Wednesday 20 July 2016

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A walk along the track to the Hoya de San Juan with Jayne.

Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis).
As the temperature down low was in the cooking range Jayne and I decided to go and do most of her 10,000 steps in the hills which also gave me the chance to see some of the superb plants and butterflies up there. 
Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania).
As we started to climb things did not look to good with thick cloud and rain on the way up. We stopped at a bar on the way and had a coffee and got a couple of sandwiches for our lunch later.
Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis).
We arrived at the car park and things were still looking quite dull but dry so we started the walk and after 500m or so the sun came out and so did the butterflies.
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
I was soon seeing good numbers of Apollo (Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania) as well as smaller numbers of Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). 
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius).
Birds were few but I did see several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).
Before I reached the wetter areas at the Hoya de San Juan I found quite a few nice wildflowers including Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Hard Fern (Polystrichum lonchitis), Asplenium septenrionale, Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Sedum melanantherum, Arenaria imbricata, Eryngium glaciale, Dianthus subacaulis ssp brachyanthus, Sideritis glacialis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Euphrasia willommii, Cirsium gregarium and quite a few others.
Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus).
I eventually reached the wet areas, by this time Jayne had walked there and back again at least twice and when I got there she had already found Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina) and Gentiana boryi.
Gentiana boryi.
I spent the next half hour checking the wet gullies and added Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Southern Heath (Melitaea Celadussa) and Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe) to the butterfly list and Gentianella tenella, Plantago nivalis, Pinguicola nevadensis, Whorled Lousewort (Pedicularis verticillata), Epilobium alsinifolium, Erigeron frigidus, Galium pyrenaicum and Saxifraga stellaris ssp alpigena.
Gentianella tenella.
Jayne came back to the wet area after doing another stretch back along the track so I joined her and we walked back towards the car and on the way I found a very nice Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus) which was a new species for my Andalucian butterfly list, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) and Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).
Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).
Once we reached the car we dropped back down to the city, most of the way it was raining, where we did some shopping before heading home.
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).

Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea Celadussa).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Moraleda Fields and Balsa de Rigedor, Granada Province.

A mornings birding with Lars from Denmark.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
I met Lars just up the road at Moraleda and we were soon out on the nearby fields and watching a female Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which was a lifer for Lars.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
In the same area we had Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and as we drove across to the edges of some nearby Almond plantations we found 2 Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), an amazing 50+ Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were flying over. 
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We made our way back out on to the tarmac and then back in to the site on another track and found the first of quite a few Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Iberian Green Woodpecker and heard both Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) and Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), both species eluded us for the rest of the morning. 
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
We continued out on to the far side of the site through some rather smelly, recently naturally fertilised fields and then into another Almond grove where we could see a good number of Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Rock (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and a singing Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which stayed hidden in the Almonds. 
Captive falcons.
Next we did a loop around some more tracks adding Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
In the time we were in this area we also had a few none avian species which included Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Iberian Scarce (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Common Swallowtails (Papilio machaon), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice), Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Iberian Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus / capensis).
Captive falcons.
Things were getting warm so we headed back towards the Motorway and then across to Balsa de Rigedor where we soon added 2 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and 3 flying Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
There was also a guy there from the medio ambiente who was recording the Dragonflies on the site, we found several species including Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x3M, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) x4M, Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) x3M, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) x5M, Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) x1M, Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum).
Captive falcons.
By now it was getting hot so we retired to a nearby bar and I gave Lars some info about a couple of sites that he could visit during the rest of his stay.

For a few months I have been watching the construction of two very large concrete and metal circular frames near Moraleda de Zafayona in Granada Province. My first thoughts were that they would eventually be lined and become storage silo's of some sort so I was surprised a couple of days ago to find that they had been netted and were full of around 40 or so Gyrfalcon / Peregrine Hybrid type falcons. Guessing that they are to be sold to falconers, just hope they do not end up in the hands of the wrong sort of hunters.

Monday 18 July 2016

El Faro, Fuengirola, Malaga Province.

An hour in the sea watch hide at El Faro.

Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
I dropped Jayne off at the shopping centre and then drove down to the spot a short way down the coast, I parked and walked along to the hide seeing just a single Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), several Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) which was still in none breeding plumage.
Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
From the hide I recorded Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) x3W, Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) x18E and 6W, Arctic Skua (Págalo Parásito / Stercorarius parasiticus) x1E, Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) x1E, Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) x2W, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) x1 and dozens of immature Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) all heading west down the coast.