Saturday 3 August 2013

Arroyo del Marin, Archidona

Is he a lucky male European Dwarf Mantis Ameles spallanzania?  (See below)
Whilst I am sorting out swimming pool problems at home and more and more getting birding withdrawal symptoms, John and Jenny Wainwright are making the best of the lovely weather and getting out and about all over the place.  Their latest expedition took them to that beautiful wooded valley near Archidona know as the Arroyo del Marin.  And quite a treat they seem to have had judging by the following report.

Arroyo del Marin (Archidonna) 2nd August 2013

A very hot day (105F) but a welcome breeze every now and then.

We had finished our business in Villanueva del Trabuco, so we popped over to Marin for a couple of hours. There were a few House Martins, Barn Swallows, Corn Buntings, Collared Doves and House Sparrows seen on the way to the arroyo.

Just prior to parking at our usual place below the ruin, two juvenile Woodchat Shrikes flew out of a walnut tree and as we got out of the car we could hear the Bee-eaters and the Golden Orioles, the former above us and the latter in the trees close by.  We had good views of both these species before we left.

Distant Short-toed Eagle Culebrera Europea Circaetus gallicus
Lots of Wood Pigeons clattered out of the trees as we walked the upstream path.  Here we saw Great Tits, Spotted Flycatchers and Crossbills.  While we were searching for the Crossbills a Short-toed Eagle circled lazily overhead then disappeared over towards Archidonna.  On our way back to the car a Green Woodpecker flew across our rear and into the trees at the stream but we couldn´t locate and it never called again either.  A few Blackbirds were seen as well as two Goldfinches and a small family of Long-tailed TitsHawfinches were calling but it wasn´t until later that we saw them.

Mulberry Tree Morus cf. nigra

I then walked downstream toward the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) to see if I could locate the Two-tailed Pasha butterfly (Charaxes jasius)but dipped here, the fruit is not ripe here yet. The Mulberry Tree (Morus cf. nigra) is in fruit and very tasty too.  Lots of Azure-winged Magpies about down this end as well as more juvenile Woodchat ShrikesSerins, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinches, Long-tailed Tits, Spotted Flycatchers and Short-toed Treecreepers were also noted.
On my return to the car Jenny pointed out a Blue Rock Thrush and its offspring on the cliff face. She had also seen the Hawfinches and Golden Orioles and an adult Woodchat Shrike was seen also.

Iberian Ibex Capra pyrenaica

As we were leaving the arroyo three Iberian Ibex (Capra pyrenaica) were coming down to drink at the stream.

Dark Crimson Underwing Moth Catocala sponsa
Lots of dragonflies/damselflies about here, and a good few species of butterflies/moths including Large and Small White, Brimstone, Cleopatra, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Small Copper, Grayling, Common Blue, Brown Argus and our first Dark Crimson Underwing Moth (Catocala sponsa).  I did happen to find a European Dwarf Mantis (Ameles spallanzania).  They are only about twenty millimetres in size and one of the few mantids that don´t eat there mate whilst mating.  (That must be very reassuring for the male!)

  All photographs by and courtesy of John Wainwright

Many thanks John and Jenny for sharing your experience with us all.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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