Saturday 14 April 2012

RAM near Motril, Coastal Sierra and Charca de Suarez, Granada Province.

A new Orchid for our Granada Lists.

Pink Butterfly Orchis (Orchis papilionacea).
Juan and I set off from the usual meeting point at Aki and drove down to Motril and on to the sea watch point near Torrenuavo, on the way we had some nice views of a pair of Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which were flying close to the side of the motorway. Once we reached the spot for the sea watch we made the decision to stay slightly off the top of the hill as it was a bit breezy up there. Birds were few and far between which given that the wind was coming inland was a bit of a surprise, we recorded just 5 Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) all in one group heading west, a single Kittiwake (Gaviota Tridactila / Rissa tridactila) which was also heading west. 
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Juan did not see either of these species as I had shouted that they were heading east by mistake and sent him looking in totally the wrong direction (Sorry Juan). Other species seen included Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii). Juan picked up a Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) and what was probably a Arctic Skua (Págalo Parásito / Stercorarius parasiticus) both of which I missed even with the correct directions from Juan. A female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) past in front of us a few times, the first it was eating prey whilst in flight. 
Dense-Flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata).
Other species seen included Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
We then made our way to a site in the mountains where we were looking for Orchids with the main target being Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica). We parked near the site and finished off by walking along a dirt track and on to the slopes of a steep sided ravine where we started to find good numbers of Pink Butterfly (Orchis papilionacea), Mirror (Ophrys speculum), Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea), Dense-Flowered (Neotinea maculata) and Sawfly Orchids (Ophrys tenthredinifera). After around an hour and a half of searching I heard the distinctive sound of a very pleased Spanish Orchid hunter calling me from down on the lower slopes and guest that Juan had found our Target. 
Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).
I reached him and he showed me a short nearly opened Ophrys atlantica which was a cracking find and a new Orchid species for my Granada list but was not the best specimen for photograph. After another few minutes Juan again came up trumps with a couple of spikes which were in full bloom and in perfect condition. We spent quite a while getting some nice shots of this beautiful orchid before making our way back to the car. Birds in this area included Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Nightingale, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and quite a few Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). 
Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).
Other wildlife was made up of a few butterflies, Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) plus the usual common whites. In a small deposito on the slopes there were a lot of tadpoles of Common Toad (Bufo bufo) and in the grass on the slopes there were a couple of Large Psammodromus (Emys orbicularis) which rushed for cover very quickly.
We then started the drive down towards Charca del Suarez but we soon realized that we were not going to be there on time so Juan phoned Manuel the warden and between them sorted out our access to the site for the afternoon. Up till this point the weather had been pretty kind to us but this was not going to last and once we were looked in it took a nose dive. 
Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
Soon we were getting heavy rain storms passing and the wind just went from strength to strength which did not help with the birding let alone photography. Anyway we did have some nice views of the Baillon’s Crake (Pollueta chica / Porzana pusilla) from the same hide as last week along with 15 Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) in flight as they moved on east, Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Western Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Yellow-legged Gull, Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) later we saw an adult with two very young chicks and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta). In the air over the pool there were large numbers of hirundines and Swifts including Red-rumped and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus). After hoping the Baillon's might come and site out in the open nicely for about 2 hours we gave up and went around to the main hide to look for last weeks Little Crake (Polluela bastarda / Porzana parva) but the wind was just lashing across this pool and any self respecting Crake was tucked up in a nice thick stand of Iris’s and staying well out of view. 
Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
We did however see a singing Sedge Warbler (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) only in flight, Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and heard Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus). We later walked back around the reserve towards the main gate to be let out at 18:00, on the way we saw a single adult Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) in the usual roosting area, another Bonelli’s Warbler, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major). We also heard both Iberian Water (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and Stripeless Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) during the rain storms.
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
We then made the trip back up the motorway to Aki where I dropped Juan at his car and started the journey back home, on the way I added Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a fine male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) to the day list.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Travelling to and at Rio Velez, Malaga Province.

Some more summer visitors.

Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
Whilst Jayne was getting ready I went and put my bins and scope in the car and as I was walking back to the door I added two species to the garden list in about 10 seconds. The first were a pair of Cirl Buntings (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which made a short stop in the top of our still nearly leafless fig tree and then within seconds a cracking male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) popped up onto the wires at the side of the house and sat there for a couple of minutes before heading off into the Olives.
Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
A little later Jayne and I drove down to Rio Velez via Salar and Zafarraya, on the way we picked up Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus). Jayne spent a couple of hours touring the shops in Torre-del-Mar while I went and had a look at the River, it made a change for the most annoying part of this site not to be the weirdo’s (it was very windy) hanging around the bushes but for it to be a compete (British) pillock who was ripping up the entrance road with his big flash 4X4 and making access more difficult for every one!
Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I parked and had a wander along the banks for the eastern side of the river where I quickly located several wader species including 3 Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) including a multiple colour ringed bird, a Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) which was starting to show signs of summer plumage, Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) x2, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) x20+, Little Ringed (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).  
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) were singing all along the river and in a couple of places there were Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) scratching out a note, along with a single Sedge (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) which flashed up from amongst a bank of both varieties of Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum) with a male Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). A couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) did a fly past and a male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) was perched high up on a snapped off reed stem looking for its next snack. I then went up on to the very windy beach were the sand was being whipped up and this made sea watching hard work so I dropped back on to the marshy area and sat on a log and did a bit from back there. 
Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula).
Good numbers of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) were fairly close in riding the waves along with a couple of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and what must be 3 quite late Razorbills (Alca Común / Alca torda). Gulls included Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) were seen in largish numbers and they were joined by several Meds (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and a single Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii). I then made my way back along the river getting some shots of the waders and a very confiding Swallowtail (Papilio machaon). 
Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum).
Other butterflies included Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), African Grass Blue (Niña esmaltada / Zizeeia knysna) and Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli). Just a single Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) was seen cruising up and down the more sheltered western bank of river. 
Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum).
Other birds seen during the visit were Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) lots, Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla).
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
We called at several garden centres during the afternoon which was the main reason for the trip these plants were to replace the many lost during the cold winter.
On the way back up over the hill to Zafarraya and on the agricultural areas further north we added Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) to the list.

Monday 9 April 2012

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moth Trapping.

9100 (2415) Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder).
After a cold winter the nights have started to get a bit warmer now so I put the 15watt Actinic trap out to see what was about. 
7725 Menophora japygiaria.
I had a few moths this morning but less than I had hoped for, the commonest by far was 10343 (2092) Agrotis puta puta (Shuttle Shaped Dart) with 15 insects caught, along with 8965 (2465) Tyta luctuosa (The Four-spotted) x1, 9100 (2415) Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder) x1, 7725 Menophora japygiaria x2 both quite different looking, 9433 (2389) Paradrina clavipalpis (Pale Mottled Willow) x4, 8059 (1689) Scopula marginepunctata (Mullein Wave) x1, 6496 Evergestis isatidalis x2, 9207 (2214) Cucullia chamomillae (Chamomile Shark) x1. 
The only micro was a single 3264 Isophrictis anthemidella. The weather is looking a lot more settled next week so hoping to start running the light again a couple of times a week at least.
Cucullia chamomillae (Chamomile Shark).
I have a couple that I am going to have to send down to Moth expert Penny Hale for her to check and 1 I hope she will be able to put a name to.
Isophrictis anthemidella.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

From the sun Terrace.

After catching up with the days tasks Jayne and I sat out on the back terrace for a meal and then we spent some time getting a few rays and reading. After a while I was spending more time scanning the Olives with the bins and watching a very nice 1st summer male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which drifted up and down a couple of times. A flock of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki)  that were calling distantly to start with, closed in before the whole flock flew up and over our neighbors house and into the Olives on the other side of the road, there were at least 90 birds which for this time of the year was a large flock indeed. My first Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) seen from the house this year flew past at eye level and then spent some time drinking in the swimming pool a few doors up the hill. Other birds seen included Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Several butterflies were also seen in the barranco including Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) but most surprising was a very smart Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus) which did a couple of circuits of the fig tree before disappearing out over the olives. Not bad for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of Cava.