Thursday 24 July 2014

Sierra de Huétor, Granada Province.

A new species of Demoiselle for Sue.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).
We started out a bit earlier this morning and headed east along the A92 to a cracking spot in the Sierra de Huétor just to the north of Granada and the Sierra Nevada. We arrived and checked the stream which runs through this valley for Dragonflies, almost straight away we were finding good numbers of the fantastic looking Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), several of the metallic blue males were fluttering around and landing on some very convenient stream side willow bushes.
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).
A little further along the stream I found several more and a good number of females along with a single Common Golden Ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) which flashed by and a male Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis). Whilst I was wading along the river I heard and saw Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and on the crags above us a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).
Further up stream we came to a nice area of thistles and started to find a good number of interesting butterfly species nectering on the flowers including Bath (Pontia daplidice) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), High Brown (Fabriciana adippe) and Cardinal Fritillaries (Argynnis Pandora), a single Hermit (Chazara briseis), Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and from Sue photographs we confirmed what we had suspected to be a Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis) was indeed that species.
Sam and myself in the river.
We then returned to the stream and found a lot more Beautiful Demoiselle´s and in a nearby bush a Conehead mantis (Empusa pennata) which unfortunately had a damaged wing.
We then moved back out on to the fields along side the river and picked up Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
Hermit (Chazara briseis).
From this site we visited a small village near Guadix where we picked up some ceramic bowls that Jayne wanted to complete a set and then headed back towards Granada but turning off back in to the Sierra´s above Alfacar for lunch at a small Venta in the hills. After a very nice meal we had a walk along a nearby track, straight away we could here the cry´s of some young raptors which eventually showed low over the trees and turned out to be immature Northern Goshawks (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis). During the walk we also saw Large White (Pieris brassicae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla).
Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis).
We returned to the car and dropped down off the hills back onto the morotrway and then home. A little later I was doing the watering and Sue and Sam had a walk in the garden where they found the first Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis) for my patch.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Balsa de Rigedor, Granada Province.

A local trip with Jayne, Sue and Sam to look for some Dragonflies.

Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
We had a steady startand once we were all sorted we just popped down to a local pool along side the A92 to have a look for some dragonflies.
Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina).
We arrived and I was surprised to find a dozen or so Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were having an afternoon siesta in the dead trees along the margins, along with good numbers of Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). Other birds seen included Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). 
Female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
In the water we also saw lots Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) and several Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). The only butterflies noted were several Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria).
Male Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
The dragonflies were flying well but not settling often, there were several Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator), Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii),  Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and a couple of Long Skimmers (Orthetrum trinacria).
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
We headed back home before it got too hot and spent the afternoon relaxing.

Monday 21 July 2014

Rivers above Malaga, Malaga Province.

A last minute visit to Malaga area.

Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Jayne and I got the tasks for the day sorted earlier than expected so we made our way down to Malaga where I dropped Jayne off at the Larios centre.
Female Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus).
Chika and I headed off up the main road passing Rio Grande stopping at a short stretch of river where I soon found several Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Broad Scarlets (Crocothemis erythraea), Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), a female Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator), a nice male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), loads of Iberian Blue-tails (Ischnura graellsii) and a single male Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) Male.
Birds included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild).
Mediterranean skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus).
From here I headed slightly further North and had a look along the Ro Guadalhorce near Pizarra, there was more water in this section of the river than I have seen in the passed so I could only go down stream. On the patches of floating water weed I saw a couple of single and several tandem pairs of Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii), a male Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) and on the rocks nearby a single male Small Pincertail. About 50 meters below the railway brigde there were some nice looking rapids where I was hoping to find a Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) but as with all the sites where I looked for this species I could not find any sign.
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
On some small pools between the faster water I found more Broad Scarlet´s, Violet and Orange Winged Dropwings, Iberian Bluetails and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) along with Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and in the air several Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Heading back to the main road I stopped by the Arroyo de Cañas but did not find any thing new so I carried on down to the Rio Grande and checked out the normal stretch by the bridge and down at the point where it joins the Rio Guadalhorce.
On themain river which was dry in places there were a few Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) feeding amongst a large flock of goats and several Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) fishing in the smaller pools along with singles of both Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Squacco Herons (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Little Ringed (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
I then moved a short way down the river to the junction where I saw several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Dragonflies included a very nice male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) along with Lesser Emperor, Broad Scarlet, White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and a Mediterranean skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus).