Nocturnal Safari

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day and night at a splendid dinner-pool-party in the country and of course, like most people who go to a house party, I like to take a walk at night to go look for nocturnal wildlife. A quick stroll away from the parcela, and through the urbanisation proved pretty fruitful. Despite not seeing the Barn and Scops owls we had hoped to see, I FINALLY saw my first male Rhinocerous Beetle, along with a female too. Other than these glorious specimens, a strange addition was the Diving Beetle crossing the road, and finally a lovely Blaps, a genus of beetles very close to my heart. 

European Rhinoceros Beetle - Escarabajo rinoceronte europeo - Oryctes nasicornis

Dysticus sp.
Dysticus sp. (underside)
European Rhinoceros Beetle - Escarabajo rinoceronte europeo - Oryctes nasicornis
Blaps mortisaga
 Lately, other than a brief trip to Petrola and Corral Rubio where I saw my very long-awaited first Purple Swamphen, and an even briefer couple of trips to Chinchilla, nature has once again taken a bit of a back seat. The past couple months have had their ups and downs, but now it's summer which means a hell of a lot of free time, and braving the scorching heat to devote more time to the things I love doing.
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Playa time

Today marked my first beach day of the season, but of course I couldn't spend the day in one of my favourite places without wandering off on my own to see what flora and fauna was on offer for the day. An hours walk did not disappoint! Here are my findings from my day near Alicante...

Spiny-footed Lizard - Lagartija colirroja - Acanthodactylus erythurus
Bloody-nosed Beetle - Escarabajo de la nariz sangrante - Timarcha tenebricosa

Spiny-footed Lizard - Lagartija colirroja - Acanthodactylus erythurus
Woodchat Shrike - Alcaudón común - Lanius senator
Swallowtail - Macaón - Papilio machaon 

Audouin's Gull - Gaviota de Audouin - Icthyaetus audouinii
Audouin's Gull - Gaviota de Audouin - Icthyaetus audouinii 

Woodchat Shrike - Alcaudón común - Lanius senator

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The Natrix

Today I went to Chinchilla for the first time in too long. I caught the bus, bought a few unhealthy snacks and some water and the shop, and set off for what was to be quite a long wander. In terms of birds, many were heard but not so many seen, however amongst them were Serins, Goldfinches, Mistle Thrushes, (and a Short-toed Treecreeper on the way to the bus station in Albacete). 
        The flora was out in full force, with some amazing blooms like the enourmous Asphodelus scattered amongst the 'espartal', and beautiful Cistus clusii, along with many Helianthemum and a single flower of Cistus albidus. 
        The highlight, however, other than two very interesting inverts (one of which I was able to photograph badly, the other not at all) was my best ever views and my second experience of seeing a Viperine Snake Natrix maura. As I zoomed in with my camera on what I had believed was a frog, I saw it was in fact a snake's head. What was bizarre was how the snake seemed to be almost bathing in the water, on a day that was warm but not exactly hot. After a few minutes observing, it disappeared beneath the water, coming up to the surface some seconds later for a quick dose of air before returning below. I decided to leave it be, and after about an hour or more's walk decided to return to the village to rest before catching my bus home. 
        Waiting at the bus stop I was lucky enough to see two Spanish Ibex (always a treat), before hopping on the bus back to Albacete. Overall, a pretty good afternoon though I've struggled to get my eye in and see the little things I used to be so great at spotting, but I'm going to try and change that with more Saturday afternoon trips to Chinchilla over the coming weeks. 

Viperine Snake - Culebra viperina - Natrix maura
Serin - Verdecillo - Serinus serinus
Asphodelus sp.

Romero macho - Cistus clusii
Asphodelus sp.
Lino blanco - Linum suffruticosum
Lino blanco - Linum suffruticosum
Spanish Blue Flax - Lino azul - Linum narborense ?

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Madrid and Castilla y Leon

Argynnis pandora Cardinal
Lacerta scheriberi Iberian Emerald Lizard
Garrulus glandarius Eurasian Jay

Spot the Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)
Vespa crabro European Hornet 
Pinus sylvestris L.   Scots Pine 

Pelophylax perezi  Perez's Frog
Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Sitta europaea  Eurasian Nuthatch
Segovia Cathedral
Segovia Cathedral and Castle as the sun begins to set 

Ficedula hypoleuca   European Pied Flycatcher
Pica pica  Eurasian Magpie
The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

Hibiscus schizopetalus in The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid
Vertical Garden in Madrid

Terrapins in Atocha Station