Thursday, 4 June 2015

Rio Hozgarganta, Jimena del la Frontera.

Dragonflies and Birds with Steve Jones.
Day one.

Jayne was going back to the Uk for a few days so I arranged with Steve Jones from Cornwall in the UK to have a few days Dragon hunting as we had done last year.
This time Steve arrived at Malaga airport about fie or six hours before I was dropping Jayne off so he spent a while kipping on a very hard marble floor before the start of out adventure.
I met him just after seeing Jayne off at 04:30 and we headed straight down towards Jimena and once there we found a place for some breakfast before parking at the start of the walk out to the main site we were to visit. On the walk out to the spot we saw or heard Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major).
Once we were in the area where we were going to spend the day we started to check the vegetation in the area looking for hung up insect but we found nothing but I heard several Iberian Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Ibérico / Phylloscopus brehmii), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and we flushed good numbers of Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) from the margins. Once things warmed up a bit we started to find a few dragons including Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii), Pronged Clubtail (Gomphus graslinii), Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus), Orange (Platycnemis acutipennis) and White Featherlegs (Platycnemis latipes), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis), Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata). Things were different to last year as the main target species Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) was pretty much absent and the only sightings I did have lasted for just a few seconds. As the day went on and got warmer good numbers of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) drifted over along with the odd Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). We also recorded a few butterflies including Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) a long with a very smart Ant-lion species. Other birds recorded during the day included White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
Late in the after noon we walked back towards the car and on the way had good views of Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi). On the way back we discused our options for day two and decided to drive back to the house and set out from there in the morning.

Photographs from the top: Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) in flight, 2x Pronged Clubtails (Gomphus graslinii), Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus), female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), 2x Ant-lion species, Orange Featherlegs (Platycnemis acutipennis) and Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).

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