A dip on the Sandgrouse target but a new Butterfly for my local patch.
I started the day by having a look at the fields and ditches around Huétor and in the 30 minutes or so I had there before meeting Bob, Steve and Elena at the Cortijo de Tajar hotel I saw Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) x1 male, Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild),
Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Bob, Steve and Elena arrived at the Cortijo and after a coffee we headed slightly east and started to search for the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) and over the next few hours we covered all the areas where I have been seeing these birds regularly resently but as hard as we tried we could not get even flight views. How ever during the morning we did see some nice species including Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) all in good umbers, Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) heard only, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
We eventually gave in on the Sandgrouse and went just down the road to Balsa de Rigedor to se what Dragonflies were on the wing and we soon found lots of tandem pairs of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) egg laying as well as Violet (Trithemis annulata) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Blue / Common (Anax imperator) and Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) plus Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous). Bird species included Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Instead of jumping on to the motor way we stayed on the service road down to the mesia junction as I wanted to quickly check an area of Caper plants that I had seen just in case there were any of the uncommon Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore) butterflies. Before we had even got out of the car we spotted the first and by the time we were leaving we had seen at least 8 of the smart little insects, well pleased with this find so close to home and well and truely on the local patch.
Thanks to Steve for driving us around for the morning and to Bob and Elena for their company.
Photographs from the top: Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) x3, Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) x2 and an archive shot of the Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore) from Castell de Ferro.