Thursday, 28 June 2012

Laguna Grande, Laguna Chica and Salina's, Malaga Province.

Yet another new Damselfly.

I dropped
Jayne off in Trabuco at her Craft Group and instead of heading over to Arroyo Marin as I usually do I made my way across country to the track along side the motorway which leads up to Laguna Grande and Laguna Chic both of which I had expected to be quite dry. So when I arrived at the former I was very pleased to see it had quite a good depth of water and held quite a decent number of birds. The commonest species by far were Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) with 50+ being seen, Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) around 20 birds and 15 + Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). There were a couple of pairs of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), a single Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia) and 5 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) all on the margins along with several Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). Over head Good numbers of Swifts were feeding quite low down over the water including Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), these were joined by House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). I then found a single female Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) on the near shore and a Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) which started off on the far shore but eventually moved around and came close in near the Pochard. The Red-knobbed Coot is a species that used to be seen quite regularly at this site but this is the first time I have seen them for around three years. In amongst the dead branches that remain clear of the water along the margins there were several White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), a single Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and several European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) all perched preening. Several species of Dragonfly were also present including hordes of Broad Scarlet’s (Crocothemis erythraea), Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata). Other birds seen included Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Bonelli’s (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus). During my walk around the Laguna I also saw several butterfly species including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi) and Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus).
I then walked across to Laguna Chica and was even more surprised to find that this pool was pretty much full and held three more surprising birds, the first was my second Red-knobbed Coot of the visit, the second were a pair of Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and the third was a fine male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) which was chasing Eurasian Coots and any of the Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) off that came to close to its patch of Tamarisk. In the marginal thistle beds I saw several more species of butterfly including a new species for my list which was a very nice Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae), also there were Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) and Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli). On the edge of the reeds a little further around the pool I had a couple of Small Spreadwings (Lestes virens), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and a few Dainty Damselflies (Coenagrion scitulum) which were new to my Dragonfly list. From here I dropped back across some fields to the motorway service road and walked back to the car, on the way I saw Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus) to boost the Butterfly list and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) for the birds.
Once back at the car I headed to a spot near Salinas to look for some more Dragon’s, here I saw loads of Broad Scarlet’s, Epaulet and Southern Skimmers (Orthetrum brunneum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) and Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale). Birds included a pair of Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a nice male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus). The only new butte
rfly for the day was a very well behaved Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) which sat for shots nicely. I then headed back over to Trabuco as the afternoon heat was getting a bit much and a sandwich and a drink seemed like a good idea.
Photographs from the top: Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae), Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens), Dainty Damselflies (Coenagrion scitulum), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto).

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