Saturday 6 June 2015

Almargen and Salinas, Malaga Province and Moraleda Fields, Granada Province.

Another new dragon species for my Spanish list on Steve's third and final day.
Day three.

Yellow-Veined Skimmer (Orthetrum nitidinerve).
After I had fully read the notes about the dragons Almargen area I realised that we had been looking in the wrong area for one of the species we had wanted to see the Yellow-Veined Skimmer (Orthetrum nitidinerve) so we drove back over and visited the correct spot which looked totally uninspiring to say the least and along with the very high wind we were not very confident of seeing anything. 
Yellow-Veined Skimmer (Orthetrum nitidinerve).
We checked the only open area of water but found nothing so we walked the track which followed the river and after a about 100 meters we had a female type dragon zip up in front of us and away but even with the brief bad views we had we thought that we had got the targets species so we started to search the area. After a few minutes we relocated the dragon out on the field sat on the soil in a roughly ploughed field and it was instantly obvious that it was a female Yellow-Veined Skimmer with the veining in wings standing out very well. 
Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
We got some shots but it was hard going in the wind and with the brightness of the lumps of soil. We walked a little further along the stream picking up Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Egyptian Grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii).
European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera).
We moved on to the far side of the town and out into the campo to a stream near a disused cortijo where we found ver little in the way of water except for a small sump pool right on the side of the track which was full of Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and drinking wasp's and European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale).
In the same area we found a female Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Iberian Blue-tail, Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) male.
From here we moved back towards home calling in at Salinas on the way to check the pool and ditches in the area, on the pool and ditches we found 2 male Scarlet Darters (Crocothemis erythraea), 4 male Southern Skimmers, 2 male and 2 female Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale), 1 male and 1 female Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), 1 male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), 5x  Iberian Blue-tails, 2 male Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
During the heat of the afternoon we decided to go and have a look out on the fields around Moraleda hoping for a few bird species, we went out onto the tracks and soon had good views of a couple of Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), a fine Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which gave us the run around and did not allow us to get any shot, Short-toed  (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and 2x Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).

Friday 5 June 2015

Fuente de Piedra and Almargen area, Malaga Province.

A new species for my Spanish Dragon list whilst out and about again with Steve Jones from Cornwall.
Day two.

We headed out earlish and made our way to Fuente de Piedra where we were hoping to find some of the Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma) I had seen a few weeks earlier as it would be a new species for Steve's list. We arrived and checked out the now dry ditches and pools around the entrance road but all we found were a few Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) x10 on the dragonfront but we did see Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) before heading up to the Mirador with the Oak tree behind the Visitor Centre. From here we scanned the flock of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) and quickly located 2 of the Lesser Flamingo's (Flamenco Enano / Phoenicopterus minor) at the site along with Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a couple of fly over Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax). At the first screen which over looks a small pool we saw several Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (FochaComún / Fulica atra), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and the target species Dark Spreadwing x7 but they were a good distance away. Steve did get some record shots but nothing very good so we continued on and had a look at the other two hides and added Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) 1 male, Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) 2 teneral, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 1 male, Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Coliascorcea) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla). We returned to the view point and had another look at the Lesser Flamingo's before dropping back on to the lower track and checking the ditches again but with the same results.
From here we headed West to Campillos and then on to Almargen area where we were following information gained from ROLA. We checked an area of river side vegetation which was absolutally alive with dragons of a good few species including Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) x20+, Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale) x50+, Mediterranean Bluet (Coenagrion caerulescens) x300+, Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum) x30+, Blue / Common Emperor x 1 male & 1 female egg laying, Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) x 1 male and Iberian Bluetails x 5+. In the same area we also had Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Water Scorpion.
Again we moved on but this time just down the road to a spot nearer to the town where we only added Orange Featherleg (Platycnemis acutipennis) to the day list.
On the opposite side of the town we searched a stretch of the river in a large concrete colvert which turned out to be more productive than expected. Species seen included Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) over head, Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) x 1 male, Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) x 6 males and 1 female, Blue / Common Emperor x 1 male & 2 egg laying females, Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) x 2 males, Iberian Bluetails x 10+ and Mediterranean Bluet x 3 males and 1 female.
On the way back home we called in at Laguna Dulce but it was generally quiet but we added Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) to the list before heading back to the house.

Photographs from the top: Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens), teneral female Keeled Skimmer,  male Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum), female Small Red Damselfly, pair in tandem Small Red Damselfly, Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale), copper coloured female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) and green coloured female Copper Demoiselle

Thursday 4 June 2015

Rio Hozgarganta, Jimena del la Frontera.

Dragonflies and Birds with Steve Jones.
Day one.

Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii).
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.
Pronged Clubtails (Gomphus graslinii).
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.
Pronged Clubtails (Gomphus graslinii).
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).
Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus).
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.
Female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
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.
Ant-lion species.
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).
Ant-lion species.
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.
Orange Featherlegs (Platycnemis acutipennis).
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).
Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
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.