Thursday 20 June 2013

Salinas and near Trabuco, Malaga Province.

An afternoon of Dragonfly chasing.

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
Jayne was going over to the craft group meeting at Trabuco so I went with her and dropped her off at the bar before heading to a small pool near Salinas just off the side of the A92 motorway. I arrived and on the main pool I soon had good views of a very nice male Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), quickly followed by a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma). I then had a look on a small water flush which ran off the fields and along the road and within seconds had increased the Dragon by finding several Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum).
Birds included Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Moorhen  (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). In and around the trees which ran along the stream I saw several False Ilex Hairstreaks (Satyrium esculi), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus) and a Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli). I then moved further along the stream and located a male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), several Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a couple of nicely marked Viperine Snakes (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura). From here I headed back towards Trabuco but called at a pool on the way, the track to the site was in very bad condition so I had to park and walk the last couple of hundred yards through the Oak woodland. On the way up I had several more False Ilex Hairstreaks,Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) and lots of Spanish Gatekeepers (Pyronia bathsheba).
Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum).
When I reached the pool I was pleased and surprised to see that the water level was very high and the size of the pool had increased greatly. This did not make getting around the surrounds easily so I took to wading and was soon out amongst good numbers of Dainty Damselflies (Coenagrion scitulum) which were on top of a great many of the reed stems. In the same area there were a couple of cruising Lesser Emperor's (Anax parthenope), several more Black-tailed Skimmers and some very bright male Broad Scarlets all of which I was pleased to see. A couple of moments later a couple of medium sized Viperine Snakes (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura) shot into the water where I was standing and one swam between my legs, which was something I was less happy to see, in total I saw 30+ of these snakes during my walk around the lake and along with these there were hundreds of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi)
False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi).
On and over the water there were good numbers of birds which included Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Turtle Dove (Tórtola europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli). In the same area I also saw Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and a very nice tandem pair of Migrant Spreadwings (Lester barbarus).

Monday 17 June 2013

El Purche, Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

An interesting day in the hills with a new Dragonfly species of my Granada Province List.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).
After taking Jayne into the City of Granada I headed up the main road towards the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, may first stop was in the Pine Woods near the El Purche turning. I parked on the roadside and headed in to the woods nearby, straight away I could hear both Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) over head and a little further up the slopes there was a cracking male Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) singing from the top of a small stunted Pine.
Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura).
Butterflies were around in good numbers and at the start of the track there were a few Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri) which were sitting nicely on a leafless rose bush, also in the same area there were swarms of the pretty orange/ brown day flying Moth the Drab Looper (Minoa murinata) along with a few of what looked like the Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata) Moth.
Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri).
A little further along the track I came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) which had smaller numbers of Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major) mixed in which was the first time I had noted a mixed flock here in Spain, something that is very common in the UK. In a more open area the wildflowers were still doing quite well and included Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Pine-cone Knapweed (Leuzea Conifera), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and Berberis hispanica, Polygala boissieri and Paeonia coriacea.
Libelloides baeticus.
More butterflies started to appear and over the next few minutes I added Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
Libelloides baeticus.
From here I dropped down into the Pines again and headed down hill towards the road, from here I could hear a couple of Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea) singing above me, a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus). Once I was back on the road I found a nice clump of the beautiful Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura) which were growing on the roadside. I wondered back up to the car and then moved a little further along the road and took one of the many tracks down to a cracking area of hawthorn studded grassland. There were a huge number of Black-veined Whites on the wing along with really good numbers of Marsh Fritillaries and Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris). Spent a very enjoyable couple of hours wondering around this site, during this time I saw two species of Owl-fly, the one Libelloides baeticus was named but the other I am still trying to sort.  
False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi).
Whilst walking around I heard and saw Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis). 
Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi).
Butterfly numbers were also increasing and I added Grayling (Hipparchia semele), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Mallow / False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae / tripolinus), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). 
Migrant Spreadwing (Lester barbarus).
I returned to the car and dropped down to a wet flush down in the valley below this site, I again spent quite a while searching this area looking for Orchid species. I quickly found the first of several hundred Fragrant Bug Orchids (Orchis coriophora subsp fragrans) which covered this area of damp grassland. Along the small stream I came across a couple of Migrant Spreadwings (Lester barbarus) which were a new Dragon species for my Granada list, along side these beauties there were a small number of Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and a single Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). Butterflies included Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis Pandora), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and loads more Marsh Fritillaries and Small Skipper.

I had 5 hours in the hills and had planned on going to at least three more spots but I had found so many species at this site I had run out of time and had to return to the city to meet Jayne and have a late lunch.