Thursday, 5 July 2012

Laguna Chica, Malaga Province.

The Dragon's just keep coming!!!

As with last Thursday I dropped Jayne off at her craft group in Trabuco and headed out to Laguna Chica, where last week I had seen some good Birds, Butterflies and Dragon’s. The Birds were quite different as there were very few to be seen except for a few Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), half a dozen Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), a single pair of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and a dozen or so Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) the water was very quiet. It is possible that all the stuff I had seen on my last visit had moved up to Laguna Grande just up the hill. The main reason I had come back though was to look for dragonflies and I certainly was not disappointed with the numbers of these. I parked under a large oak tree and walked down a Cistus covered slope to the edge of the reed beds, on the way I pushed a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator), a single Lesser (Anax parthenope) and another species which zipped away so quickly that for the moment it remained a mystery but I knew it was a species that I had not seen before. I reached the reed edge and found a small track through to the waters edge and on to the drying margins, out on the water lots of Broad Scarlet’s (Crocothemis erythraea) chased around, along with several Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum) and a few Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma). On the reed stems and dead water plants along the shore line lots of Damsels were seen including Common Blue (Enallagma cyathinerum), Dainty (Coenagrion scitulum) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum). Along here I also saw several Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and a couple of Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). In the air over the pool there were Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
On the landward side of the reeds I then started to walk west along the many tracks, the first new species for the day were several female / teneral Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), next came a female Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) one of around 10 seen and then another fleeting glimpse of a small blue Dragon which again did not hang around long enough for me to identify it. Further along the track I went out onto another area of dry shore line this time there were large tussocks of Rushes which gave the Dragonflies something to perch on just at camera level, straight away I came across a small short bodied Dragon which this time sat quite nicely for some shot and due to the paleness of the pterostigma and the broad hind wings I suspected that it was a Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra). In the same area there were lots of young Ocellated Lizards (Lacerta lepida), a few Large Psammodromus (Emys orbicularis) and loads of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). Butterflies were also seen here in quite large numbers, most were Lang's Short-tailed Blues (Leptotes pirithous) which were seen on the muddy margins by the dozen, along with these came several Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba). I then moved on around to the thistle patches on the western shore looking for more butterflies but not before finding a second Black Pennant on the way. In the thistles there were a few Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea). I then started a slow walk back along the shore and the first insect seen and photographed was a stunning very fresh Black-tailed Skimmer which took some pinning down but eventually it settled and let me get some nice shots. On the way several more Long Skimmers were seen along with more Red-veined Darters, Dainty Damsels and the only new species which was Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii). I reached the point where the track went back up to the car and stumbled across a nice conditioned male Black Pennant which sat very well whilst I got some reasonable shots. I then checked the time and was amazed to find the 5 hours that I had before I needed to pick Jayne up were all but gone so I started the walk back up the hill to the car, on the way adding Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) to the bird list.
Photographs from the top: Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), 2x Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus) and Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum)

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