of Oaks and scrub. 
Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi).
On the way round good numbers of birds were seen and heard, on the first section I picked up Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). 
Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum).
Some wildflowers were still in good condition but all the Orchids were well over with, flowers seen included Wild Leek (Allium ampeloprasum), Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Spanish Mallow (Malva Hispanica) and Mucizonia hispida.
Out in the more open areas I added Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Bonelli’s Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). 
Pine-cone Knapweed (Leuzea conifera).
Butterflies were on the wing in good numbers including lots of Black-veined Whites (Aporia crataegi), Cardinal Fritillary (argynnis Pandora), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). Hummingbird Hawkmoths (Macroglossum stellatarum) were also common including one which landed on a dirt bank and gave us some nice views and a chance with the camera. 
More wildflowers were seen on this more open stretch, Italian Sainfoin (Hedysarum coronarium), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Helianthemum lavandulifolium, Caper (Capparis spinosa), Cynara cardunculus, Pine-cone Knapweed (Leuzea conifera), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense) and White Flax (Linum suffruticosum).

Sunday 29 May 2011

Laguna Herrera and El Chorro, Malaga Province.

On the way to and at work.

Anders and Betsy at the summit.
I made a quick visit to the Laguna on my way to work at Antequera, on the flooded fields there were several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and several Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
David at the summit.
Out on the main Laguna there were about 200 Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) feeding, a single male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), a Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a single Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). In the air there were several more Gull-billed Terns, Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus). Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) were all heard rattling out songs from the margins, while an Avocet sat quietly on her nest just a meter from the track side. Other species seen included Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
View from the summit.
I then made my way up to the hotel to meet today’s hikers and then we all travelled out to do one of the walks in the El Chorro area. On the way over we passed Laguna Dulce just as around 150 Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) were leaving the site, which made for a spectacular view as they all flew low over the road and the Olive groves.
The first part of the walk took us through some mature pine woodland were Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) were all seen. On the more open areas of scrub I picked up Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Subalpine Warblers (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), along with Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and in the air Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). Other birds seen on the way to the summit of the hill and on the way back included Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Great Tits (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Good numbers of butterflies were also on the wing, these included Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Large (Pieris brassicae), Bath (Pontia daplidice) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
Other birds seen whilst travelling included Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).