Friday 23 August 2013

Rivers North of Malaga, Malaga Province.

A return to the Rivers and same rubbish results with the Camera.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
After the very disappointing days photography back on the 21st I decided to go down to the River again and try and get some more shots of the Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) and Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae) which I had seen with Steve Jones a couple of days earlier. I arrived early and as before there was very little moving but as the temperature came up the Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) number climbed rapidly and then the Cascader turned up and again it performed admirably but as before the **********************ing Camera would not focus and I got the same ************ results, highly frustrating to put it politely.
The Pincertail did not help matters by just making one flypast a disappearing up stream not to be seen again!!
Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) female egg laying.
Anyway on a slightly better note I got some nice shots of a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) which landed on some stream side mint plants before starting to walk back towards the car. As I reached the Cascader stretch of water a pair flew passed me in tandem and dropped down into the same spot as they had a few days earlier so I followed. After a few seconds the male came up and I found the female Oviposting from a clump of grass straight into the fast flowing water of a side channel. I managed to get some shots of this which made the day a little more worth while.
During my few hours on site I also saw several Common Waxbills (Estrilda astrild), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), 6 Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
Argiope trifasciata.
Other Dragonflies seen included Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii).

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Rivers North of Malaga, Malaga Province.

A new species for my Dragonfly list but a bad day with the camera.
Steve, Lynn and Adam, Day Eight.

Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) taken by Steve.
Jayne, Steve, Lynn, Adam and I all set off for Malaga in our poor little Ford Fiesta, the car did far better than expected up hill with five passengers on board. We reached the centre of the City where Steve and I dropped the others off before heading North to check out a couple of the rivers near Cartamar. We made our first stop on one of the smaller streams but very nearly gave up on it straight away as there was a large quantity of raw sewage flowing in to it and as you can image this is not great for any wildlife let alone Dragonflies. We persisted and moved a considerable distance up stream passed the out flow, the sewage had obviously been flowing into this beautiful stream for some time (I had smelt it last summer) and nothing has been done about it which I wish I could say surprised me but it does not.
Wish Steve had told me he was taking this as I could have pulled the gut in a tad.
It was still early and the walk along the river produced nothing dragon wise for quite a distance but eventually we started to see a few Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Broad Scarlets (Crocothemis erythraea) and the first Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata). After a considerable distance we came to a short run of water which was flowing more rapidly and look spot on for the uncommon Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) and with in 30 seconds we had located a beautiful male insect cruising up and down a short stretch of the river. This male turned out to be tolerant beyond belief and hung from some Iris leaves several time for quite long periods giving Steve the chance to take some belting shots and for me to totally screw up every shot I took. For some reason my camera's just would not  focus on this insect how ever hard I tried and however many times.
 it perched. Whilst we were having a great time with the Cascader I notice a Pincertail fly in and land on a stem just above the water a few feet to our left, I glanced down and immediately thought that looks pale and nudged Steve and he had pretty much the same reaction. After a few seconds we both realised that we were watching a lifer for both of us, a male Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae) we both managed to take a quick shot before it flew off. Later Steve spotted the Pincertail on a small rock a little further up stream and got some stunning shots of it before it disappeared for good. Whilst we were at this site we picked up quite a few bird species including Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and both Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). Other dragons seen at this spot and during the walk back included at least 4 more Ringed Cascaders, clouds of Broad Scarlet's, Blue / Common (Anax imperator) and Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii).
Male Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae) taken by Steve.
Once the Cascader ad fully warmed up it did not land again, Steve did get some nice flight shots but after a while we moved on to the Rio Grande a few KM back towards Malaga. Here we walked several likely looking channels in the river but only managed to add a single male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) to the days list. Birds were also plentiful and we got good views of lots of Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Our last stop was on the Rio Campanillas where at a really scruffy spot under a bridge on the edge of the town w had several species including Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) which was a new species for the day list. Other species included Lesser Emperor, Broad Scarlet, Epaulet Skimmer and Violet Dropwing.
From here we headed Back into the City and met up with the others before having a run back home.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

More Butterflies, Birds and endemic Wildflowers.
Steve, Lynn and Adam, Day Seven.

Ptilotrichum spinosum.
Lynn, Steve, Adam and I got up early and made our way up the Sierra Nevada for a days Butterfly and Alpine Accentor hunting.
Snow Wave.
On the way through the fields near the house we started the list off with Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), a fly over Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and once we were out on the Motorway we added Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron).
Once we were up in the hills we started make our way towards the Albergue de Universitario where we parked and sorted out the tickets for the minibus up to the stop just below Veleta. On the way up in the bus we picked up a few species on the road side including Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Once we were off the bus we made our way along a path that ran out below the road to the summit, along hear we saw Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and after a while we found the first target, a very nice Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) which was feeding on an area of snow.
Steve in yet another dodgy to position.
In the same area we picked up several species of wildflower including Eryngium glacialeEryngium bourgatii, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Nevada Mullien (Verbascum nevadense), Silene boryi subsp tejedensis, Linaria aeruginea subsp. nevadensis and Erigeron frigidus.
Later we caught the bus back down to the Albergue and then went for a walk along the track out to the head of the Barranco de San Juan, in the car park we picked up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), several Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea) butterflies and lots of Carpentor Bee's (Xylocopa violacea).
Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa.

We started the walk out from just above the barrier and quickly started to see lots more Black Satyr's along with Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and a little further along the first of two late but newly emerged Apollo's (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis). 
We steadily made our way out along the track until we reached the area of borreguillies, on the way we saw Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia) and several of the rare Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
Plants on and around the rocks included Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada), Sideritis glacialis, Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum vicentei ssp lainzii) and Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea var nevadensis). On the borreguillies we soon found some beautiful Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa, Gentiana boryi, Comastoma tenellum, Starry Saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris subsp robusta) and Viola palustris subsp palustris
Gentiana boryi.
Butterflies and Birds were also on site, new butterfly species included a dark female Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea Celadussa), Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus hypochionus) and on the bird front we picked up Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and a distant Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Once we had checked out this area we made out way back to the car and had some lunch on the far end of the car park before dropping down into the town and taking one of the tracks back out onto the skiing slopes. On a damp area just as we started the walk there were dozens of Black Satyr's, several Silver-spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Grayling (Hipparchia semele).
Comastoma tenellum.
Further along the track we saw a very nice Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxer montensis), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Along the same area we had good views of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). Time had moved on so we started to make our way on down the hill and then back to the house.
Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone).

Sunday 18 August 2013

Arroyo Vilano and Balsa de Riegedor, Granada Province.

A couple of new species of Dragonfly for my Granada list.
Steve, Lynn and Adam, Day Six.

Water Measure (Hydrometridae).
Lynn, Adam and Jayne all headed off up to Granada to go to the Sunday market whist Steve and I predictably ended up wading in a river near the house looking for Dragons. We started off at a spot where Steve, Lynn and Adam had been a few days earlier and whilst they were there they Jammed in on a couple of species which I still need for my Granada list but it was quite early and nothing was moving so we continued on up the valley a bit and found another good looking site. We parked on the side of a track a little further up the valley and started to check out a small pool which had been formed by a small trickle of water coming from the main river. Straight away we had the first of many teneral Orange-winged Dropwings (Trithemis kirbyi) most of which were spending their time amongst the vegetation a little way from the water. Further on along the stream we saw Long-tailed (Lampides boeticus), Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous) and African Grass Blues (Nina esmaltada / Zizeeia knysna), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
In the shallow we had loads of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a small number of the very small Water Measures (Hydrometridae). On our way back we saw a couple more species of dragon including Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), a female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis). Birds included a couple Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus).
We moved slightly further up stream and walked another stretch of the Arroya and this time the morning was starting to warm up and we saw several more species including Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and lots of  White Featherlegs (Platycnemis latipes), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). Whilst here we had some cracking views of several more Golden Orioles, a Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and a fly over Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos). We also saw a nice looking fly which I am still looking to put a name to (later identified as Exoprosopa jacchus).
Steve photographing a butterfly.
From here we headed in to Granada to have some lunch with Jayne, Lynn and Adam and then headed back towards Huétor but stopped off at Balsa de Rigedor on the way to have a look at the dragons. On the water we had some good views of Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). 
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) male.
On the Dragon front we had cracking views of Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria), Violet Dropwing, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Red-veined Darter, Broad Scarlet, Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Common Blue Damselfly and along the side amongst the brambles a few White Featherlegs
Other birds includes Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and 50+ Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
We then returned to our first site where we started to look for the Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) which Steve had seen a couple of days earlier and after a while we found the insect on a quieter shallow length of water. In the same area we had good views of Orange-winged Dropwings, Iberian Blue-tail, Violet Dropwing, Broad Scarlet, Epualet Skimmer and Blue-eye
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
Birds seen here included another Golden Eagle and Purple Heron plus a elegant Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta). From here we headed back to the house and spent another evening on the terrace looking through the days shots and having a dring whilst watching the local Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis).