A days local Dragon hunting with friends.
Steve Jones (The Cornish county Dragonfly recorder), Lynn his wife and there son Adam arrived yesterday to stay for a few days and to spend some time looking for some of the Dragonfly species I had seen recently. The first day of there stay found us at Laguna Chica a site just over the boarder in Malaga province, we parked under one of the Oak trees on the hill above the site and Steve’s camera was straight to work getting some shots of some of the passing Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which had spent the night roosting in the Tamarisks around the pool. In all we saw around 30 birds including a few which were still in the trees, there were also a small number of Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) in the area which had spent the night in the more substantial Oak trees. In the air over the Laguna there were good numbers of both adult and juvenile European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We headed straight for the dried out margins which I was soon to discover were not quite as dry as I had first thought, here we soon started the Dragon list with Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), both Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) and several Small Red-eyeds (Erythromma viridulum) which got Steve wading in to the water quite deep to get some good shots. Out on the water there were several Common Pochards (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). We then moved out into the drier area on the other side of the reedbeds and almost straight a way picked up a female Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) which settled very nicely whilst it chewed on a male Red-veined Darter which it had just caught. Steve was particularly pleased with this find and the way it behaved as it was a new species for him. In the same area we picked up Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) and Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto). We also added a few more birds to the day list which included Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus). As we moved along the shore line several Grasshopper species were seen including Blue-winged (Oedipoda caerulescens) and Red-winged (Arphia pseudonietana) plus at least one which remains unnamed. We continued on along the edge of the reeds and soon picked up another of the species on Steve’s wanted list which was a male Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens) which posed nicely for his camera. At the far end of the lake we spent quite a long while searching for one of the Black Pennants (Selysiothemis nigra) which I had seen at the end of July with Sue and Sam but we were out of luck on this visit but we did added a fine male Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) which perched well for both us. The tamarisk bushes that run right along the edge of water held loads of Red-veined Darters, a few Broad Scarlet’s and a couple more Lesser Emperors. More birds were added in the surrounding trees and bushes including Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / hylloscopus bonelli) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata). On the walk back to the car Adam found a very nice Large Psammodromus (Emys orbicularis) which stayed on the top of a large rock and then scuttled away into a hiding hole. We got back to the car had our packed lunches and headed over to the near by site just to the north of Salinas where I was disappointed to find that all the stream margins had been strimmed. Even though the site had been badly damaged by the work we still found lots of dragons flying in the area including two new species for the site which were Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis) with there being quite a few of the former seen and just three of the latter. We spent some time walking along side and in the ditches tying to get some decent shots, whilst we were doing this we saw more Violet Dropwings, Broad Scarlet, Red-veined Darters, Lesser Emperor, Iberian Bluetails, Blue / Common Emperors and added Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale), Southern Skimmers (Orthetrum brunneum) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) to the trip list. In the water we also saw several Viperine Snakes (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura) none of which wanted to be on film and a Water Scorpion (Nepa cinerea) which Steve found between his toes when he came out of the ditch. We also saw more Azure-winged Magpies here along with Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
Photographs from the top: Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Steve wading to get some shots of Small Red-eyed, Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria, Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Grasshopper species still to be named, Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Water Scorpion (Nepa cinerea).