Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Moraleda and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

The first of two days with Lynn and Tim from Hampshire in the UK.

Lynn, Tim and I headed out towards the fields near to the town of Moraleda and on the way over we started the list off with Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). Once we were out on the fields the good birds just kept coming with Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), 3+ Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), 4 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), a cracker of a Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). As well as the birds we saw Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), 100s of Ornate Shieldbugs (Eurydema ornata) and their eggs on Caper Plants (Capparis spinosa) and what looked like the lavae of  Striped Lychnis Moth
We returned to the road and dropped down into the Cacín Valley and stopped at a point along the river where we had a short walk which took us quite a while as we kept on finding cracking species. The best of which was a pair of Western Demoiselles (Calopteryx xanthostoma) which up until now I had only seen a single female of this species so I was surprised to find these two perfect insects here. After checking with a couple of Spanish experts on dragons and their distribution I was very pleased to find out that this was the first record in the province since 1911. In the same area we also had White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) for the insects and birds included Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Reed  (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Our next stop was at the Contraembalse just up the road, the water level was quite low but there were still good numbers of birds to be seen including Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis). We also had Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) and a flushed Ni Moth (Trichoplusia ni).
We continued on down the road towards Cacín a short was and stopped to look at some roadside Scabious plants which had a good number of butterflies necturing on them and these included False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus tripolinus), Clouded Yellow, Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and on the opposite side of the road we watched a stunning female Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) egg laying on the Fennel Plants. Whilst we were there we headed a Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) calling from some river side trees so we took our lunch down and found a spot near the River and had our food whilst looking for the bird, we did not see it but added Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
We again continued on down the valley down to the gorge where we had great views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia).
After the gorge we headed back up the Valley and were very pleased to see a fine female Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) as it dropped off a roadside pylon. 
Our final stop of the day was at Balsa de Rigedor a small lake on the side of the A92 motorway, here we saw several of the water species we had seen earlier. The main reason for calling here were the dragonflies which included Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum). From here we headed back to the house where later we sat and listened to the calling Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis).

Photographs from the top: Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Ornate Shieldbugs (Eurydema ornata), eggs of
Ornate Shieldbugs, Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Bug Species, lavae of  Striped Lychnis Moth, Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma) female, Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma) male, Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).

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