Saturday 25 August 2018

Tarifa and Los Barrios Area, Cadiz Province.

Raptor Migration and rare Dragons with Steve Jones.

Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
Jayne, Barb, Lynn, Steve and I got off early and headed along the Costa del Sol but on the Toll roads to avoid all the tourist areas on out way down to La Linea, on the way I saw Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
Once we were down at La Linea Steve and I dropped the Ladies of at the crossing to Gibraltar and then headed off to Tarifa where we were soon watching a reasonable passage of Raptors at the Cazalla watch point.
Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
The commonest species seen by far were a couple of hundred Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) looking fantastic in their varied plumage's over head, we also had lots of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a good number of Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), a dozen or so adult and
Raptor watching at Cazalla watch point.
immature Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), as well as a few White (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and 2 Black Storks (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra).
Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
We also recorded European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
We dropped down into the town to book some places on the Whale watching boats for the next day and had some lunch, in the car park where we left the car I heard the Garden Bulbul (Bulbul Naranjero / Pycnonotus barbatus) call but distantly. I had spoken to Javi Elorriaga Bts and he sadly told me that there is just a single bird now so the population looks unlikely to continue there.

Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
After eating we headed back along the coast and inland to Los Barrios where we visited a couple of sites. At the first spot along the Rio de las Cañas o Palmones we parked and checked a field close to the river where we found just a single female Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei) but she was just stunning and posed quite well for us.
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
We returned tot the car and had a drink as it was a tad warm by now and the went out on to the bridge over the Rio where I spotted two good species one after the other, the first was a very smart Roe Deer (Corzo / Capreolus capreolus) which was munching on the Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) on the margin of the water and then a male Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) which was flying
Black Stork (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra).
around uncharacteristically high around the wires and into the tree tops. The site does not look good for this species so as with the one Steve and Lynn had seen in Granada Province a few days earlier we guess it was a wandering male looking for a new site.
Female Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei).
It was flying around quickly and was difficult to get shots of with the trees in the background so we dropped down to the river hoping to get it against the sky but by the time we were down there it had pushed off and we did not see it again. 
Female Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei).
We did however find Violet (Trithemis annulata) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Pieris rapae) and Large White (Pieris brassicae), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus).
Roe Deer (Corzo / Capreolus capreolus).
We moved a short way up stream and looked at another spot where I had been last year but it was quiet and we only added a single Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis) before we headed back to the hotel in La Linea to meet the girls. Later we went out into the town and to a Tapas bar we like and had some really good food there before going along the main street to a bar which also did coffee and cakes, a good way to end the day.
White Featherlegs (Platycnemis latipes).
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Rio Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

All day spent in 300 meters of Dragon heaven.

Steve getting down and clean in some good quality water for a change.
Steve and I dropped Jayne, Lynn and Barb off in Malaga City before heading a way North to a spot on the Guadalhorce where we have visited a few time now but never get tried of going and this ear was equally as good.
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) male.
We parked and walked down to the water, the course of the river had changed a bit but not as drastically as some in Granada Province after the winter rains.
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) female.
With in seconds we had the first of 7 male Ringed Cascaders (Zygonyx torridus) flying around our heads and several Faded Pincertails (Onychogomphus costae) whizzing around at water level by our feet, AMAZING.
Ringed Cascaders (Zygonyx torridus).
Just a short wade and we were surrounded by male and female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) which were on the bulrush leaves in a narrow fast flowing channel. I came back out of the channel as it was rather too fast flowing and I walked around to a wider stretch seeing at least another 2 male Cascaders.
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
In the slacker reach of the river we added Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Orange-winged (Trithemis kirbyi) and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Epaulet (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator). 
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
I sat down in the river and tried to get some shots of the Faded Pincertail on a perch which it was returning to regularly, it came in once and then I could not find it until I looked at my knee and it was quite happily sat there.
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
In the area we also saw Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Iberian Barbel (Luciobarbus comizo) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae).
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus).
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus).
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).
Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii).

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A walk out to the head of the Valley of San Juan.

Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea).
Steve and I dropped Jayne, Lynn and Barb in the city and then headed off up the hill to the car parks at 2500m where we left the car and walked out along the track to the wet gully areas a few KM out.
Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis).
Just out of the car park we came across a family group of Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) which is a species that is only found at high altitude this far south but also mixed in with them were a couple of immature Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea) but no adults. In the same area we saw the first of a few Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), heard Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and just up the way found a female / immature Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
As were walked out we were soon aware of the lack of butterflies again, the only common species was the Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea) which were around in good numbers, there were also a few Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea).
We also saw a small group of Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing over, plenty of Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a flock of 20 or so Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and then an unexpected Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) which called to attract my attention and then very kindly landed on a rock above us so that I got a brief view of it before moving on again.
On the path side rocks we also saw Arenaria imbricata, Astragalus sempervirens subsp nevadensis (NIF), Centaurea boissieri, Eryngium glaciale, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Lotus corniculatus subsp. glacialis, Minature Wild Plum (Prunus prostrata), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Ptilotrichum spinosum and Centranthus nevadensis.
Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
We reached the wetter areas and straight awa we were finding new plant species including Euphrasia willommii, Gentiana boryi, Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa, Gentianella tenella, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Marsh Violet (Viola palustris), Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria), Pinguicola nevadensis (NIF), Plantago nivalis (NIF) and Saxifraga stellaris and more. 
As we dropped down the slope following the wet flushes to the main stream we found the first of the endemic Sierra Nevada Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata), this was a male but as we dropped down the slope we started to find females as well. As we were dropping down we saw the one and only Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) of the day but it was right on the far side of the valley and by the time we got down there we could not see it but we did add Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), a single Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus) and a Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea Celadussa) which sat nicely for the camera.
Gentiana boryi,

We made our way back up to the main track which was a bit higher up than I had hoped, on the way we saw Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice) before we reached the car.
Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris).
We dropped down the hill to the car park at the botanical gardens and checked an area of grassland near there after we had eaten our sandwiches and found a good selection of butterflies including Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus) as well as Andalucian Saddle Bush-cricket (Steropleurus andalusius) and Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus). 
Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
We dropped back down to the city where we met the girls and headed back to base.
Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa.
Gentianella tenella,
Sierra Nevadan Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata) msle.
Sierra Nevadan Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata) female.
Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea Celadussa).
Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus).
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe).
Andalucian Saddle Bush-cricket (Steropleurus andalusius).
Very large Unknown Solitary Wasp species.