Another day with Steve Jones and our camera's.
We started the day on the fields near to Moraleda, we stopped to have a quick look at the cages full of Falcons just on the edge of town before going out on to the nearby stubble fields. Straight away we were surrounded by Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) all of which were very camera shy as were most other species except for a very nice immature Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which showed very well and sat for ages for us to take lots of nice photographs. In the same area we had Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
We decided to leave the fields but planned to return later when it was hotter, so we dropped down into the Valley and went along to the bridge over the Cacín. From the bridge we had Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) x20M & 15F, a very smart female Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) as well as several more males later along the canal, a heard only Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) on the distant pines, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) which scolded us from cover along with a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
We spent quite a while there then walking along the track towards the dam and this was where Steve made a very unpleasant discovery. Some complete B*******d had put a young dog in a plastic bag and dumped it under some trees, which was bad enough but had then pinned it down with a large rock to make sure it could not escape . The poor thing had got out of the bag but had died due to being pinned down, some times I do despaired at the blatant cruelty in this country.
Along the track we saw White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) x5, Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Small White (Pieris rapae), we also has 2 Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a couple of Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) do fly overs. Also seen or heard were Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Next we spent a short while scanning the Embalse nearby and added 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), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) to the days list.
Again we made just a brief stop at the Rio Cacín near the town but found several new butterfly species for the day list including Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
We decded then to return to the fields and check the Almond groves which paid off as we had nice views of a pair of Black-bellied Sandgrouse and managed decent shots of the female before the walked off into an area which was to rough for us to follow using the car as a hide. We also had Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli) and Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) before going to our last location of the day which was at Balsa de Rigedor looking for daragonflies. Bird wise we saw nothing new but added Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) x1M, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) x8M, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x 2M & 1F, Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and more Red-veined Darters and Orange-winged Dropwings before heading home.
Photographs from the top: immature Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), immature Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), female Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), the same adult Little Owl that was seen in the same spot a couple of weeks earlier, female Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), another female Orange-winged Dropwing, female Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), female Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) egg laying, female Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and a male Violet Dropwing.