Sunday, 10 June 2012

Day two, Sierra Morena, Jaen Province.

Four out of five of us go way empty handed on the Lynx front!
Day two started somewhat earlier than yesterday at 07:00, we started much as I had done the day before by heading down to the river and driving along to the dam. Her we parked up and walked back along the near shore line to wards the road, but spent some time looking on the dam wall for the Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) we could hear but failed to see. From the bridge we had a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) as it whizzed off down stream and of a male Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) landed in a small tree before dropping into the denser bushes. On the rocks there were at least two immature Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) along with an adult White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). An almost constant noise along the river was the calls of both Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) we saw several of the latter but the Woodpeckers stayed well out of sight. From a high point in the road we had good views out over the river and the surrounding woodlands, from here we picked up Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) which seemed to be just about every where in this area. Butterflies were also picked up as we walked and these included Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla). Before we reached the road we had a short break sat at one of the many picnic benches along the route and got some cracking views of a family of Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla). From here we retraced our tracks back towards the car, on the way we found more very fresh looking Lynx prints in the road side dust along with other tracks which looked like they were made by a large Lizard, Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and a small Beetle. In the trees and scrub along the river we had nice views of a family party of Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), a pair of Subalpine Warblers (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and very smart male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus). After quite some time we got back to the cars but gave the Rock Sparrows another try before heading off for some lunch, this time we had some good views of them and also Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). We also spent some time watching some huge Carp floating around under the aquatic vegetation and whilst we were doing this added Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) to the dragonfly list. Last birds for the morning were a group of passing Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) which moved through quite high.
We then headed back for some lunch and a bit of relief from the now quite warm sun. Later we returned to the river but went further down stream this time which turned out to be a wise move, We soon started to add some very interesting butterflies to the list including a couple of cracking Spanish Purple Hairstreaks (Laeosopis roboris) which sat nicely on bramble leaves, Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus) and Berger’s Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis). Dan then called me back to the damp ditch that we had just crossed where he had an unusual butterfly sat on the side of a tree which turned out to be new to us all a Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe) which proved hard to photograph but Dan managed to get one half decent shot. We then continued on to a spot at the side of the river where the shoes came off and some hot feet were cooled down in the water, whilst here we saw another Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), more Golden Orioles, Nightingales and a couple more dragonflies, Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
After a nice cooling off period we headed back out on to the track down to the Embalse de Jandula, we again stopped quite a few times as we made our way. We saw pretty much the same species as the day before, the Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) was still calling from the same spot, Both Deer species were seen near the road side and lots of the Black fighting Bulls were still in the fields looking rather placid. We got down to the dam and had a look out the far side of the tunnel where we picked up Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). We went back through the tunnel and out on to the dam wall we added another Mammal to the list here with half a dozen or so Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) seen lounging around on the rocky slope. We look for but did not see any signs of yesterdays White-rumped Swifts (Vencejo Cafre / Apus caffer) we did however see Red-rumped and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) along with House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). We then ventured up the hill back into the main area for the Lynx, we stopped at the spot where we saw the Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) yesterday and it did a brief reappearance but just at the moment when Matt picked up what he was 100% sure was a Lynx moving between two stands of bushes. After much searching we failed to get any more sightings of the cracking animal, we guessed that it either settled down in amongst the stand of stunted Oaks where Matt had last seen it or had managed to slip out the back and away. We went a little way up the hill to get a different angle on the area but the results were the same but we did get a very pale Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which flew along the ridge with a couple of Griffon Vultures and a small group of Blacks (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus). On the nearby slopes a Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) was seen and heard singing, a Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) scolded us from the cistus scrub and a couple of Red-legged Partridges (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) called loudly. We continued to search for Matt’s Lynx for quite some time but eventually we admitted defeat and  headed off, Dan and his family went back to the hostel and I went home. We did not all see the main target species on this trip but we saw some very special wildlife including some beautiful Butterflies, delicate looking Dragon's and colourful birds. Thanks to Dan for getting in touch and to the rest of his family for a very enjoyable couple of days.

Photographs from the top: The Rio Guadalen, Dan watching the Woodchats, Spanish Purple Hairstreaks (Laeosopis roboris), Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe) taken by Dan, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), The group by the river, Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).

1 comment:

Jacinto said...

Nice report Mick. For sure the lynx won´t be so elusive for the next time.
Greetings