Thursday 23 July 2015

Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day looking for birds and insects on the local patch.
Day two with Bent Halfdan Pedersen from Denmark.

Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
I again picked Bent up from his hotel in the City and we headed back down the A92 to Moraleda and then out on to the fields nearby, on the way we saw Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Once we were out on the fields we soon found the first Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but we only got flight views this time but we had several brds on the ground later. In the same area we found flocks of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and on one stubble field we counted over twenty birds. We drove around the site on several different tracks adding Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), good numbers of Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Woodchat (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Iberian Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), 3 Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) 2 adult and an immature, Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornata).
Once we had covered the fields well we dropped down into the Valley and stopped at the bridge over the Riverwhere we walked towards the dam and then over the bridge to scan the ridge where we found the best bird an Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) and in the same area we had Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornata), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Melodious Warbler, Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Golden Oriole, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and several Copper Demoiselles (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Further down the valley we stopped above the gorge where we had very nice views of an immature Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) as well as both House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
We made our way back up the valley a short way and then had a very quite drive over the ridge and then headed back in towards Granada but added a very nice pale Morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) on the way. Once we were back in the city I dropped Bent off as close to the centre as it was possible, said goodbye and then headed back home.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Western Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A day looking for Butterflies.
Day one with Bent Halfdan Pedersen from Denmark.

Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis).
I met Bent in Granada and we headed up the hill as far as you can drive and then took a track from there and soon found the first of a few new species that Bent had wanted to see the Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania), Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) and Idas Blue (Plebejus idas). 
Sierra Nevada Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida / Timon nevadensis).
In the same area we also saw Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Band-eyed Drone Fly (Eristalinus taeniops), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Centranthus nevadensis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Erigeron frigidus, Eryngium glaciale and Leucanthemopsis pectinata.
Band-eyed Drone Fly (Eristalinus taeniops).
Our second site was a little lower down the road on a track which heads out from the ski resort and again we started to find new species but butterfly numbers were much reduced from just a week ago and Blue species were almost missing all together. We did however record Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Dusky Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lycaon), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea), Silver-spotted (Hesperia comma), Sage (Muschampia proto) and  Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Dark-green (Argynnis aglaja) and Niobe Fritillaries (Argynnis niobe).
Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus).
During the walk we also saw the first Sierra Nevada Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida / Timon nevadensis) of the day as well as Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
We again dropped down the road stopping at the Botanical Gardens where we checked the lower grassy areas out as this was where I saw good numbers of butterflies a week or so earlier. We started off by seeing several Rock Graylings (Hipparchi alcyone), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis Pandora), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and in an area of  Pyrenean Oaks (Quercus pyrenaica) a couple of Purple Hairstreaks (Quercusia Quercus) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
Trichodes leucopsideus.
Whilst we were concentrating on the butterflies I also saw or heard Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and a scampering Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris).
We then went back up to the car and took the old road down through Guejar-sierra, on the way we stopped at an open area in the pine woods and found Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus), Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius) and Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus) before dropping back in to the city for the end of day one.

Monday 20 July 2015

Rvers above Malaga City, Malaga Province.

The last day with Paul and Helen which we spent down on the river above Malaga.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Nine.

Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
We dropped down the motorway to Malaga and then out West to look at a few of spots along some rivers that I have visited several times, our first stop was at the point where the Rio Guadalhorce and the Rio Grande join.
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
We soon had Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Black-tailedSkimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) on the insect list. Birds seen were European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Yellow-Veined Skimmer (Orthetrum nitidinerve).
We later moved a bit further West to another smaller river whch was dry alng most of its length but was feed for a short way by irrigation channels, the site was more over grown than the last time I had visited but we still managed to find see several male Yellow-Veined Skimmers (Orthetrum nitidinerve), as well as some Southern (Orthetrum brunneum) and Keeled (Orthetrum coerulescens), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Black-tailed Skimmer, Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Iberian Blue-tail, Orange-winged Dropwing, Violet Dropwing, Scarlet Darter and Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
We also saw several Wasp and Bee species along with Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
We again move slightly further up the rivers and stopped near Pizzana, we searched a short area of river but only added Mammoth Wasp (Megascolia maculata), Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) and Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) before we again dropped back down to Malaga where I dropped Paul and Helen off at an Hotel on the outskirts.

I would like to thank Paul and Helen for a very successful nine days in the field and hope we adding quite a few species to the up coming book of Insects of the Mediterranean for Paul.

Sunday 19 July 2015

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A big day seeing a species I had wanted for many years.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Eight.

Nevada Grayling (Pseudochazara hippolyte).
Paul, Helen and I headed out early to go to a spot in the Sierra Nevada where with very good information from Rafa Obregón we hoped to find the extremly rare Nevada Grayling (Pseudochazara hippolyte).
Nevada Grayling (Pseudochazara hippolyte).
We arrived at the spot and walked out towards the main area given by Rafa, on the way we saw a good deal of interesting species including Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus), a single Lataste's viper (Víbora hocicuda / Vipera latastei) which was too fast for me to get the camera on it before it disappeared under a rock,
Golden-egg Bug (Phyllomorpha laciniata).
grasshopper species Eumigus rubioi, as well as several butterflies including Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus hypochionus), Dusky Meadow Brown (Lobito / Hyponephele lycaon), Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis) and then fortunutilly well before we reached the main spot our first Nevada Grayling which behaved it's self very well and allowed us to get some nice shots.
Eumigus rubioi
We continued on a short way to the top os a small hill and founds several more of these stunning butterflies, several of which sat well for the camera. In the same area we had Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and several very smart Golden-egg Bugs (Phyllomorpha laciniata).
Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).
We had luch at the top of the hill and then took the easier but longer track back down and for the first KM or so we were seeing good numbers of the Grayling as well as Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and lower down along side the pine woods we had Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Cardinal (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) and Dark-green Fritillaries (Argynnis aglaja), Grayling (Hipparchia semele) and Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) and Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).
Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma).
Once we were back at he car we headed out of the Sierra Nevada and visited a spot around on the North of the hills in the Sierra Huétor as we still wanted to see a few Dragonflies for the book. We parked and walked along a small but quite fast flowing river and soon found several Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo), Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and a single elusive Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene).
Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).
Out on the thisle meadows we found Clouded Yellow, High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe), Iberian Marbled White, Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).

Thanks Rafa, very very happy to have seen this species and to see it so well and get photographs was fantastic.