Argiope bruennichi

Argiope spiders

Argiope is a genus of spiders which include some impressive beasts. The one photographed most is Argiope bruennichi commonly called a Wasp Spider for obvious reasons.Argiope bruennichi


I also came across this one in Southern Spain called Argiope lobata, not as colourful but quite big and with peculiar white bumps on its back. Also if you look closely it has a long tubular shaped head which is quite odd for a spider.Argiope lobata


Swallowtail; Papilio machaon

Not many Butterflies about at this time of year in Andalucia, commonest is the Clouded yellow.  There are some small white jobs about but I have to confess I have not taken to much attention of them.

Then I saw this one a couple of days ago…quite a beauty.

More birds along the Rio Guadalquivir

Apart from a Purple Gallinule which I was delighted to see, there was lots of other interesting stuff.

This is a marshland area, but its salt marsh as the river is tidal, big ships come up all the way to Seville.

There are tidal lagoons, this one had lots of Black-winged Stilts and a few Spoonbills. There is a bird hide but I was not sure how to get to it…swim maybe.

Plenty of small brown jobs, commonest ones were Crested Larks, Fan-tailed Warblers, Stonechats, Cetti’s warblers and Chiffchafs…. always Chiffchafs.

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Not bad for raptors, I saw 4 species which were Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. I am never sure if it is a Kestrel or Lesser Kestrel, both are found in this area.

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An interesting little bird is the Waxbill, a pair turned up whilst I was waiting for a good view of the Purple Gallinule…. you have seen my Purple Gallinule haven’t you?  I am sure you would like to!

Also a rabbit made an appearance.

And there were several Moorish Geckos on an old building enjoying the sun…  Moorish like chocolate truffles or Turkish Delight?…. no North African.

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Spotted this one on the East bank of the river Guadalquivir.

This is a major river which divides Andalucia with the province of Huelva on one bank and Cadiz on the other. Where we are staying in Sanlucar de Barrameda is on the east bank and at the estuary, on the opposite bank is the famous Coto Donana reserve. You can cross over by ferry but access is highly restricted, no roads and really you can only walk or cycle along the beach.

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However on our side there are extensive marshes and some reasonable roads so most of the bird life that you get in Donana also occurs here. Including this rather stunning bird.

At first I only heard it, there were some Coots about and also a Moorhen but it was too noisy for them and also made lots of low sonorous almost snoring noises with the odd more coot like cluck.

It was deep in the reeds, so I waited and watched, not knowing what to expect, then I saw some movement and got a smidgen of a view,   Purple, bright purple so then I knew and I waited and eventually got a couple of shots where you could see its head with the red eye and red bill.

I did get a couple of shots of its rear end which is also quite distinctive and diagnostic but there was no doubt about what it was. Unfortunately it stayed put, deep in cover so that was the best I got. Eventually it started to get dark so it was time to give up.

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However whilst watching the Gallinule also called a Swamp Hen I was entertained by a Sparrowhawk flying by,  a pair of Cetti’s warblers, a pair of Waxbills ( introduced originally to Portugal and now spreading),  a  Marsh Harrier, and lots of Chiffchafs, also a rabbit briefly appeared and a horse walked past on the other bank.


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Sanlucar waders

There are some rocky areas a little walk along from where we are staying and at low tide they are exposed and a small selection of waders turn up.  So today I sat on one of the rocks for  a couple of hours and photographed what decided I was not too great a  threat and thus approached a bit closer.

First was a Bar-tailed Godwit, probing in the sand for a juicy worm. You can see the bars on it tail.

The commonest birds there are Turnstones and I did get a shot of one turning a stone.

Second commonest are Sanderlings, delightful little birds, always on the move.

There were some Plovers, mostly Kentish but also some Little Ringed Plovers.

I also saw in the distance, Little Egret, Cormorant, Yellow Legged Gull, Dunlin and probably a Whimbrel but it might have been a Curlew. .

And this is the local beach, the rocky bit is behind me…. Not many people about, just the occasional dog walker or couple taking a stroll.  No sunbathers this year!


Sanlucar de Barrameda birds

Poor weather this year in Andalucia so I have been taking a few bird photos locally near our flat, even from the terrace.  There are potentially several different Hirudines in this area at this time. There are some that even pop over from N Africa, though with the weather the way it is I can’t think why.

I snapped away and got lots of blanks but did get a few which have allowed me to identify this one as a Crag Martin…. the clincher is the ‘windows’ in the tail feathers which only show when it spreads its tail. They are not gaps but white coloured feathers.

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There is a bit of a scrubby area down from our flat and it holds some good birds. I saw a Hoopoe and always hear Cetti’s Warbler, there are lots of Chiffchafs and this Fan tailed warbler also called a Zitting Cisticola.


On the beach there are a small mix of birds, there are Sanderlings and Turnstones, along the strand line, Lesser Black backed and Yellow legged gulls a bit further back in and then some Egrets, both the Cattle ones with yellow bills and the Little Egret.

Plenty of Sparrows about, House Sparrows, not Spanish though I did see some Spanish Sparrows a few days ago at a lagoon about 20 Kilometers inland.

Sancti Petri wall paintings

In my last post I published some wall paintings of shells from the village of Sancti Petri. I then looked back at them and they all looked quite dark. I think that they look much darker on the blog site/FB than they do on my lap top.

Stramonita haemastoma, common name the red-mouthed rock shell or the Florida dog winkle,

So I have lightened them and am now republishing them because I think they deserve to be presented at their best.

Tonna galea, commonly known as the giant tun, is a species of marine gastropod mollusc.

Helix pomatia, common names the Roman snail, Burgundy snail, edible snail or escargot.


I like the texture of the surrounding wall, it helps to set them off.

Aporrhais pespelecani, common name the “pelican’s foot is a species of sea snail.

There are just five of them.

Osilinus lineatus  Lined/Thick Top Shell;

Not able to find any reference to Bolina rugosa, although it looks like a Painted top shell to me.

Here is the final one.


Looks like a Murex shell to me but again can not find any reference to Bolinus Grand or Dolinus Grand.