Friday, May 20, 2022

πŸ“– Cantera los Arenales ~ Birding Spain πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ May 2022

🌀24C Friday 20th May 2022 ~ Today was quite hazy and occasionally overcast so I took an afternoon walk up the old quarry at Mijas, Cantera Los Arenales site details can be found HERE or by clicking on the Spain πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ tab at the top of my blog.

The quarry looks down towards Fuengirola as you commence your assent.

It's a steep climb on the particular route I prefer to take but it's well worth it, when at around 775 meters you get stunning views across the Sierra de Mijas. Crested Tit, Firecrest, Crossbill and Short-toed Treecreeper can all be found quite easily in the woodlands which are dominated by repopulated pines, along with Holm Oaks and indeed all species were seen today.  

Black Wheatear on the fencing that looks down to the quarry

However, it's always worth checking the car park area before heading up. Here, you can find resident Black Wheatear, which seems to sing at any time of year, Rock Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, and occasionally I've managed Dartford Warbler, although not on today's visit.

Rock Buntings can be hard work in the bright sunshine, especially with their amazingly apt camouflaged plumage, although today with a little cloud cover and patience I managed two.

Rock Bunting ~ Blending into the background

There are a few more butterfly species appearing now and a couple of very pristine Spanish Gatekeepers were noted, along with a brief glimpse of a Western Dappled White

Spanish Gatekeeper

Western Dappled White

At my turnaround point, I usually pause for an hour or so to enjoy the scenery. Here you can find Crag Martin and later in early autumn Alpine Swifts. Today I had neither but did enjoy watching a couple of displaying Booted Eagles, which at one stage were rudely interrupted by a passing Peregrine

Booted Eagle

There were a few Painted Ladies on the wing while I sat and a passing dragonfly, which didn't pause for ID but I then noticed two or three yellow coloured insects flying a little like dragonflies. It took a while but one did eventually land. I was quite excited as I knew this was a new species for me and having researched briefly when I arrived back decided on Owly Sulphur, quite rare by all accounts. However, with the help of INaturalist, I've now reidentified as Libelloides cunii a genus of lacewings belonging to the owlfly family subfamily Ascalaphinae. The species of this genus are present in most of Europe. They inhabit dry meadows or dry coniferous forests. So not as rare as hoped but still a new species for me!

Libelloides cunii is a genus of lacewings belonging to the owlfly family

More Images & Videos of the Day...

Top of my chosen route overlooking Sierra de Mijas

Subfamily Pimeliinae

Spiny-footed Lizard

Black Wheatear at the car park.

Young Iberian Ibex