Wednesday 29 November 2023

29-11-2023 MONTE CORONA, VALENCIA, ALBUFERA - HOUSE CENTIPEDE (Scutigera coleoptrata)

Scutigera coleoptrata, also known as the house centipede, is a species of centipede that is typically yellowish-grey and has up to 15 pairs of long legs. Originating in the Mediterranean region, it has spread to other parts of the world, where it can live in human homes. It is an insectivore; it kills and eats other arthropods, such as insects and arachnids.

In 1758, Carl Linnaeus described the species in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae, giving the name Scolopendra coleoptrata, writing that it has a "coleopterated thorax" (similar to a coleopter). In 1801, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck separated scutigera from scolopendra, calling this species Scutigera coleoptrata. The word scutigera comes from "to bear" (gerere) and "shield" (scutum), because of the shape of the plates in the back of the chilopod.


Ectobius pallidus, the tawny cockroach, is a species of non-cosmopolitan cockroach in the family Ectobiidae. It occurs in southern England, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal; in North Africa: Algeria and Tunisia. It is now known to be introduced into North America.

29-11-2023 RACO DE OLLA, ALBUFERA - CROSS ORBWEAVER SPIDER (Araneus diadematus)

The spider species Araneus diadematus is commonly called the European garden spider, cross orbweaver, diadem spider, orangie, cross spider, and crowned orb weaver. It is sometimes called the pumpkin spider, although this name is also used for a different species, Araneus marmoreus. It is an orb-weaver spider found in Europe, where it is native, and North America, where it was introduced.

A. diadematus has a holarctic distribution throughout Europe and across North America, from southern Canada to Mexico, and from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

29-11-2023 EL SALER, ALBUFERA - EUROPEAN STONECHAT (MALE) (Saxicola rubicola)

The European stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a subspecies of the common stonechat. Long considered a member of the thrush family, Turdidae, genetic evidence has placed it and its relatives in the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae.

European stonechats breed in heathland, coastal dunes and rough grassland with scattered small shrubs and bramble, open gorse, tussocks or heather. They are short-distance migrants or non-migratory, with part of the population (particularly from northeastern parts of the range, where winters are colder) moving south to winter further south in Europe and more widely in north Africa.

The stonechat is 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in) long and weighs 13–17 g (0.46–0.60 oz), slightly smaller than the European robin. Both sexes have distinctively short wings, shorter than those of the more migratory whinchat and Siberian stonechat. The summer male has black upperparts, a black head, an orange throat and breast, and a white belly and vent. It also has a white half-collar on the sides of its neck, a small white scapular patch on the wings, and a very small white patch on the rump often streaked with black. The female has brown upperparts and head, and no white neck patches, rump or belly, these areas being streaked dark brown on paler brown, the only white being the scapular patch on the wings and even this often being buffy-white.

The two subspecies differ in colour intensity following Gloger's rule, with S. r. rubicola paler and with larger white patches in the drier European continental and mediterranean climates, and S. r. hibernans darker brown with less white in the humid Atlantic oceanic climate. They intergrade broadly where their ranges meet, from southeastern England south through France and Spain, and many individuals are not identifiable to subspecies. Extreme examples of S. r. rubicola from the driest southern areas of its range such as the Algarve and Sicily are particularly pale and with a large white rump, and can be very similar to Siberian stonechats in appearance. nDNA microsatellite fingerprinting reveals a very small degree of separation between the two subspecies.

The male's song is high and twittering like a dunnock. Both sexes have a clicking call like stones knocking together.

The European stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a subspecies of the common stonechat. Long considered a member of the thrush family, Turdidae, genetic evidence has placed it and its relatives in the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae.

European stonechats breed in heathland, coastal dunes and rough grassland with scattered small shrubs and bramble, open gorse, tussocks or heather. They are short-distance migrants or non-migratory, with part of the population (particularly from northeastern parts of the range, where winters are colder) moving south to winter further south in Europe and more widely in north Africa.

European stonechats first breed when they are one year old. They are monogamous during the breeding season but do not pair for life. The nest is built entirely by the female and is placed in dense vegetation close to the ground. It is a loose unwoven cup of dried grass lined with hair and feathers. The eggs are laid in early morning at daily intervals. The clutch is typically 4–6 eggs, which are pale blue to greenish-blue with red-brown freckles that are more numerous at the larger end. The average size of an egg is 18.7 mm × 14.4 mm (0.74 in × 0.57 in) with a weight of 2.0 g (0.071 oz). They are incubated for 13–14 days by the female beginning after the last egg is laid. Both parents care for and feed the chicks. They are brooded by the female. The nestlings fledge 12–16 days after hatching but continue to be fed by both parents for a further 4–5 days after which the female begins building a new nest for another brood while the male continues to feed the young for another 5–10 days. The parents raise two or three broods in a season.

European stonechats breed in heathland, coastal dunes and rough grassland with scattered small shrubs and bramble, open gorse, tussocks or heather. They are short-distance migrants or non-migratory, with part of the population (particularly from northeastern parts of the range, where winters are colder) moving south to winter further south in Europe and more widely in north Africa.

29-11-2023 CREU DE LONGA, ALBUFERA - GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

The great egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egret, large egret, or (in the Old World) great white egret or great white heron is a large, widely distributed egret. The four subspecies are found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Recently it is also spreading to more northern areas of Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, it builds tree nests in colonies close to water.

Like all egrets, it is a member of the heron family, Ardeidae. Traditionally classified with the storks in the Ciconiiformes, the Ardeidae are closer relatives of pelicans and belong in the Pelecaniformes, instead. The great egret—unlike the typical egrets—does not belong to the genus Egretta, but together with the great herons is today placed in Ardea. In the past, however, it was sometimes placed in Egretta or separated in a monotypic genus Casmerodius.

The Old World population is often referred to as the "great white egret". This species is sometimes confused with the great white heron of the Caribbean, which is a white morph of the closely related great blue heron.

The scientific name comes from Latin ardea, "heron", and alba, "white".


In appearance it looks like a smaller version of the large white (Pieris brassicae). The upperside is creamy white with black tips on the forewings. Females also have two black spots in the center of the forewings. Its underwings are yellowish with black speckles. It is sometimes mistaken for a moth due to its plain appearance. The wingspan of adults is roughly 32–47 mm (1.3–1.9 in).

Pieris rapae has a wingbeat frequency averaging 12.8 flaps per second.

The small white will readily lay eggs on both cultivated and wild members of the cabbage family, such as charlock (Sinapis arvensis) and hedge mustard (Sisymbrium officinale). P. rapae is known to lay eggs singularly on the host plant. The egg is characterized by a yellowish color and 12 longitudinal ridges. The egg production peaks about a week after adulthood in lab and the female can live up to 3 weeks. Females tend to lay fewer eggs on plants in clumps than on isolated plants. It has been suggested that isothiocyanate compounds in the family Brassicaceae may have been evolved to reduce herbivory by caterpillars of the small white.cepted because the small white has later been shown to be immune to the isothiocyanate forming reaction due to a specific biochemical adaptation. In contrast, the small white and relatives seem to have evolved as a consequence of this biochemical adaptation to the isothiocyanate-forming glucosinolates.


Falco tinnunculus - Common Kestrel
The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It is also known as the European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, or Old World kestrel. In the United Kingdom, where no other kestrel species commonly occurs, it is generally just called "kestrel".

This species occurs over a large range. It is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as occasionally reaching the east coast of North America. It has colonized a few oceanic islands, but vagrant individuals are generally rare; in the whole of Micronesia for example, the species was only recorded twice each on Guam and Saipan in the Marianas.

In the cool-temperate parts of its range, the common kestrel migrates south in winter; otherwise it is sedentary, though juveniles may wander around in search for a good place to settle down as they become mature. It is a diurnal animal of the lowlands and prefers open habitat such as fields, heaths, shrubland and marshland. It does not require woodland to be present as long as there are alternative perching and nesting sites like rocks or buildings. It will thrive in treeless steppe where there are abundant herbaceous plants and shrubs to support a population of prey animals. The common kestrel readily adapts to human settlement, as long as sufficient swathes of vegetation are available, and may even be found in wetlands, moorlands and arid savanna. It is found from the sea to the lower mountain ranges, reaching elevations up to 4,500 m (14,800 ft) ASL in the hottest tropical parts of its range but only to about 1,750 m (5,740 ft) in the subtropical climate of the Himalayan foothills.

Globally, this species is not considered threatened by the IUCN. Its stocks were affected by the indiscriminate use of organochlorines and other pesticides in the mid-20th century, but being something of an r-strategist able to multiply quickly under good conditions it was less affected than other birds of prey. The global population has been fluctuating considerably over the years but remains generally stable; it is roughly estimated at 1–2 million pairs or so, about 20% of which are found in Europe. There has been a recent decline in parts of Western Europe such as Ireland. Subspecies dacotiae is quite rare, numbering less than 1000 adult birds in 1990, when the ancient western Canarian subspecies canariensis numbered about ten times as many birds.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

28-11-2023 RIO SERPIS, GANDIA - EUROPEAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), also known as the waterhen or swamp chicken, is a bird species in the rail family (Rallidae). It is distributed across many parts of the Old World.

The common moorhen lives around well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals and other wetlands. The species is not found in the polar regions or many tropical rainforests. Elsewhere it is likely the most common rail species, except for the Eurasian coot in some regions.

The closely related common gallinule of the New World has been recognized as a separate species by most authorities, starting with the American Ornithologists' Union and the International Ornithological Committee in 2011.

The moorhen is a distinctive species, with predominantly black and brown plumage, with the exception of a white under-tail, white streaks on the flanks, yellow legs and a red frontal shield. The bill is red with a yellow tip. The young are browner and lack the red shield. The frontal shield of the adult has a rounded top and fairly parallel sides; the tailward margin of the red unfeathered area is a smooth waving line. In the related common gallinule (Gallinula galeata) of the Americas, the frontal shield has a fairly straight top and is less wide towards the bill, giving a marked indentation to the back margin of the red area.

The common moorhen gives a wide range of gargling calls and will emit loud hisses when threatened. A midsized to large rail, it can range from 30 to 38 cm (12 to 15 in) in length and span 50 to 62 cm (20 to 24 in) across the wings. The body mass of this species can range from 192 to 500 g (6.8 to 17.6 oz).

This is a common breeding and resident bird in marsh environments, rivers, well-vegetated lakes and even in city parks. Populations in areas where the waters freeze, such as eastern Europe, will migrate to more temperate climates. In China, common moorhen populations are largely resident south of the Yangtze River, whilst northern populations migrate in the winter, therefore these populations show high genetic diversity.

This species will consume a wide variety of vegetable material and small aquatic creatures. They forage beside or in the water, sometimes walking on lilypads or upending in the water to feed. They are often secretive, but can become tame in some areas. Despite loss of habitat in parts of its range, the common moorhen remains plentiful and widespread.

The birds are territorial during breeding season, and will fight with other members of their species, as well as other water birds such as ducks, to drive them out of their territory. The nest is a basket built on the ground in dense vegetation. Laying starts in spring, between mid-March and mid-May in Northern hemisphere temperate regions. About 8 eggs are usually laid per female early in the season; a brood later in the year usually has only 5–8 or fewer eggs. Nests may be re-used by different females. Incubation lasts about three weeks. Both parents incubate and feed the young. These fledge after 40–50 days, become independent usually a few weeks thereafter, and may raise their first brood the next spring. When threatened, the young may cling to the parents' body, after which the adult birds fly away to safety, carrying their offspring with them. 

28-11-2023 RIO SERPIS, GANDIA - EUROPEAN MOORHEN (JUVENILE) (Gallinula chloropus)

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), also known as the waterhen or swamp chicken, is a bird species in the rail family (Rallidae). It is distributed across many parts of the Old World.

The common moorhen lives around well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals and other wetlands. The species is not found in the polar regions or many tropical rainforests. Elsewhere it is likely the most common rail species, except for the Eurasian coot in some regions.

The closely related common gallinule of the New World has been recognized as a separate species by most authorities, starting with the American Ornithologists' Union and the International Ornithological Committee in 2011.


28-11-2023 RIO SERPIS, GANDIA - LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

The Little egret (Egretta garzetta) is small elegant heron in the family Ardeidae. As an aquatic bird, it feeds in shallow water and on land, consuming a variety of small creatures. At one time common in Western Europe, the Little heron was hunted extensively in the 19th century to provide plumes for the decoration of hats and became locally extinct in Northwestern Europe and scarce in the south. Around 1950, conservation laws were introduced in southern Europe to protect the species and their numbers began to increase. 


Spodoptera littoralis, also referred to as the African cotton leafworm or Egyptian cotton leafworm or Mediterranean brocade, is a species of moth in the family Noctuidae. S. littoralis is found widely in Africa, Mediterranean Europe and Middle Eastern countries. It is a highly polyphagous organism that is a pest of many cultivated plants and crops. As a result, this species was assigned the label of A2 quarantine pest by the EPPO and was cautioned as a highly invasive species in the United States. The devastating impacts caused by these pests have led to the development of both biological and chemical control methods. This moth is often confused with Spodoptera litura.

African cotton leafworm is native to Africa and also resides in most regions of Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Syria and Turkey. Specifically, the species' native habitat is F5 (EUNIS code), which is semi-arid and subtropical habitats in pre-saharan Africa. This species has also been found in Southern and Mediterranean Europe, mainly in Spain, France, Italy and Greece. As the African cotton leafworm is prone to cold weather, the species' natural range is limited in the northern regions of Europe such as the United Kingdom. The optimal temperature for the species' reproductive potential is around 25 °C, so areas with lower winter temperatures or fluctuating temperatures show limited species distribution. Studies have shown that temperatures over 40 °C or below 13 °C showed increased in mortality. Combination of high temperature and low humidity are detrimental to the species survival as temperature over 40 °C or below 13 °C tend to increase mortality rate. As a result, S. littoralis resides in regions where temperature fluctuation is rare to feed on variety of host plants, in which the females lay eggs and the larvae primarily grow.

Species distribution mainly occurs through trade when egg or larvae get on the imported ornamentals or crops. Adult moths are often distributed by wind but are also transported by other species. Adult moths fly as well. 

Monday 27 November 2023

11-10-2017 DEVESA, VALENCIA - EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca)

The European pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. One of the four species of Western Palearctic black-and-white flycatchers, it hybridizes to a limited extent with the collared flycatcher. It breeds in most of Europe and across the Western Palearctic. It is migratory, wintering mainly in tropical Africa. It usually builds its nests in holes on oak trees. This species practices polygyny, usually bigamy, with the male travelling large distances to acquire a second mate. The male will mate with the secondary female and then return to the primary female in order to help with aspects of child rearing, such as feeding.

The European pied flycatcher is mainly insectivorous, although its diet also includes other arthropods. This species commonly feeds on spiders, ants, bees and similar prey.

The European pied flycatcher has a very large range and population size and so it is of least concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

27-11-2023 POTRIES, VALENCIA - GREY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)

The grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is a member of the wagtail family, Motacillidae, measuring around 18–19 cm overall length. The species looks somewhat similar to the yellow wagtail but has the yellow on its underside restricted to the throat and vent. Breeding males have a black throat. The species is widely distributed, with several populations breeding in Eurosiberia and migrating to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. The species is always associated with running water when breeding, although they may use man-made structures near streams for the nest. Outside the breeding season, they may also be seen around lakes, coasts and other watery habitats. Like other wagtails, they frequently wag their tail and fly low with undulations and they have a sharp call that is often given in flight.

This slim wagtail has a narrow white supercilium and a broken eye ring. The upperparts are grey and the yellow vent contrasting with whitish underparts makes it distinctive. The breeding male has a black throat that is edged by whitish moustachial stripes. They forage singly or in pairs on meadows or on shallow water marshes. They also use rocks in water and will often perch on trees. They have a clear sharp call note and the song consists of trills.

The breeding season is April to July and the nest is placed near fast running streams or rivers on an embankment between stones and roots. The male in display, makes short flights up into the air and descends slowly with fluttering flight accompanied by a rapid series of chipping high notes. In Europe the nests are often made in holes in manmade structures. The clutch consists of 3–6 speckled eggs and multiple broods may be raised with declining numbers in the clutch in subsequent broods. The usual clutch size is five in Ireland and the breeding success is about 80% with predation of eggs or chicks being the main cause of breeding failure. The Canary Islands population typically have smaller clutches and the breeding season is not as short and well marked as in populations at higher latitudes. The incubation period is about two weeks with chicks fledging within a fortnight. They live for a maximum of 8 years in the wild.

In some parts of its range the white-throated dipper nests in the same habitats as the grey wagtail and there are some records of interspecific feeding of dipper chicks by adult wagtails.

These birds feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates including adult flies, mayflies, beetles, crustacea and molluscs. They often forage along roadsides in winter, flushing with a sharp chi-cheep call and flying up further along the road but after some distance turning back to return to the original location.

In winter, they roost in small groups. Wintering birds have been known to return to the same sites, sometimes a small urban garden, each year.

Adults often have parasitic ticks, Ixodes ricinus, which can harbour Borrelia and thus can potentially disperse Lyme disease over a wide region. Coccidia such as Isospora sp. are known in this species. The common cuckoo is sometimes a brood parasite of this species, and kestrels may sometimes prey on them. 

27-11-2023 POTRIES, VALENCIA - EPAULET SKIMMER (MALE) (Orthetrum chrysostigma)

Orthetrum chrysostigma, the epaulet skimmer, is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae. It is found in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly Burundi as well as Canary Islands, Israel, and Portugal. It was recorded in the Maltese Islands in 2010. One was also spotted in Tel Aviv, Israel in August 2022.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, rivers, intermittent rivers, shrub-dominated wetlands, swamps, freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, and freshwater springs. The adults prey on various flying insects. The bodies of adult males are blue, and those of young and females are yellow and brown. 

Sunday 26 November 2023

25-11-2023 MONTE CORONA, VALENCIA - MULLEIN WAVE MOTH (Scopula marginepunctata)

Scopula marginepunctata, the mullein wave, is a moth of the family Geometridae. It was described by Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1781. It is found throughout Europe.

Scopula marginepunctata occurs in Europe from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Ural mountains in the east. In the north, the range extends to the south coast of England, the southern Netherlands and the German Baltic Sea coast. However the species is missing in parts of northern Germany. There are isolated occurrences on Bornholm, Skåne and the southern Baltic. In the south, the range extends in North Africa from Morocco in the west to Egypt. The distribution ranges from there further over the Middle East, Asia minor, the Caucasus, northern Iran, Central Asia and Mongolia.

The moth flies in two generations from mid-May to September and the larva feeds on yarrow and mugwort.

26-11-2023 BENICOLET, VALENCIA - EUROPEAN STONECHAT (MALE) (Saxicola rubicola)

The European stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a subspecies of the common stonechat. Long considered a member of the thrush family, Turdidae, genetic evidence has placed it and its relatives in the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae.

European stonechats breed in heathland, coastal dunes and rough grassland with scattered small shrubs and bramble, open gorse, tussocks or heather. They are short-distance migrants or non-migratory, with part of the population (particularly from northeastern parts of the range, where winters are colder) moving south to winter further south in Europe and more widely in north Africa.


This owl usually perches in an elevated position ready to swoop down on any small creature it notices. It feeds on prey such as insects and earthworms, as well as small vertebrates including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. It may pursue prey on the ground and it caches surplus food in holes or other hiding places. A study of the pellets of indigestible material that the birds regurgitate found mammals formed 20 to 50% of the diet and insects 24 to 49%. Mammals taken included mice, rats, voles, shrews, moles and rabbits. The birds were mostly taken during the breeding season and were often fledglings, and including the chicks of game birds. The insects included Diptera, Dermaptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. Some vegetable matter (up to 5%) was included in the diet and may have been ingested incidentally.

The little owl is territorial, the male normally remaining in one territory for life. However, the boundaries may expand and contract, being largest in the courtship season in spring. The home range, in which the bird actually hunts for food, varies with the type of habitat and time of year. Little owls with home-ranges that incorporate a high diversity of habitats are much smaller (< 2 ha) than those which breed in monotonous farmland (with home-ranges over 12 ha). Larger home-ranges result in increased flight activity, longer foraging trips and fewer nest visits. If a male intrudes into the territory of another, the occupier approaches and emits its territorial calls. If the intruder persists, the occupier flies at him aggressively. If this is unsuccessful, the occupier repeats the attack, this time trying to make contact with his claws. In retreat, an owl often drops to the ground and makes a low-level escape. The territory is more actively defended against a strange male as compared to a known male from a neighbouring territory; it has been shown that the little owl can recognise familiar birds by voice.

The little owl is partly diurnal and often perches boldly and prominently during the day. If living in an area with a large amount of human activity, little owls may grow used to humans and will remain on their perch, often in full view, while people are around. The little owl has a life expectancy of about 16 years. However, many birds do not reach maturity; severe winters can take their toll and some birds are killed by road vehicles at night, so the average lifespan may be on the order of 3 years.

This owl becomes more vocal at night as the breeding season approaches in late spring. The nesting location varies with habitat, nests being found in holes in trees, in cliffs, quarries, walls, old buildings, river banks and rabbit burrows. A clutch of 3 to 5 eggs is laid (occasionally 2 to 8). The eggs are broadly elliptical, white and without gloss; they measure about 35.5 by 29.5 mm (1.40 by 1.16 in). They are incubated by the female who sometimes starts sitting after the first egg is laid. While she is incubating the eggs, the male brings food for her. The eggs hatch after 28 or 29 days. At first the chicks are brooded by the female and the male brings in food which she distributes to them. Later, both parents are involved in hunting and feeding them. The young leave the nest at about 7 weeks, and can fly a week or two later. Usually there is a single brood but when food is abundant, there may be two. The energy reserves that little owl chicks are able to build up when in the nest influences their post-fledgling survival, with birds in good physical condition having a much higher chance of survival than those in poor condition. When the young disperse, they seldom travel more than about 20 km (12 mi). Pairs of birds often remain together all year round and the bond may last until one partner dies.

26-11-2023 BENICOLET, VALENCIA - LITTLE OWL (Athene noctua)

The little owl (Athene noctua), also known as the owl of Athena or owl of Minerva, is a bird that inhabits much of the temperate and warmer parts of Europe, the Palearctic east to Korea, and North Africa. It was introduced into Britain at the end of the 19th century and into the South Island of New Zealand in the early 20th century.

This owl is a member of the typical or true owl family Strigidae, which contains most species of owl, the other grouping being the barn owls, Tytonidae. It is a small, cryptically coloured, mainly nocturnal species and is found in a range of habitats including farmland, woodland fringes, steppes and semi-deserts. It feeds on insects, earthworms, other invertebrates and small vertebrates. Males hold territories which they defend against intruders. This owl is a cavity nester and a clutch of about four eggs is laid in spring. The female does the incubation and the male brings food to the nest, first for the female and later for the newly hatched young. As the chicks grow, both parents hunt and bring them food, and the chicks leave the nest at about seven weeks of age.

Being a common species with a wide range and large total population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as "least concern".

 The little owl is widespread across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Its range in Eurasia extends from the Iberian Peninsula and Denmark eastwards to China and southwards to the Himalayas. In Africa it is present from Mauritania to Egypt, the Red Sea and Arabia. It was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 19th century, and has spread across much of England and the whole of Wales. It was introduced to Otago in New Zealand by the local acclimatisation society in 1906, and to Canterbury a little later, and is now widespread in the eastern and northern South Island; it is partially protected under Schedule 2 of New Zealand's Wildlife Act 1953, whereas most introduced birds explicitly have no protection or are game birds.

Little owls often nest in hollow tree trunks (Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve, Norfolk)

This is a sedentary species that is found in open countryside in a great range of habitats. These include agricultural land with hedgerows and trees, orchards, woodland verges, parks and gardens, as well as steppes and stony semi-deserts. It is also present in treeless areas such as dunes, and in the vicinity of ruins, quarries and rocky outcrops. It sometimes ventures into villages and suburbs. In the United Kingdom it is chiefly a bird of the lowlands, and usually occurs below 500 m (1,600 ft). In continental Europe and Asia it may be found at much higher elevations; one individual was recorded from 3,600 m (12,000 ft) in Tibet.

Saturday 25 November 2023


The cream-striped darwin wasp does not hibernate in the winter, instead, it disappears for a few months in the late spring and early summer. Instead of depositing their eggs in word-borne holes, females use caterpillars. The female lays her eggs inside the caterpillars of different species of nocturnal moths.

Cream-striped darwin wasp is a type of parasitoid wasp that belongs to the family Ichneumonidae. It is known to parasitize caterpillars of various moth species.

Habitat is open or semi-open grassland and heath.

Adult drinks nectar.

Larva eats internal tissues of caterpillars of tiger moths, noctuids, giant silkworm moths, and satyrids. 

Wednesday 22 November 2023

22-11-2023 EL PINET, ALICANTE - NOMAD DRAGONFLY (MALE) (Sympetrum fonscolombii)

The red-veined darter or nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a dragonfly of the genus Sympetrum.

There is genetic and behavioural evidence that S. fonscolombii is not closely related to the other members of the genus Sympetrum and it will at some time in the future be removed from this genus.

Sympetrum fonscolombii was named under the protonym Libellula fonscolombii by the Belgian entomologist Edmond de Sélys Longchamps, in 1840, in honor of the French entomologist Étienne of Fonscolombe (hence the species name). Its name is sometimes spelt fonscolombei instead of fonscolombii but Askew (2004) gives the latter as the correct spelling.

Sympetrum fonscolombii is a widespread and common species in much of central and southern Europe including most Mediterranean islands, North Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia, south-western Asia, including the Indian Subcontinent, the Indian Ocean Islands and Sri Lanka. In Europe it is resident in the south of its range but in some years it migrates northward. From the 1990s onwards has increasingly been found in northwest Europe, including Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Britain and Ireland. It is the only Libellulidae to be found in the Azores and it is also found on the Canary Islands and Madeira.

It breeds in a wide range of habitats including marshes, lakes, ponds, permanent and seasonal rivers. It is able to recolonize dry areas after a rainfall.

22-11-2023 EL FONDO, ALICANTE - BLACK WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

The black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed, very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family Recurvirostridae. Its scientific name, Himantopus himantopus, is sometimes used to generalize a single, almost cosmopolitan species. Alternatively, it is restricted to the form that is widespread in Europe, Asia and Africa, which equals the nominate group of H. himantopus sensu lato. Meanwhile, the black-necked (H. mexicanus) and white-backed stilts (H. melanurus) both inhabit the Americas; the pied stilt (H. leucocephalus) ranges from Australasia and New Zealand. Today, most sources accept between one and four actual species. The taxonomic name Himantopus comes from Greek, meaning "strap-foot" or "thong-foot".

Adults are 33–36 cm (13–14 in) long, with long, pink legs, and a long, rather thin black bill. The birds are generally black above and white below, with a white head and neck (with a varying amount of black, species-dependent). Males have a black back, often with a greenish gloss or sheen. Females' backs have a brownish hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In populations where the top of the head is normally white (at least in winter), females tend to have less black on the head and neck the entire year-round, while males often have much more black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually grow all-white head feathers in winter.[citation needed]

Immature birds are grey, instead of black, and have a markedly sandy hue on their wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight.

The breeding habitat of all these stilts is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter; those in warmer regions are generally resident or short-range vagrants. In Europe, the black-winged stilt is a regular spring overshoot vagrant north of its normal range, occasionally remaining to breed in northern European countries. Pairs successfully bred in Britain in 1987, and after a 27-year hiatus there were two instances of successful breeding in Southern England in 2014. 13 young were fledged in southern England in 2017.Four chicks were successfully fledged in northern England in 2022; this is believed to be the most northerly breeding success for the black-winged stilt.

These birds pick up their food from sand or water. They eat mainly insects and crustaceans.

The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with avocets. 

22-11-2023 EL FONDO, ALICANTE - BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica)

The bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It, and similar small European species, are often called chats.

It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in wet birch wood or bushy swamp in Europe and across the Palearctic with a foothold in western Alaska. It nests in tussocks or low in dense bushes. It winters in the Iberian Peninsular, the northern half of Africa, and in southern Asia (among others including the Indian subcontinent).

The bluethroat bird is similar in size to the European robin at 13–14 cm. It is plain brown above except for the distinctive black tail with red side patches. It has a strong white supercilium. Despite the distinctive appearance of the males, recent genetic studies show only limited variation between the forms, and confirm that this is a single species. Moults begins in July after breeding and are completed in 40–45 days, before the birds migrate.

The male has a varied and very imitative song. Its call is a typical chat chack noise. 

22-11-2023 EL PINET, ALICANTE - PLAIN TIGER BUTTERFLY (Danaus chrysippus)

Danaus chrysippus, also known as the plain tiger, African queen, or African monarch, is a medium-sized butterfly widespread in Asia, Australia and Africa. It belongs to the Danainae subfamily of the brush-footed butterfly family Nymphalidae. Danainae primarily consume plants in the genus Asclepias, more commonly called milkweed. Milkweed contains toxic compounds, cardenolides, which are often consumed and stored by many butterflies. Because of their emetic properties, the plain tiger is unpalatable to most predators. As a result, its coloration is widely mimicked by other species of butterflies. The plain tiger inhabits a wide variety of habitats, although it is less likely to thrive in jungle-like conditions and is most often found in drier, wide-open areas.

D. chrysippus encompasses three main subspecies: D. c. alcippus, D. c. chrysippus, and D. c. orientis. These subspecies are found concentrated in specific regions within the larger range of the entire species.

The plain tiger is believed to be one of the first butterflies depicted in art. A 3,500-year-old ancient Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest known illustration of this species.

The plain tiger is found across the entirety of Africa, where the predominant subspecies is D. c. alcippus. Its range extends across the majority of Asia throughout Indian subcontinent, as well as many south Pacific islands. The plain tiger is even present in parts of Australia. D. c. chrysippus is most common throughout Asia and in some select regions in Africa, while D. c. orientis is present in more tropical African regions as well as some African islands, including Madagascar and the Seychelles. It is also found in Southern Europe and Kuwait. These insects are considered bioinvaders in North America.

The plain tiger prefers arid, open areas, and is found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, mountains, deciduous forests, and human-tended gardens in cities and parks. It is comfortable at altitudes ranging from sea level to around 1,500 m (4,900 ft).

Tuesday 21 November 2023

20-11-2023 MONTE CORONA, VALENCIA - WAVE MOTH (idaea cervantaria)

Small moth of the Geometridae family; It is distributed in southeastern France, the Iberian Peninsula and northwest Africa; present in the warm areas of the Iberian Peninsula.
Geometric shape, with the front wings ending in a sharp edge and the rear wings with a wide and rounded shape; gray background color, this gray can be darker, lighter or with an ocher tone; Two irregular lines are drawn on the wings, one proximal and one distal on the wing dorsum, a dark dot on each wing, a subterminal dark line formed by small black strokes, unlike other Idaea, which only have a subterminal dotted line; long ocher fimbriae.
It lives in dry and sunny places, rocky slopes.
They fly in one generation a year, the months of May to July.

Monday 20 November 2023


Spoladea recurvalis, the beet webworm moth or Hawaiian beet webworm moth, is a species of moth of the family Crambidae. It is found worldwide, but mainly in the tropics.

The wingspan is 22–24 mm. The moth flies from May to September depending on the location.

The larvae feed on spinach, beet, cotton, maize and soybean. They feed on the underside of the leaves protected by a slight web. The larvae are green and resemble the ribs of the leaf somewhat. When fully grown, they are about 19 mm long.

The pupa is formed within a slight cocoon in a folded piece of leaf. It is very pale brown. The pupal period lasts about 12 days. Adult moths are nectarivores and capable of long-distance flights. 


20-11-2023 MONTE CORONA, VALENCIA - WESTERN CONIFER SEED BUG (Leptoglossus occidentalis)

The western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis), sometimes abbreviated as WCSB, is a species of true bug (Hemiptera) in the family Coreidae. It is native to North America west of the Rocky Mountains (California to British Columbia, east to Idaho and Nevada) but has in recent times expanded its range to eastern North America, to include Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and has become an accidental introduced species in parts of Europe and Argentina.

This species is a member of the insect family Coreidae, or leaf-footed bugs, which also includes the similar Leptoglossus phyllopus and Acanthocephala femorata, both known as the "Florida leaf-footed bug". Western conifer seed bugs are sometimes colloquially called stink bugs. While they do use a foul-smelling spray as a defense, they are not classified in the stink bug family Pentatomidae. In Chile, it has been confused with kissing bugs (Triatominae), causing unjustified alarm.

This insect is common in its native range along the temperate and warmer regions of the Pacific coast of North America and has steadily expanded eastwards. On its native continent, L. occidentalis has been located as far northeast as Nova Scotia.

In Europe, this species was first reported in 1999 from northern Italy; it had probably been accidentally imported with timber and, as it seems, more than once, as its presence was subsequently reported from that country almost simultaneously from locations a considerable distance apart. By 2007, it had established itself in the northern Balkans (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia), the Alps (Austria, Switzerland), and parts of the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Hungary; in 2003, it was found to occur in Spain, though this population probably derives from a separate introduction. The 2007 records from Weymouth College (England) and Ostend (Belgium) might also represent one or two further independent introductions. In late 2007, it was found at Wrocław and Miechów (Poland); these animals probably represent a further range expansion out of the Czech Republic. During the autumn of 2008, a large influx of this species arrived on the south coast of England, indicating natural immigration from continental Europe. In late 2009, a large group of western conifer seed bugs invaded Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. The same thing happened in October 2012 in most of the cities of the French Alps, like Moûtiers. In 2017 it appears for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere, with several records from Chile.