April 2015

Southern Spain
5th-20th April 2015 pt. 2

Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus)

Water levels were very low at the main visitor's centre at El Acebuche and all the lagoons were completely dry. Although this meant there were no water birds here, I looked upon this as a stroke of good fortune as it meant most of the tourists didn't bother walking along the trails to the hides and I was left in peace to photograph an obliging flock of Azure-winged Magpies that were gorging themselves on flying termites.

Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) feeding on emerging winged termites

Azure-winged Magpies are generally quite shy, but this flock was too engrossed in taking advantage of the short-lived, synchronised mass emergence of the termites to bother paying much attention to me and were often feeding less than arm's length away from where I was sitting on the boardwalk.

Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus)

The frantic activity didn't last long, however, and within half an hour of it starting all the winged termites in the area had emerged and dispersed and the Azure-winged Magpies reverted to their usual behaviour of keeping their distance.

Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus)

Nightingales are one of the commonest birds in southern Spain and, at times, it seemed like they were singing from practically every bush.

Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchus)

Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita)

Unlike in Britain, where the Natterjack Toad is an endangered species, Natterjacks are abundant in southern Spain.

Camponotus cruentatus grooming each other

At around 12mm in length, Camponotus cruentatus is one of the largest ants in Europe and was fairly common in the Cork Oak woodlands. Unlike most of the other large European wood ant species, C. cruentatus build their nests underground, often under a rock that is exposed to the sun, the radiated heat increasing the rate of development of their young.

Camponotus cruentatus

Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros)

Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)

Beetle sp. (Coleoptera)

Common Tongue Orchid (Serapis lingua)

Common Tongue Orchid (Serapis lingua)

Common Tongue Orchid (Serapis lingua)

French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Large Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea)

Iberian Water Frog (Pelophylax perezi)

Intermediate Periwinkle (Vinca difformis)

Intermediate Periwinkle (Vinca difformis)

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris)

Barbary Nut (Gynandriris sisyrinchium)

5th-20th April 2015 (Southern Spain) pt.1 2015 index 16th-30th April 2015 (Switzerland) pt.1