Wednesday 4 June 2014

Malaga Golf Channel, Malaga Province.

A couple of hours birding down on the coast.

Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides).
I had thought that visiting this site during the heat of the day might be quite good for Dragonflies but there none seen. I did however see a couple of Squacco Herons (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), lots of Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and several Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) but little else. I paid a quick visit to the Golf club car park but just more Monks.
Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus).

Monday 2 June 2014

Near Ardales and Laguna Chica, Malaga Province.

Day three and things just keep getting better, two more new species for out Spanish Dragon lists.

Yellow Clubtail (Gomphus simillimus).
After another good nights sleep Steve and I headed out to a site not too far from the town of Ardales over in Malaga Province where we were hoping to see another couple of uncommon species of Dragon. We arrived and soon located the correct spot but we were quite early so we started to have a poke around looking for roosting or emerging insects.
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
After a while we found a single female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) part way along a track away out on to the fields on the far side of the site.
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
Birds included several singing Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotted 
Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma) female.
Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
Once things warmed up a bit things started to move, Steve found a single Yellow Clubtail (Gomphus simillimus) which had climbed up an Iris leaf to warm up for the days flying but by the time I got to the spot it had flown.
Next came a single female Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma) which was the only individual we saw of this species, as hard as we searched we could not find a male.
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).
The Clubtails started to fly more but seldom settled and when they did they we not very approachable. In the same are we also recorded Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), both White (Platycnemis latipes) and Orange Featherlegs (Platycnemis acutipennis), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus) and Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii). Butterflies included Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus lavatherae), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
After a while things went quiet so we decided to head back towards Granada area calling in at Laguna Chica near Archidona on the way.
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).
We arrived and walked the whole of the Northern and eastern shores, checking the water side on the way out and the scrub on the way back.
Here birds were quieter as it was the afternoon but we did see and hear  Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little  (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Subalpine Warblers (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii).
Dragonflies were also plentiful with hundreds of Dainty Damselflies (Coenagrion scitulum) on the margins and out on the water along with Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Blue-eye, Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and a newly emerged female Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens).
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
There were also masses of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a couple Viperine Snakes (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura).
The heat was quite bad by late afternoon so we headed back to the house and went out for some tapas and a beer.
Steve's flight was early on the Tuesday morning, so we were off down to Malaga at 06;30 in time to get him there for his flight.

Thanks Steve for a fantastic few days and looking forward to looking through some shot when you and Lynn come back in August.

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.

Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens).
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.
Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens).
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.
Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene).
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.
Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
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).
Iberian Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Ibérico / Phylloscopus brehmii).
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 / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) 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.
Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii).
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.
Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea).
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). 
Female Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).
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 Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) 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.