Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Grazalema and Montejaque areas in Cadiz and Malaga Provinces.

Ring Ouzels and Dragons near Montejaque.

Whilst Jayne and Sue got young Sam ready for school I had a quick look in the garden and almost straight away picked up a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which upset all the local passerines including Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). I walked a little way down the garden and added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Once Sam was ready we had a walk down to meet the bus at the nearby bar with Sam on his little plastic motorbike. We returned to the house briefly for Sue's second breakfast and then headed out to wards the Libar Valley as I was hoping to see my first Ring Ouzel ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) of the year. We parked just a KM or so up the valley with a slope of Hawthorn bushes on our left and a small pool on the right, within seconds the first of around 30 Ouzels did a fly passed followed by small groups over the next twenty minutes or so. We walked a little way up the track seeing more Ouzels all the time and adding new species to the day list including Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) as well as seeing more Goldfinches, Griffon Vultures, Black Redstarts and a Green Woodpecker. On the walk back I went a little ahead of Sue and Jayne and found what looked like a newly arrived Ouzel which was more interested in a drink than in me and allowed me to get some nice shots. In the same area we also had singles of Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) plus several Painted Lady's (Vanessa cardui).
We left the bird by the pool and headed off through Montejaque to a track on the far side of the village and drove as far as we could along it before leaving the car and walking for an hour or so along the Rio Campobuche. On the walk out to the Presa we had more Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Crested Tits, Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreepers, Sparrowhawk and added Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Southern / Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum) and dozens of Western Willow Spreadwings (Lestres viridis). At the dam Sue showed me some over with spike of the uncommon Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) and we found several more Desert, a couple of Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum), hundreds of Western Willow Emeralds.  Another intriguing insect was seen which Jayne spotted on the far side of the pool which flew towards us briefly before whizzing off down the pool never to be seen again, intriguing due to it's very deep blue colour. In the same area we had nice views of a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), two Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), lots of Hornets (Vespa crabro), Mediterranean Scorpion (Escorpión Amarillo / Buthus Occitanus), Sticky Fleabane (Dittrichia viscose) and Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). During the walk back we recorded Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).  Whilst we were walking amongst the Oaks we also saw several species of Fungi but the only one named so far is Egg Yolk Fungus (Yema de huevo / Amanita cesarea). Just before we got back to the car we saw a very nice Southern / Blue Hawker which perched in a tree and let me get some shots but at a funny angle. 
Once we were back at the car we headed towards Grazalema to collect Sam from Clive and Ellies but on the way we stopped to have a look at some Southern Crocus (Crocus serotinus).
We got to the Village and picked up Sam and as he had some homework from the school we headed back to the house to give him time to work on it. Once there I headed back out for a hour down the Campobuche river but from the near end, in amongst some Hawthorn trees near the track I had brief views of several more Ring Ouzels, Common Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Spotless Starling, Grey Wagtail, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). I continued on along the track a bit further and saw several Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a single Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and a small flock of Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) before spending some time searching for the very small Narcissus cavanillesii. Moct of this uncommon little plant were in seed but I did manage to find three or four which were just about hanging on.

Photographs from the top: Ring Ouzel ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), 2x Western Willow Spreadwings (Lestres viridis), Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), Egg Yolk Fungus (Yema de huevo / Amanita cesarea),
Mediterranean Scorpion (Escorpión Amarillo / Buthus Occitanus), Southern / Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) and Narcissus cavanillesii.

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