Tuesday 29 November 2022

Sally Lightfoot.

 One of the highlights from the trip to Fuerteventura was a very short session photographing one of the Sally Lightfoot crabs that was on the shoreline rocks.

This crab is apparently named after a famous Caribbean dancer as the crab can move with great agility in all directions.

It is also a very beautiful species that was certainly worth spending some moments with. A few of the clients went out on the rocks to photograph the crab and I watched from further back deciding that as I got some photos last year I would hold back. However, a few minutes later I noticed that the crab had moved to a position on a higher rock that I thought would give a wonderful backdrop with the sea behind it so I changed my mind and went out onto the rocks to get some shots. A bit of luck with the timing also meant I got a shot just as a wave was hitting the crab. almost certainly my favourite photo from the trip. I also got a photo of the red male with a female next to the male that I didn't even notice at the time!!

Sally Lightfoot Crab and a wave.

Male and Female Sally Lightfoot Crab.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Plain Tiger.

 One of the butterfly species on our Fuerteventura trip this year that was found in greater numbers than last year was the Plain Tiger.

It was found in several sites, including the same one as last year and once again we found some of the caterpillars feeding on Apple of Sodom. We also found several female butterflies egg laying on the same plant, and one egg I actually saw being laid.

Nearby a few male Plain Tiger were seen feeding on minerals on the path in an area where a water pipe had been damaged so some water had gathered.

This is a really beautiful species that is closely related to the Monarch, which we also saw in better numbers this year.

Male Plain Tiger feeding on minerals.

Female Plain Tiger looking for eggs laying spots.

Plain Tiger larva feeding on Apple of Sodom.

Plain Tiger egg on the same plant.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Fuerteventura Pt.1

 I have recently returned from co-leading a Naturetrek tour to Fuerteventura for the 2nd year running. After the drought of last year, this year was a lot greener as the island has had much more rain in recent weeks. This has probably affected the wildlife seen as some species were much easier whilst several were much harder this year.

I will start with some of the birds seen in the Hotel gardens and surrounding area.

Every day Egyptian Vultures were seen flying over, or sitting on the ground feeding near some goat pens on the nearby hillside. Both the darker juveniles and adults were seen with up to 9 at a time. A single Hoopoe was also seen, but only by myself, although one was seen further afield late in the trip. Spanish Sparrows were also in good numbers around the grounds. A Yellow-browed Warbler was very evident each day as it called often. Barbary Partridge occasionally came into the gardens to feed. Probably the most beautiful bird was a superb Fuerteventura Blue Tit that also called regularly. This bird is so much brighter coloured than our garden Blue Tits back home. Both Collared Doves and Laughing Doves were regular. Missing were the Corn Buntings, presumably with more vegetation in the wider area they were finding food easier away from the grounds.

Juvenile Egyptian Vulture bearing ring number A76.

Yellow-browed Warbler.

Male Spanish Sparrow.

Laughing Dove.

Friday 11 November 2022

Scarce Bordered Straw.

 With the unprecedented influx of Crimson Speckled I put the moth trap out on all the reasonable nights hoping to catch one in the garden. Unfortunately I was not successful, but I did get a few new moths including notable migrant moths.

Earlier in the year I caught some Bordered Straw, but until now I hadn't had the Scarce Bordered Straw, which despite the name is probably the more numerous of the two species!! However, during this extra effort with the trap I did catch at least 5 of the Scarce Bordered Straw and saw the variation in the species with some being much lighter than others.

Scarce Bordered Straws.

A very nice Vestal was also caught as well as my first ever Gem and Brick. (Who thought up some of these names)!!