Saturday 18 July 2015

Laguna Chica / Grande and Salinas, Malaga Province and Arroyo Vilano, Granada Province.

A successful day searching mainly for Dragons.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Seven.

Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
We started the day at Laguna Chica where I was very pleased to find that the track had been regraded and made getting up the hill much easier.
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) mating pair.
We parked and walked down to the back edge of the reedbeds and soon started to find the first of quite a few female and newly emerged Long Skimmers (Orthetrum trinacria), later we started to find a few males.
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
We also found Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum), several male Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator), Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum), Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and a single Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens).
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
Butterflies were few but we did get a very nice male Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus) which sat nicely as well as Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto). There were again lots of other types of insects but he onl one with a name at the moment was the Southern Sickle Bush-cricket (Phaneroptera nana).
Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum).
Birds on the water and the surroundings included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
When we reached the far end of the pool we continued on across to Laguna Grande where we were hoping to find more dragon species but the only new ones were Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) Female.
As we approached the margins we saw several Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and an immature Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea).
Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens).
We spent quite a while here but eventually we made our way back to the car and then made our way to Salinas area to a pool and stream where we had finding the pool to be very low due mainly to the water being drained off for the local goat herds.
Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) pair in tandem.
There was water in the near by ditches and we soon found several Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) as well as a couple of Viperine Snakes (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura), Southern (Orthetrum brunneum) and Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Mercury Bluet's (Coenagrion mercuriale).
Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) pair in tandem.
Birds included Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
Our last stop of the day was near the house on the Rio Vilano where we added White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) and Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) to the day list as well as European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).

Friday 17 July 2015

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

Several hours around the Botanical Gardens then off down the old road.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Six.

Stick Insect (Pijnackeria hispanica).
Our third but not final visit to the Sierra Nevada hills, this time we were starting at the newish botanical gardens on the main road up to the ski resort.
Stick Insect (Pijnackeria hispanica).
We arrived a bit early so we checked out and area of land nearby which turned out to be the best area of the day as we found a great many new insects in the herbs and bushes including two female and one male of the Stick Insect (Pijnackeria hispanica) along with Dicranocephalus setulosus nymph, Stagonomus amoenus, Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornata), Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus), Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) and a couple of still to be named Long-horn Beetles.
Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus).
Birds in the area included Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). On the crags above the area we picked up a small herd of Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) picking there wy along the rocks.
Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri).
Once it was open we dropped down into the Botanical Gardens and made our way around the many tracks and paths. Near the visitor centre we found a very smart Sierra Nevada Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida / Timon nevadensis) as well as a couple of Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) and Andalucian Wall Lizards (Podarcis vaucheri).
Tiger Long-horn Beetle (Chlorophorus trifasciatus).
As we walked around the top tracks we saw both nymph and adults of Canthophorus melanopterus a small shinny blue Shieldbug, Blue-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens), Mediterranean Shieldbug (Carpocoris mediterraneus), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Common / Southern Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus / celina) and in a large Pyrenean Oak (Quercus pyrenaica) we found several Purple Hairstreaks (Quercusia Quercus).
Canthophorus melanopterus.
We continued on around the site checking any broom plants for more Stick Insects but found none, we did however see Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and many more insect species.
Spilostethus saxatilis.
Birds seen and heard were Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). On the wetter flushes we found a coule of spikes of Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata) and several Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). 
Weevil Species.
On the far side of the site we checked a small pool a found several Southern Skimmers (Orthetrum brunneum), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon). We made our way back up to the car and then dropped down to the visitor centre on the main road a few KM below the botanical gardens, the two young lads that worked in the centre which is now open much more often were very helpful and supplied us with some very good information.
Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).
From here we dropped down the old road towards Guejar-sierra, on the way we stopped at a small area of grassland where we found Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Saddleback Bush-cricket (Ephippiger ephippiger), a couple of Weevel species, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia).
Down by the river we had views of Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and again many other insects species. The day flashed by and it was soon time to make our way back towards the house.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Arroyo Marin, Malaga Province and Sierra Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

River valley and mountain Insects and Birds.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Five.

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
We all set off for a mornings insect hunting in the Arroyo Marin, Paul and Helen had visited the site with me last year and we had found some nice species.
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
We started by walking along a shot track along side the stream where we found several White Featherlegs (Platycnemis latipes), Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca), Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Mediterranean Shieldbug (Carpocoris mediterraneus), Mammoth Wasp (Megascolia maculata) and Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata). 
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).
Birds included Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Graphosoma semipunctatum.
We next drove right down to the far end of the valley and parked before checking out the river and soon found a nice male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) as well as Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) and Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata).
In the trees and overhead we had Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum).
As we walked along the river we saw butterflies including Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Common / Southern Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus / celina), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
Spider-hunting Wasp (Cryptocheilus discolor).
We moved back up the valley slightly and found a nice patch of Field Eryngo (Eryngium campestris) which had several insect species on it including Hairy (Dolycoris baccarum) and Sriped Shieldbugs (Graphosoma italicum), Graphosoma semipunctatum, Rhombic Leatherbug (Syromastus rhombeus), Spider-hunting Wasp (Cryptocheilus discolor), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) and Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia).
Rhombic Leatherbug (Syromastus rhombeus).
Our last stop here was at the middle bridge and in the grassland around the spot we found Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus), Egyptian Grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium), Argiope lobata, Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). 
Scolia hirta.
During the afternoon we made our way back towards Loja and went up to the 1000meter mark as the Sierra was shut to cars above this due to the high fire risk. By now it was getting hot so we walked along the roadside checking out the large amounts of Field Eryngo, here we found Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Common / Southern Blue, False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus tripolinus), Haploprocta sulcicornis, mating pair of Potter Wasp species and a lot of other insect species.
Colpa quinquecincta.
Birds included Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).
By the time we finished here we decided a head back in as it was getting rather hot and had gone over the +40 mark.

Stenopterus ater.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

Another go at the Ringlets then a minibus to 3100m and a walk back down to the car.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Four.

Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania).
We started out by parking near the barrier above the ski resort and walking to the area where we had seen some very active Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania) a couple of days ago hoping that being there quite early might make them a bit more approachable.
Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania).
Almost straight away we found several insects on the wing but they were as hoped for far less active and allowed us to get to with in camera range a lot easier than before.
Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis).
In the same area we saw Apollo's (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Nevada Blue's (Niña de Sierra Nevada / Plebicula golgus subsp golgus), Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea), a very tatty Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
Female Baetica ustulata.
Wild flowers included Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Erigeron frigidus, Spanish Mountain Thistle (Ptilostemon hispanicus) and Eryngium glaciale.
Male Baetica ustulata.
Once back at the car park we made our way to the nearby hotel where we got on to a minibus and were taken up to the 3100m point from where we made our way back down the hill to the car on various tracks and the road.
Spanish Argus (Aricia morronensis ssp. ramburi).
On the way we found both male and female Baetica ustulata, an endemic Bush Cricket species which was another of the top target species Paul had wanted to see and both sexes performed well for the camera's.
Pyropteron kautzi.
As we dropped down we also recorded Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), the Sierra Nevada subspecies of Spanish Argus (Aricia morronensis ssp. ramburi) which was found amongst it's food plant Erodium cheilanthifolium, more Nevada Blue's and Apollo's, a Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus) at 2700m well above the tree line, Pyropteron kautzi, Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Blue-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens), Mountain Stone Grasshopper (Eumigus monticola), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), a Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and a great many other insect species most of which I still need names for.
Hoverfly Species.

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Sierra Huétor, Granada Province.

Dragonflies and Butterflies in the Mountains North of Granada.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Three.

Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia).
We drove out to the furthest point in the Sierra Huétor and made a short stop just off the motorway checking a large area unsuccessfully for Stick Insects but whilst we were there we did see Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and heard Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
Bee Species.
We moved just up the road and parked on the roadside and followed a fast flowing stream for a KM or so up stream checking the trees and fields along it's banks. we soon found the first of many Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo) both males and females were common right along the stream.
Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans).
Out on the grassland and amongst the thistles we found Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe) and Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis).
Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus).
Back down by the river we saw several Large Pincertails (Onychogomphus uncatus) which sat for the camera which could not be said for the good numbers of Common Golden Ringed Dragonflies (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) or the single male Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene) which just would not sit. As we moved up stream we also heard or saw Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sto theitta europaea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Beetle Species.
During this walk there were quite a few insect species seen but most still need to be named as well as False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus), Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornata), Blue-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens), Mylabris quadripunctata, Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and Striped Grayling.
Long-horn Beetle (Stenopterus ater).
We eventually got back to the car and then crossed the road to the fields opposite where we had a very nice Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Lulworth Skippers (Thymelicus acteon), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus), a very tatty Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Small (Artogeia rapae), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica).
Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe).
Again we eventually reached the car and moved a short way along the same road to the next motorway junction and parked on the roadside under some Pine trees and had our lunch before tracking down several Great Banded (Kanetisa circe) and Rock Graylings (Hipparchi alcyone) we were watching whilst eating our food, we found several individuals and a couple of mating pairs which posed nicely for the camera along with Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis Pandora), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), a couple of Long-horn Beetle species and quite a few other insects on the umbellifer plants.
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora).
In the same area we had Sriped Shieldbug (Graphosoma italicum), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).
 We moved a bit further this time and over in to the Sierra de Alfacar where we checked a walk I had done many time but found very little which was willing to site as it was by now quite hotso we continued to another spot not to far away and had more of the same including Great Banded and Rock Graylings but then we found a cracking species which I had only once before seen a False Grayling (Arethusana arethusa) which gave us nice chance to get it's photo. 
False Grayling (Arethusana arethusa).
By this time it was late afternoon and hot so we decided to call it a day and head back to the house.