Saturday 26 May 2012

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Checking on the Orchids.

Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini).
Jayne and I had a quick look at the disused Quarry area on Sierra de Loja where 10 days or so ago I had found a single spike of the hybrid between Ophrys picta and Ophrys tenthredinifrea and to get the plant fully checked out we needed a single flower as a herbarium sample. I arrived at the site and found the plant along with some Pyramidal (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Small Woodcock Orchids (Ophrys picta) but all of them including the hybrid were passed their best, so the sample was not going to be great.
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
In the area we heard Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which was well hidden in the scrub on the hillside, saw a displaying Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus).
Centaurea prolongoi.
Butterflies seen included Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) and Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines). Some wildflowers were still in good condition but a lot of the vegetation was starting to dry out very early.
Centaurea boissieri.
Plants included Centaurea prolongoi, Centaurea boissieri, Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Dianthus Pungens, Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Barbary Nut (Gynandiris sisyrinchium), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), White Flax (Linum suffruticosum), Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascene) and Omphalodes commutate.

Friday 25 May 2012

Arroya Marin, Salinas and above Trabuco, Malaga Province

Birds, Butterflies (21 species), Orchids and a few Dragon's (one new for my Spanish list).

Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) female.

After taking Jayne and her friend Carole to Trabuco where they were joining a small group of friends to do some craft work I went over to Arroya Marin near Archidona to do some birding.
As soon as I entered the valley the trees along the river rang with the song of Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), there seemed to be a bird in every other tree. Common Cuckoos (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) were also heard almost continually during the morning and the fluting song and cat like scolding of the Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) was also a regular sound. Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) were also seen and heard from the areas of Oak trees, while a Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) seemed to be perched on every dead branch that I looked at all along the drive.
Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba).
I stopped by the first bridge hoping to see some dragonflies, except for a fleeting glimpse of a small insect which disappeared over the treetops I saw none, butterflies on the other hand were everywhere, over the grassland and broom scrub above the track there were lots of Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellows (Colias crocea), Small Coppers (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heaths (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus) and a couple of Scarce Swallowtails (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli).
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
A Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) was joined down on the pebble beach by an immature White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), the song of a Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) coming from the stream side scrub made a change from the Nightingales and in the trees above the river both Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) were seen and heard. Further along the river the story was the same, no dragons but lots of butterflies, this time I added Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Common (Polyommatus icarus), Holly (Celastrina argiolus) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
Iberian Orchid (Ophrys vernixia).
On the back above the stream there were a couple of spikes of Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) where last year there had been dozens, a very late spike of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) and the find of the day two spikes of the rare Iberian Orchid (Ophrys vernixia). In the trees a large family party of Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) were feeding amongst the leaves while a small family of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) was seen just perched in the dead upper branches of a distant pine tree. On my walk back to the car I picked up Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) and then surprisingly heard a calling Eurasian Scops Owl (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops) I also heard another later near the entrance to the site.
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
I then started to drive back to the start of the track stopping several times on the way, the first stop was by a dead tree where a cracking Woodchat Shrike was perched singing.
After a while he moved on to be replace by a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), then a singing Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and finally and probably most surprisingly by a male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) which sang for around 2 second, allowed me to line up the scope and then flew off. A little further on I stopped again this time amongst the Oak trees along the stream hoping to get some good views of the singing from every bush Nightingales but they must have a built in sense that tells them when a birder has got his camera ready.
Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea).
I could hear them right infromt of me but could I see one could I heck. I did get nice flight views of the male Golden Oriole and a female came and sat in the tree right in front of me but as usual just behind enough branches to make the shot useless. Along here I also added Bee (Ophrys apifera) and Pyramidal (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) to the Orchid list and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) to the butterflies. My last stop was near the weigh bridge at the start of the track were I added a few new species to the day list including a fine Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and as a nice finish to the trip long the track a pair of Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which soared over head calling.
Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale).
I them moved on to a site near to the village of Salinas on the border between Malaga and Granada Provinces where I visited a small spring feed pool in an area of agricultural land. The first birds seen were a pair of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) which were breeding in a derelict old Cortijo along with several pairs of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). On the pool I found a pair of patrolling Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator), several Broad Scarlets (Crocothemis erythraea) and lots of the dainty little Iberian Bluetail’s (Ischnura graellsii). A little way along the track there is a small ditch with a small amount of running water in it which is surrounded by nice marginal weeds, in here I had a new species for my Spanish Dragonfly list, there were dozens of Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale) slowly flicking around in amongst the Water Speedwells.
Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale).
Then a male Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) landed on a stick on the far side of the ditch and this was the point at which I made the only mistake of the day in thinking that a nice solid bit of grass would give me a stepping point over to the far side. Wrong, before I knew it I was up to my knee in some none to pleasant smelling mud and to make matters worse I the lost my balance and ended up with the other leg in a similar situation (this situation may remind some old birding friends of an iccident at Tichwell but with an Orchid on that occasion)! After dragging my self out of the slop I went back to the pool and had a wash down before carrying on to another small pool nearby, here the only new species were a single Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and a group of fly through European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Mercury Bluet (Coenagrion mercuriale).
My last stop of the day was in the pinewoods above Trabuca, by the time I reached this point it was hot so I had not expected to see much so it was good to add a few more species, these included Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida).
On the drive down a medium sized Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) was seen on the track and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) were added to the days long butterfly list. I then pick Jayne and Carole up and we made our way home.

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moth Trapping.

Earias albovenosana.

The nights are getting warmer and the Moths more numerous but still not large numers, this may partly be due to me just using the 15W actinic trap and not the 125MV.
5626 (1416) Pyralis lienigialis.
I still managed a few new species included 5626 (1416) Pyralis lienigialis, 8490 (1818) Eupthecia irriguata ssp. eriguata (Marbled Pug) and 10457 Earias albovenosana.
Eupthecia irriguata ssp. eriguata (Marbled Pug).
Regulars included dozens of 5624 Pyralis obsoletalis, 5742 (1451a) Etiella zinckenella, 6208 Euchromius vinculellus, 8904 (2460) Dysgonia algira (Passenger), 9350 (2395) Synthymia fixa (The Gold Wing), 9425 Caradrina proxima, 8186 (1714) Idaea degeneraria (Portland Ribbon Wave), 8145 Idaea manicaria, 6700 (1399) Dolicharthria punctalis, 0469 Crassicornella agenjoi and 4x 6860 (1990) Hyles livornica (Striped Hawk-moth).
Etiella zinckenella.
Euchromius vinculellus.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moth Trapping.

Pyrausta aurata.
The temperature was a bit better last night at +11 and this meant a few more moths than a few nights ago when it only managed to stay at +5. 
9350 (2395) Synthymia fixa (The Gold Wing).
There were a couple of species that were new for the list but they still need to be named, these came along with some species which I do not record regularly including 9350 (2395) Synthymia fixa (The Gold Wing) x1, 8904 (2460) Dysgonia algira (Passenger) x1 and 7581 Gnopharmia stevenaria x 2.
8904 (2460) Dysgonia algira (Passenger).
Other more regular Moths were 6719 (1398) Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer) x 10+, 1525 (0464) Plutella xylostella (Diamond backed Moth) x 5+, 3036 Stibaromacha ratella x3, 9370 (2400) Heliothis armigera (Scarce Bordered Straw), 3264 Isophrictis anthemidella x 5+, 4350 Cochylis epilinana, 5144 (1261) Cydia pomonella (Codling Moth), 5614 Synaphe antennalis, 6604 (1361) Pyrausta aurata x 10+, 8965 (2465) Tyta luctuosa (The Four-spotted) x5+, 9100 (2415) Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder) x1 and 10528 (2053) Coscinia chrysocephala x 3.
9370 (2400) Heliothis armigera (Scarce Bordered Straw).