Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Near Grazalema and Montejaque, Cadiz Province.

Our last day with Sue and Sam.
We had a nice steady start and after breakfast Sue and I headed to a site not far from the house where she had seen Heart-leaved Serapias (Serapias
cordigera) earlier in the year, we arrived and could hear and saw a singing Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). Insects included Aculepeira ceropegia a spider found in the grass below the Oak trees, Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus lavatherae) and Thread-winged Lacewing (Nemoptera bipennis). We reached the scrubby area and Sue showed me the dead spikes of the Orchids in amongst a great many Summer Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivalis) plants, in the same area we also saw some overwith Iris filifolia, Cynara baetica and Armeria villosa ssp villosa. After checking the site out we headed back to the house and then later I headed out to Steve's Bridge near Grazalema to spend a while looking for Dragonflies before Sue, Jayne and Sam joined me later. I arrived and went straight into the water just down stream from the bridge and immediately I started to see good numbers of Orange-winged Dropwings (Trithemis kirbyi) which in recent years have colonised southern Spain from North Africa, several Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), a Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) which just bolted through the site and a couple of Small Pincertails (Onychogomphus forcipatus) one of which had very recently emerged. In the water there were some very large Iberian Barbel (Luciobarbus comizo) along with several species of smaller fish. Birds included Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica /
 Hirudo daurica), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
After about an hour and a half Jayne, Sue and Sam turned up and we all headed out to another site over towards Montejaque, we parked on the roadside and walked along a track to a pool through some very beautiful Cork Oak woodland to a largish area of water in amongst the woods. As soon as we went through the gate we started to find butterflies including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Cardinal Fritillary (argynnis Pandora), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla). Along the way we also had some interesting wildflowers, the commonest were the yellow form of Pistorinia brevifolia, Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Candle-stick bugloss (Echium boissieri), Mediterranean lineseed (Bellardia trixago) and many more. Once we were up by the pool we started to check out a small damp patch near the dam and we soon found lots of very young Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) along with hundreds of Tadepoles which unfortunutally looked to be doomed as the water was drying up fast. We continued on along the lake side where we had good views of several Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) as they ran through the woods. Here we also had a good number of Hawfinches, a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra). The only Drogonflies we saw were several male Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum) which spent most of their time on longs around the margins, also seen were several Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) and a couple of immature Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita).  At the far end of the lake we checked out a very sandy gully looking for more Amphibians but all we found were several more Natterjacks. Butterflies included Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi), Meadow Brown,  Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris). We eventually made our way back to the car and drove the short distance down to the bar near the Ronda road where we had a drink before saying thanks and goodbye to Sue and Sam before heading off home.

Photographs from the top: Aculepeira armida, Small Pincertails (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Epaulet Skimmers
 (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis), Pistorinia brevifolia and Sue, Sam and Jayne in the Oaks.

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