Sunday, 1 June 2014

Jimena de la Frontera, Rio Guadalmansa, and Gold course channel, Cadiz and Malaga Provinces.

Day two of the Dragonfly trip and what a day.

After wimping out and sleeping in the bungalow we got up feeling much better for a decent nights kip and made our way back down to the parking area and then made the walk back out to the site for the Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) and did the same as the morning before and started to check all the bushes and vegetation around the pool and on the opposite bank. On the way out we again heard and saw a few nice species including Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli). Steve came up with a good find, not the Cruiser but a fine female Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene) which was sheltering under a small bush which made getting shots harder but we whooped up the ISO and started. After getting the Spectre on film I went back to the main pool and after a while picked up the Cruiser as it stared its day patrolling of the banks. As yesterday it went up the pool and came back down the pool but did not land so we again started to take some in flight shots, mine were not good but Steve pulled off some crackers, Whilst watching the Cruiser we also saw Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Blue / Common (Anax imperator) and Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) but Dragonfly numbers were much much lower than yesterday. In the same area I also had views of family parties of both Bonelli's Warbler and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), along with Iberian Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Ibérico / Phylloscopus brehmii), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus). In the areas along the denser parts of the river I had views of Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanica), Summer Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus) and back at the pool Steve had a butterfly lifer when a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) flew through the clearing.
At around lunch time the Splendid Cruiser started to change its flight pattern and began to fly up amongst the bushes and then to our amazement landed in a broom plant on the opposite side of the river. Within seconds we were in up to just above our wastes and were across and out the other side and getting some good shots of this stunning insect. Happy with the distant shots we tried to get in a little closer so that we could bring the Tamron 90mms into action but he was having none of it and was off and disappeared from view. A couple of minutes later we found out why the dragon had gone for cover when a very large black cloud came over the hill and it started to thunder, the rain held off whilst we walked back to the car but had started by the time we had reached Jimena where we went back to the bar where we had eaten the night before and had lunch. During lunch it rained heavily so we decided to start and make our way back along the coast towards Malaga and once there we would make a
decision about what to do for that night.
On the way south towards the coast we were flagged down and the road was blocked by a serious head on crash which had taken place on a sharp bend, the next car behind us came over the brow and nearly rammed us so I got out and went back up to the top of the hill and slowed the traffic down. After a few cars the rain again hit us and in the few seconds it took me to get back to the car I was soaked threw to the shreddies. Anyway as we passed the accident we decided to call at a couple of spots on the way but to head back to my place, so we rang Jayne and let her know. 
Our next stop was at Rio Guadalmansa where we parked by the beach and check the pool, we found several Iberian Blue-tails (Ischnura graellsii) including a nice reddish female, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) and Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea). 
We moved on again and made a brief stop at a channel near the Golf course where we saw European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). The only dragons we saw were a teneral Broad Scarlet and Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) before the rains caught us up. At this point we called it a day and drove up towards home for the night but called in for a quick look at a pool near Salinas on the way where we picked up a female Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) but again the rain soon put pay to things.
Once we were at the house we got cleaned up and headed out for something to eat down in Huetor.


Photographs from the top: Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) perched, Splendid Cruiser in flight, female Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene), juvenile Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), singing Iberian Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Ibérico / Phylloscopus brehmii), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) and female Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).

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