Saturday 7 May 2022

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moth Recording.

Cleonymia pectinicornis.
I again ran the Actinic trap up on the Terrace where I did very slightly better than the last couple of time but still only recorded 5 Moths of 5 Different species which included 1655 Ethmia bipunctella, 7926 Aspitates ochrearia (Yellow Belle), 9282 Cleonymia pectinicornis, 9425 Caradrina proxima and 10029 Mythimna sicula.
Ethmia bipunctella.

Caradrina proxima.
Mythimna sicula.

Friday 6 May 2022

Mirador Del Alto De Hondonero, near Villanueva del Rosario, Malag Province, Spain.

Back out looking for Fritillaries.

The view from near the Mirador.
I drove up to the Mirador, parked and then walked out to a spot nearby where I was looking for Butterflies, the first species of butterfly seen was a Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) which came up from the grass and sat quite nicely.
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
As I walked around I saw and heard Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Rock (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a calling Scops Owl (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops).
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).
I continued to search the area, I walked down the slope and checked the area around the pool near the bird observatory, in this area I found Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) x2, Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) x1, Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) x3, Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) x11, Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) x1, Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) x2 and several Chapman's Blues (Polyommatus Thersites) x4.
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) Prob Female.

Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) Prob Male.

Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) Prob Male.

There were also several species of wildflower and Orchids, most of the
Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbienis) were over with but a few were still good, the Yellow Bee's (Ophrys lutea) were about the same and both the Pyramidal (Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Small Woodcock's (Ophrys picta) were still in bud.
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).

Wild flowers included Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris),  Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), Common Daisy (Bellis perennis), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Red Vetchling (Lathyrus cicera),  Common Vetch (Vicia sativa), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea), Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Starry Clover (Trifolium stellatum), Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata),   Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) and Lesser Celendine (Ranunculus ficaria).
Chapman's Blue (Polyommatus Thersites) male.
Escher's Blue (Agrodiaetus escheri) male.
Chapman's Blue (Polyommatus Thersites) male.
Escher's Blue (Agrodiaetus escheri) male.
Chapman's Blue (Polyommatus Thersites) male.
As I walked back up towards the car I crossed a meadow that I had been shown a few days earlier by Andy Tweedy and here I found good numbers of Chapman's x6, Panoptes (Pseudophilotes panoptes) x3, Lorquin's (Cupido lorquinii) x2 and Southern Blues (Polyommatus celina) x3, Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua) x8, Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi) x5, Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri) x1, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) x2, Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) x7, Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) x3, Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) x1 and Small White (Pieris rapae) x3.
Southern Blues (Polyommatus celina) male.
Other bird species seen included Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and just before I reached the car I found a nice group of Pink Butterfly Orchids (Orchis papilionacea).
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
Unfortunatey I did not find the Spanish Fritillary (Euphydryas desfontainii) that I had hoped for but guessing that they may be late this year due to the late rains, well I hope so.

Thursday 5 May 2022

El Temple area, Granada Province, Spain.

A brilliant evening working on a Radio Tagging project.
Ebird List for El Temple.

A view over our search area.
I was very pleased to be invited to assist with a Project which François Mougeot is running in conjuction with SEO to tag Sandgrouse with transmitters so that a greater understanding of their movements can be gained to protect the habitats and drinking sites.
Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus).
Anyway we all met at a location near Granada and then headed out on to the area to be worked, whilst it was still light we divided up and check likely looking spots for the birds bo roost. 
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).

Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Juan and I picked a good spot and whilst there we watched a group of 4 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) right up up till dusk so we were sure they roosted in the field.
François fitting the transmitter whilst I held the first male bird.

During the time we were watching these birds we also saw and heard Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra)Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido a/Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Little (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
The female almost ready, just need the straps trimming and she will be away.
As it dropped dark we all met up again but unfortunately Juan had to head off, the news was good as we were sure that the four birds were still on our field and François had another 5 birds on a different field so all we needed to do was wait until it was dark enough.
The first male with the transmitter fully fitted.
Once it had dropped dark we headed on foot to the first field where François and Gaëlle, his daughter (who took all the Grouse shots)  headed off into the field with a Thermal Imaging Camera, Spot light and a net and soon had a stunning Male Sandgrouse in the net ready to be fitted with a transmitter. 
Showing the different wing pattern from the male.
I was very pleased to do the handling on all three birds that were caught, the weight and wing length was taken for each bird and a few feathers were collected for testing.
The female ready for release.

Anyway once the first bird was released we drove to the second spot and the plan worked again but even better this time as François managed to catch a pair of birds which were roosting together.
The second male.

Again these birds were processed and released and at around 01.00 we all headed off home, I was knackered but had a great night helping what I thought would be a very worthwhile project..
The second Male with the Transmitter all ready for the off.
Participants were François Mougeot, Gaëlle Mougeot, Francisco Javier Contreras Parody, Antonia García Vargas, Elena Ballesteros Duperón, Antonio José Álvaro León, Juan Pérez Contreras y Mick Richardson. Thanks all for a great time.
The Male about to be released.

Monday 2 May 2022

Sierra de Loja, Moraleda Fields, El Temple and a disused Cortijo, Granada Province, Spain.

A day up the Sierra and out on the fields with Andy.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Male on the left.
We headed out early and went straight up the Sierra after breakfast, on the way out to the far side where we were hoping to see the uncommon and secretive Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which I had been lucky with recently we saw Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), the Female.
We parked at the spot where I usually see the Thrushes and started to scan and after a short while we found the female on the rocks ahead of us and she was joined moments later by the male who tried to chase her but she stood her ground and after a few second he flew off up on to the crags but she sat there and allow us to get good views.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), the Female.
We backed away again and she continued to collect nest material and just ignored us, in the same area we also picked up Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), good numbers of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and a calling Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), the Female.
We turned around and dropped back down the hill, on the way we added Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) x2, Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) x4, Viola dementria, Iris Subbiflora, Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Andy looking pleased after seeing the Thrushes.
We continued down through the Pines seeing and hearing Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) Male.
Again we dropped down but took the narrow track up to the Middle Quarry, we parked and had nice views of a singing male Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which remained distant but showed well, we also saw Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua) x2, Small White (Pieris rapae) x1, Andalucian Gorse (Ulex baeticus), Serrate Spurge (Euphorbia serrata), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata),  Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Linaria tristris, Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris), Starry Clover (Trifolium stellatum) and Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris).
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Female.
We dropped back down to the Motorway so that we could make our way to the fields near to Maraleda, on the way we saw White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and out on the fields we added Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), lots of both Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), Small (Pieris rapae) x3, Large (Pieris brassicae) x1 and Green-Striped Whites (Euchloe belemia) x10+.
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) singing Male.
We drove across country to the El Temple area where we finished the day off with views of Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) x2, a pale morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and a very nice roosting Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus).
On our way into Granada where I was dropping Andy off we called in at semi-ruined Cortijo where we saw several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and fly by Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).

Sunday 1 May 2022

Arroyo Marin, Mirador Del Alto De Hondonero, Mollina and Fuente de Piedra, Malaga Province, Spain.

A days Birding and Butterfly hunting with two Andy's.

Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).

Andy Mountford and I headed out West into Malaga Province, our first stop was in the wooded Marin Valley where we parked right at the start by the quarry and walked along the main track above the Arroyo.
Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas).
Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum).
In the area around the Quarry we started the list with Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Dense-flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata).
Further along the track we saw and heard several singing Bonelli's Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and a flyby Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
An extreamly tatty, muddy Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) ID by Ed MacKrill.
Along the track side banks we found Dense-flowered (Neotinea maculata), Mirror (Ophrys speculum) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) along with Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Corn (Papaver rhoeas) and Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba), Hollow Stemmed Asphodel (Asphodelus fistulosus), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Mallow-leaved Convolvulus (Convolvulus althaeoides), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) and Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata).
Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbienis) with a Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia), both having seen better days.

Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).

Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus) looking a bit rough.

We turned around and then dropped down onto the track along side the Arroyo and continued on to the bridge adding
Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and at least 3 Painted Lady's (Vanessa cardui).
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
We returned to the car and drove over to Mirador Del Alto De Hondonero, a spot above the town of Villanueva del Rosario where we walked down into an area of grassland with a few pools and scattered Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) trees where we were looking for Butterflies but as in most places due to the weather over the last few weeks they were few and far between.
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus).
However we did find
Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) x1, Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) x4, Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua) x2, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) x1, Large White (Pieris brassicae) 2, Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus) x1 and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) x3.
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus).
As we walked around the site we also added
Western Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) just as we bumped into Andy Tweedy, the warbler putting me on 299 for the year.
Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger).
We had a chat with Andy and he had been equally unsuccessful with the butterflies but he had found a nice flower meadow amongst the rocky areas so we followed him there and added
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) x1 and Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) x3.
Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger).
Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger).
We carried on through the scrub finding
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) on our way up to Andy's car, he gave us a lift up to our car and we then checked the meadow again whilst Andy M did some birding around the view point adding Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) which was a sight better than Andy T and I did as all I added sere a few past their best Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).
After a while I walked back up to Andy M and we headed for Fuente de Piedra, later Andy T sent me a picture of a Spanish Fritillary (Euphydryas desfontainii) he had seen briefly before it disappeared.
Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris).
We arrived at Fuente seeing the Barn Owl (Lechuza Común / Tyto alba) which was sat in amongst the Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) in the tower and then scanned the pool on the way in finding a good selection of birds including at least 8 Black Terns (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) which were my 300th species for the year along with Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) x2, Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) x1, Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus),  Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax).
Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris).
We parked and walked out to the board walk but it was quiet and we only added a calling but unseen Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and a calling Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) as well as at least 5 Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) x1 and Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
Up at the Mirador we saw lots more Greater Flamingo's, Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluvialis squatarola) and around the back in the hide over looking the freshwater pool we saw White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and we finished off back at the Mirador where we managed to pick up the Lesser Flamingo's (Flamenco Enano / Phoenicopterus minor) before heading back to the house.
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).