Insects – Algarve, Portugal October 2010

Sagres raptor migration October 2010 – when the birds got boring!

So having blogged the birds, here are some of the other things to see when the searching the Sagres skies for birds of prey gets a little tedious. One of the more striking things to notice is the huge numbers of Sympetrum moving north. Like an army on the move, they swarm past as far as the eye can see. With a little study, and some rough calculations of the viewing area, some days during the period saw counts of up to 359,000 passing at ground level – wonder how many passed higher up? However, it is rather scary to note that numbers appeared down compared to my trip two years ago when maybe a million passed by on some days – and having a window open while driving from Lagos to Sagres could see you ending up with a car full of dragonflies!!!

The majority of this Sympetrum army appear to be Red-veined and Common Darter, though they are regularly punctuated by the odd Anax spp – either an Emperor, Lesser Emperor or Vagrant Emperor.

Also more frequent in number during this trip were Migrant Hawkers. Many more than previous years, particularly in the Sagres area.

Away from Sagres, plenty of dragonflies are easily seen in the Boca Do Rio, three species of Emperor, hawkers and plenty of darters.

Mothing wise it was pretty quiet this time around. The only one of note was a Crimson Speckled out mid-afternoon during heavy rain in the Boca Do Rio, while Hummingbird Hawk-moths appeared to be present in good number from Lagos west to Sagres.

With few flowers out, butterfly numbers weren’t huge but Small Copper, Painted Lady, Peacock and Red Admiral were seen each day.

Only regular, albeit beautiful, Swallowtail were seen and a few Long-tailed Blue were on the wing.

And if that wasn’t enough to fill the time, there was always the impressive looking longhorn Monochamus galloprovincialis to watch… not many on ‘the hill’ in Sagres but still seen most days.

Grasshoppers were plentiful, albeit species variety didn’t seem that diverse!

Blue-winged Grasshopper Oedipoda caerulescens (above), and ‘Red-winged’ Grasshopper Oedipoda germanica (below), look pretty dull on the deck… but when they fly they are stunning.

Searching around the pines I noticed this Graphosoma lineatum – a rather striking little bug.

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