Fun in Gijon

A lull in fieldwork activity combined with some incredibly cheap flights allowed me to make an unexpected flying visit to Asturias over the May bank holiday weekend to see Kali who is out there completing her MSc dissertation as part of the University of Exeter’s Wild Cricket Project. Although the trip was not wildlife focussed, most of our time was spent at the study site, an impressive low intensity wildflower rich meadow near La Aguda with incredible invertebrate diversity, including the study population of Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris). The level of monitoring effort involved in the project is truly incredibly with each individual cricket followed throughout its adult phase by remote cameras and it was a real privilege to get to visit the site in person. Although the bird diversity wasn’t particularly rich in terms of continental specialities, I did catch up with Black Kite, Serin, Iberian Chiffchaff and Iberian Green Woodpecker around La Aguda. I also spent a lot of time playing around with Kali’s Nikon D3400 and got some shots of the abundant butterflies that I was quite happy with. On the last evening, we took a walk along the coastal past east from Gijon where a showy Zitting Cisticola and a family of Black Redstarts were the avian highlights. Mostly however, it was great to spend time with Kali exploring this verdant corner of Spain and sampling the local specialty cider (although the hangover was strongly reminiscent of that following a teenage house party involving a few too many cans of Strongbow). Below are some of the best shots from the trip.

This Clouded Yellow posed nicely on a Knapweed flower.
Kali pretending to enjoy recording cricket videos.
A study cricket complete with ID tag and lead.
Marbled White was a new butterfly for me!
Large Skippers were abundant at the field site.
This parasitic Hemipteran was predating crickets outside their burrows.
My best ever views of Zitting Cisticola.
This male Black Redstart was feeding newly fledged chicks along the beach.

Author: liamsbirding

I'm a 23 year old PhD candidate at the University of Exeter Penryn Campus and a keen birder. Originally from Stockport. All views my own.

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