Friday, 13 June 2014

Mollina area, Arroyo Marin and Salinas, Malaga Province.

Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies, all in good numbers.

I left the house at around 07:15 and made my way towards some fields where I have had good views of Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) in the past, on the way there I saw Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Collared  (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). Once on site I picked up two female Montagu's followed later by a single male but not the very pale bird seen a week or so ago. Also seen here were Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) before I moved on to the meeting point.
I met up with Bob Wright and Steve and Elena Powell at a bar near Antequera where we had a coffee and a chat before heading out to our first site a few KM along the motorway near Mollina. We were on site 15 mins after leaving the bar and just a few minutes later our first target of the day was under the belt when the Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) flew in and landed on the top of a nearby fence and sang for a while. Whilst we were watching this cracking bird we also had a couple of Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) fly over and we also saw Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). We all got into the one car and parked down a little closer to the fence where the bird had been singing, to start withit stayed on the back fence but we were still getting shots ut then it flew down the fence line and landed on the corner post just a few meters away and sang again. Also seen in amongst the grasses and dried up wildflowers was a Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
After fantastic views and getting the shots we had hoped for we moved on and headed off towards the Arroyo Marin valley where we were hoping for a couple of butterfly and Dragonfly species and we were not disappointed. We arrived and parked on the side of the main track and took a look along a shortish side track down to the river, on some Knapweed flowers we found the first of Steve's target species a nice male Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) which he had seen many times before but not photographed. Also here were a few Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Small  Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) and a Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). A little way along the side track we had nice views of a Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon) which was a new species for Steve. Bob and Elena were watching the birds whilst we were grovelling around on the ground photographing the Skipper and saw Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). Before we reached the river we had also seen Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Holly (Celastrina argiolus) and Common Blues (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus). Once down at the river we picked up a larger Dragonfly having some orientation problems which I thought at first was a dull Common Golden Ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) but when it landed it was quite obviously a Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene). In the same area of river we also had a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), more Small Pincertails and several Copper Demoiselles (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis). Birds included Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). We walked back to the cars and then moved on down the valley, as we approached the first bridge I stopped after having a second Western Spectre flash across the front of the car but it disappeared off up river before the rest of the group saw it. However we did see another new species for Steve's Dragonfly list here when a White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) bobbed passed and away, we also saw Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album), Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) as well as more Hawfinches, Golden Orioles and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Again we moved on and made our last stop at the site near the end of the valley where we walked just a short way along the track and had a wade in the stream. We added a couple more species to my site list, these being Yellow Clubtail (Gomphus simillimus) and Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis). In the same area we also had Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla) and False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi).
Our final stop of the day was on the way back at a small pool near Salinas, here we spent some time checking the margins of the pool and a couple of ditches for Dragons. New species seen whilst there were Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), a teneral female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) and Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens). We also had Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and heard Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) along with lots of Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a single quite large Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura) before we all got a bit hot and bothered and headed for the comfort of the cars and drove home.

Photographs from the top: Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes), female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis), Yellow Clubtail (Gomphus simillimus), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens), Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens) and Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum).

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