Wednesday 5 June 2013

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A day in two places for Pam and John.
(Pam and John, Day Four).

One of the many wet flushes at 2500 meters.
For the first time the four of us set off for Granada on the way we picked up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). We reached the city where Pam and Jayne were going to spend the day in the city looking around the shops and checking out some of the museums while John and I headed up the road towards the Ski resort of Sierra Nevada. On the way up to our first stop at the barrier we had a female Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) fly across the road in front of us which made fora good start. We arrived at the parking area near the big green military building before starting to check out the rocky areas between then the large slabs of snow, the first species as usual to be seen were Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), a couple of males were seen and heard singing from the crags below. Next came Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica),  Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and then came the species we had come for.
Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia).
We had distant views of a Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis), which was a lifer for John, even though the bird was distant we could see the main identification details. From here we dropped down to a point in the town and walked out on to one of the tracks on to the ski slopes, on the way out we had good views of two singing male Dunnocks (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) the one bird was seen to accompany a female bird to what appeared to be a nest site. Also along here we had at least two displaying male Common Whitethroats (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). We retraced our steps with out seeing a single butterfly species, once we got back to the car we headed down the hill to the start of the old road down to Guejar-sierra and Pino's Genil.
Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis).
We stopped at a grassland area after a few Kms and checked the area finding Small White (Artogeia rapae), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi) and then we had a surprise Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia) which was a pain to get shots of as it was spending all it's time chasing off the Iberian Scarce Swallowtail
 Birds included Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius). In amongst the grassland and under the pine trees there were plenty of wildflowers and a few Orchids including Berberis hispanica, Carduus granatensis, Onosma tricerosperma subsp granatensis, Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Tragopogon pratensis, Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and both Southern Early Purple (Orchis olbiensis) and  Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei).
Berberis hispanica.
From here we dropped down to the area near the Seminario Diocesano where we picked up Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus). New butterflies included Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) and Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri). A little bit further down we stopped on a sharp bend with step banks, here we located a single Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma) but it remained well out of the range of the camera. We stopped further down the hill on the side of the rio Genil where in the passed we had seen large numbers of butterflies but numbers were low as the banks had been washed away and there were not as many areas for the insects to collect there minerals. 
Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata).
We did however see Mallow / False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae / tripolinus), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia). Near the valley just a short way down the hill we walked down to the river and scanned from a concrete bridge over the Genil but we did not see the hoped for Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) but on the track on the far side of the river we saw Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) and Dusky Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lycaon). 
John along the Rio Genil.
Our last stop of the day was at the dam end of the Embalse de Canales where we saw Jackdaw, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). From here we went down into the city where we met up with Pam and Jayne who had had a great stroll around the city and then headed back to the house.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A day on my favourite part of my local patch.
(Pam and John, Day Three).

Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia).
We left the house and on the way down to the motorway we started to pick up a few speices including House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). Once we were on the hill we started to pick up some woodland species as we passed through the Pine woods heading for the turning area, they included Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) plus a couple of Red Squirrels (Sclurus vulgaris) which chased eah other around the trees.
Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia).
We parked at the turning point and walked up the track to the small disused quarry, on the way we had cracking views of a family party of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), several adult and young Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and in the air there were good numbers of Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) all feeding low over the mediterranean scrub. Wildflowers along here included Centaurea boissieri, Linaria anticaria, Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta). Butterflies had also started to fly and they included Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
Centaurea boissieri.
Up at the quarry we scanned the cliffs but there was no sign of the Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), we did however see Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
From here we returned back to the car and started to make our way along the crags and parked around three quarters of the way up and started to check the Hawthorn scrub below the road, we soon had good views of both Orphean (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), with the former sitting almost in the open while it preened.
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini).
In the same area we also had views of Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and the first of many Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae). We moved on up the crags to the bend at the top where we again stopped and checked what was about, here we added our first Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). From here we made our way across the mountain towards Charca del Negro, on the way we saw many more Black-eared Wheatears, another pair of Black Wheatears and Thekla's.
Linaria anticaria.
Once we reached the Charca we had very good views of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and passing Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus). On the pool a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) was holding territory and was chasing off a couple of Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) which were also on the same pool which was covered in Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus). Here we also saw several large tadpoles of the Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl), we eventually found an adult Salamander but it quickly disappeared into the weeds. We were looking for the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) but unlike the last few visits we did not find the bird near the pool so we headed further on around to the area of crags passed the Goat Caves where we stopped twice but did not see the thrush so we started to retrace our steps but almost as soon as we turned around we saw a cracking male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush sat on a large rock right on the side of the road, we had good views through the bins and as I started to get out of the car to set up the scope the bird flew off up on to the crags and was not seen again.
Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
On the way back down we stopped at a couple of places and had very nice views of a couple of Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) on the fields near the goat cave, a species we do not see up in this area very often and halfway down we had good views of a pair of Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata). In this area we also added a few butterflies including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Cardinal Fritillary (argynnis Pandora), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra).
From here we headed down the hill and along the Motorway to a site near Moraleda where we worked our way along the tracks out in the agricultural areas, during the drive we picked up Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a pair of Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which were breeding in a tree on the site. On the high ground we around the Cortijo we saw a couple of Swallowtails (Papilio machaon) hill topping.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Our last stop on the way back was at Balsa de Reigido on the side of the A92 where we were looking for dragonflies, Birds included Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). Insects included Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Blue / Common Emperor, Red-veined Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum). From here we headed back to the house and did the notes up on the terrace.

Monday 3 June 2013

Sierra Huétor, Granada Province.

Butterflies in the lower Sierra's.
(Pam and John, Day Two).

Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
The three of us set off towards and then passed Granada on the A92 heading for the beautiful Sierra Huétor. We came off the motorway just at a junction signed Los Mimbres and parked nearby before strolling off into the pine woods that surround the site, here we were looking for Orchids and Butterflies. Almost as soon as we started off we found the first of a great many over with spikes of Dense-flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata), a couple of Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) still in good condition and several large spikes of Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis) which again were still in a reasonable state.
Orchis Cazorlensis.
In the trees above us we could hear and see Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla). We walked further into the woods but failed to find any of the Orchis Cazorlensis plants I had seen here with friend Juan Perez a couple of years earlier, we did however see our first butterflies of the morning which included Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
A view of Sierra de Huétor.
We continued searching the area for a while but in the end decided to head back towards the car, just as we got back to the road we stumbled up on our target Orchid way out of the area where we had seen them before. We found just a single spike of this beautiful plant growing in a bear area covered in pine needles. Once we were back on the track we saw another Spanish Festoon which was quickly followed by a very nice Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
Along the verges here there were also lots of wild flowers including Bellardia trixago, Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), Linum campanulatum, White Flax (Linum suffruticosum), Pale Flax (Linum bienne), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum).
Pale Flax (Linum bienne).
From here we jumped back on to the A92 and continued on for a short distance before exiting and coming back on our selves to a spot called Venta del Molinillo where we parked and walked along the Prado Negro, right at the entrance we spent some time scanning the Poplar trees and rocks. In the trees we could see and hear Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
Up on the rocks we soon had Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), plus in the air there were good numbers of both Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica). We followed the river where we could but unlike last year when I visited Dragnflies were few and far between and we only managed to see a single male Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) during the whole walk.
Butterflies on the other hand were very numerous, they included Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi), Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
From here we drove further into the Sierra and paid a visit to one of the recreation areas where there is a nice woodland walk from the back of the car park, we saw less butterflies here that expected but we did added Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes). In a damp flush and under the pine trees we found quite a few spikes of Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei), Narrow-leaved Cistis (Cistis monspliensis), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum) and Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum).
From here we drove through the park hoping to get something to eat at the venta in the woods near the aboritum but when we arrived we found to be closed so we ended up dropping down into the town below where we got a very nice meal before retracing our way back up into the hills again. We stopped on the roadside half way back up after seeing a fine male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) sitting on a sign post. here we checked out the butterflies and soon had Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba).
Pam and John.
From here we moved back to the area around the Venta where we walked a couple of the woodland trails, birds included Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). On the walk we also added some new butterfly species to the day list including Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). Our last stop before heading back to the house was on the track again near the disused quarry, here we added Grayling (Hipparchia semele), a single Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius) and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum).
Back at the house we had nice views of a flock of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) whilst we sat up on the terrace sorting out the notes.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Laguna Herrera, Mollina, Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Dulce, Malaga Province.

A dash around the wetlands.
(Pam and John, Day One).

Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
Pam and John had arrived late afternoon back on Friday after spend quite a while touring areas further North in their Motor-home. They had taken Saturday as an unwind day and joined us on the terrace during the evening for the June meeting of the Good Fork Club, the meal went very well and all 11 of us enjoyed our selves.
So on the Sunday morning the three of us headed off West towards Laguna Herrera near to Antequera and started the birding, we turned off the main road on to the track and stopped straight away when Pam liked the light as he shone through some of the wildflowers. John and I we soon started to pick up some birds for the list, we soon located House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica). Pam had her photo's so we moved on to the first part of the laguna where we set up the scopes and scanned the water and margins, we quickly located Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and a small flock of feeding Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro).
We checked out the field on the opposite side of the track but apart from a small strip of water on the far side it had dried out, but on this strip we saw more Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and added about a dozen or so Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). Also in the thistle beds around this field and along the stream we had Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which was quartering a distant field. We moved a little further along the track and parked next to the barn about a third of the way down, along the side of the barn in the reeds a Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was singing and on the water we found a pair of Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) with three youngster in tow, a cracking male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) which looked as though he was watching over a sitting femail bird, two pairs of beautiful summer plumage Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and a flight of a dozen or so Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). On the margins we saw hundreds of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), a few Iberian Blue-tail's (Ischnura graellsii) and further out on the water we saw a few Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope), also amongst the water vegetation we saw and heard lots of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). Wildflowers included lots of Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Spanish Mallow (Lavatera trimestris) and Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis).
Spanish Mallow (Lavatera trimestris).
Again we moved on and parked at the far end of the pool, in the air we picked up flights of Swifts passing over which included both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid's (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), also in the air we added Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and a male Montagu's Harrier. Just a little further along the track we stopped and scanned the wires which cross through the Olive Groves, sat on the wires we watched a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), several Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), an Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and three European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were hunting insects from the height of the wires.
Species of Delphinium.
We turned left a little further on and passed along the track through the fields heading back to the main Antequera road, on the way we added Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a single male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis). We went back out on to the motorway and headed to Mollina, at a spot out in the fields we spent some time watching the locally rare Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes). At the spot we had cracking views of a singing male and a female who followed the male off into the nearby fields, whilst we were watching this pair another male could be seen singing from an electric cable a few hundred meters away. In the same area we picked up several butterfly species including Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
We went back through Mollina and then to an area of Pine woodland on the outskirts of Humilladero near the camp site where we parked and started to look for some more butterflies and we were soon adding speices including Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Mallow / False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae / tripolinus), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus) and Large White (Pieris brassicae). Birds included Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). Wildflowers here included Cleonia lusitanica and a species of Delphinium which I am still checking out.
Our next stop was at Fuente de Piedra where we parked and went to scan the main lagoon from the view point behind the visitors centre, here we had views of some of the twenty odd thousand Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), along with Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), many more Gull-billed Terns and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). We moved around to the hides to the rear of the centre but we saw nothing new bird wise but we did get some nice views of a young Red Fox (Vulpus vulpus) as it skulked around the tamarisks, Large White (Pieris brassicae), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi) and a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator). From here we went back around to the car and headed towards the view point on the western side of the lagoon which looks distantly over the breeding colony for the Greater Flamingo's.
Cynara cardunculus.
We did not see anything new here but there were good numbers of Gull-billed Terns, Flamingo's, Common Pochard, Black-necked Grebes and Shelduck. Our next stop was at Laguna Dulce where we started off by scanning the still full lake and soon added Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) to the day list, along with these we had lots more Eurasian Coots, Great Crested Grebes, Common Pochards, Black-headed Gulls and several White-headed Ducks. In front of the hide we had good views of Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum). Once we had checked this area we went on the track to the rear of the site and checked the back of the pool where there are a few patches of water, here we located a Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). Butterflies here included Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia). From here we started to make our way home, on the way we saw a nice stand of Cynara cardunculus on the road side which we stopped and photographed, once back we sat up on the terrace and looked for the local Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) but they remained elusive.