Not even mad dogs would venture out on an afternoon like this!!!
As I have done on the last couple of Thursdays I dropped Jayne at the craft group in Trabuco but this week she was joined by our neighbour Carole and then I carried on to spend a few hours at Laguna Chica near by. I arrived and found a nice big oak tree to park the car under and then went and had a walk down to the waters edge and then around the Northern shoreline. On some thyme bushes I had brief views of a single Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius) and much better views of several Sage Skippers (Muschampia proto) which were much more cooperative for the camera. On the water birds were again in short supply with just a few Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), a single male Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and half a dozen Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) being seen. In the air large numbers of swifts and hirundines were feeding including around 50 or so Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), equal numbers of Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and a few Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus). These were joined by good numbers of House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and the odd Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). Out on the open water several Broad Scarlet’s (Crocothemis erythraea) were chasing each other around the tamarisks, a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator) were patrolling the margins and lots of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathinerum) were flying low over the floating weeds. A single female type dragon was perched quite high in a bush which had me confused for a while as it had completely clear wings and an obvious white pterostigma, but after some time it came down lower and I could see that it was a newly emerged Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra). On the land ward side of the reeds I soon found quite good numbers of the very common Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), along with a couple of Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum) both of which were recently emerged, a Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) which flushed up from one of the broom bushes and then I came across a new species for the site when I located a immature male Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii). Wasp Spiders (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi) were also seen in good numbers building their intricate web between the stands of Rushes. I moved on around to the rush covered margins down at the eastern end of the pool where the drop in the water level was most noticeable because of the rather larger area of dried mud. As I came through the reeds several Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) flushed up along with a nice male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a family of Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). Along the rush fringe I picked up a couple more Black Pennants, several more older female type Broad Scarlet’s and a couple of Small Spreadwings (Lestes virens) which I tried but failed to get some shots of, in the dry conditions they just melted into the back ground and disappeared all too easily. On the walk back I found a nice male Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), several Small Whites (Artogeia rapae) and Lang's Short-tailed Blues (Leptotes pirithous). Birds included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). During the return journey I picked up just a single Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and a few Small Red-eyes (Erythromma viridulum). By now it was getting dam hot so when I reached the car I had a drink and then headed off to have a look at a small now quite dry pool near Salinas. I arrived and found several Broad Scarlet’s, an Epaulet Skimmer and a couple of Mercury Bluet’s (Coenagrion mercuriale) but little else. I spent some time watching a Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura) in the small track side stream catching and eating a good number of very small tadpoles before a male Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) distracted me. It was now about 15:30 and things were just getting too hot so I got back in the motor and started to head back towards Trabuco on the farm tracks, on the way I picked up Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus). I got back to the bar where the craft group meet and had a drink before we headed off back towards home, on the way the only new species was a cracking Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was perched along side the motorway on a large pylon.
Photographs from the top: Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), 2x Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Wasp Spiders (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).