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Conil De La Frontera
July 16, 2009
10:28 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Just got back from a very enjoyable but all-too-brief trip. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> Conil de la Frontera is a small town on the Costa de la Luz in the Cadiz province of Andalucia, and is a popular holiday destination for the Spanish (although nothing like on the scale of the Costa del Sol). The whole coast is relatively undeveloped and there are no hotel complexes or golf courses blotting the landscape. Here I was hoping to find a population of Aphanius baeticus that inhabits the Rio Salado, a saline river running alongside the town.

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First place we stopped; I could see largish fish in the deeper water but had only brought a small landing net so no chance of reaching them. Notice all the white specks on the exposed bit of mud.

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These are European fiddler crabs, Uca tangeri. The males are the ones with the huge white claw:

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Their burrows:

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Cake or death?
July 16, 2009
10:53 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I walked upriver a bit. Odd place as the water flows away from the ocean...

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Around the bend and this spot looked a more likely Aphanius habitat (less water flow and more marginal vegetation) but after 45 empty-handed minutes I gave up. There were plenty of larger, very fast-moving fish here but I failed to catch a single one! The video gives something of an idea. Sorry about the quality I was working with very limited i.e. broken technology... /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />

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Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon:

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Snails on the head of a sunflower:

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We spent another half an hour watching the crabs then went to the beach:

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Cake or death?
July 16, 2009
11:20 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I soon got bored of lying about and went to check out the estuary of the Rio Salado; here I am stood in the middle of it. In summer the estuary is nothing but a small channel but in winter extends to form a shallow lagoon.

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I walked over the nearby dunes and found this lagoon but it only supported a few fiddler crabs and some gulls:

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Behind the dunes the floodplain is being used to graze cattle. Each one had a supporting team of little egrets which I assume were feeding on worms etc. kicked up by the walking entrecotes:

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In the cows' field was this pool but no fish inside.

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...so I walked back to the estuary and skirted the river bank a little upstream; very soft mud underfoot and there were hundreds of fiddler crabs all along the margin. I reached a barbed wire fence after a few hundred metres, crawled under it and found this little tributary:

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Plenty more fiddlers here but again no Aphanius so I decided to net a crab. Also caught some very cute Pomatoschistus sp. gobies but believe me the photos aren't worth sharing...

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It's fair to say the wee guy didn't really appreciate being captured or photographed:

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My girlfriend then began to mutter darkly about 'quality time' and 'normal boys' so we retired for showers followed by:

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Cake or death?
July 16, 2009
11:41 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Next morning we were up early as I wanted to visit the Rio de la Vega at Tarifa on the way home. This is the spot I've visited twice previously and is now starting to dry up again as part of its seasonal cycle:

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The water was very clear and absolutely teeming with A. baeticus and Cobitis paludica.

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These young Cobitis could be observed in their hundreds around the edge of the pool.

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Well that's it! Hope there aren't too many pics. /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> Dunc is over in a couple of weeks and we're planning to revisit the area. I rather cleverly forgot to take the GPS co-ordinates for the Rio Salado with me but checking on Google Earth it seems we weren't far enough inland so hopefully better luck next time!

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Cake or death?
July 17, 2009
8:37 am
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Bluedave
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Great thread mate - not enough pics though /tongue.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tongue.gif" />

Those crabs look wicked!

July 17, 2009
10:57 am
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mickthefish
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hows about bringing some Cobitis over when you come visiting matey. /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />
brilliant shots Matt and those fish in the vid are like lightening bud, get a fishing rod and see if you can catch a few for an ID.

mick

July 17, 2009
12:34 pm
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Mark Duffill
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Great report Matt /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

I agree with Mick that some of those Cobitis would be readily received matey /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />

July 17, 2009
4:49 pm
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Chris Green
Grange Park, St Helens, UK.
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Wow.. Some amazing shots and I agree about the Loaches. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

July 17, 2009
11:31 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hahaha I thought you lads might like the Cobitis. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" /> They're pretty eh? To be honest I'd already be keeping them if it was legal to take them but as far as I know both they and the Aphanius are protected by law (on the Red List too). I'll check it out properly but if I can legally collect a few I'll bring some over for sure and will have a crack at them myself too. /tongue.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tongue.gif" />

Cake or death?
July 18, 2009
6:30 am
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keith565
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wow, great pics Matt. beautiful scenery.

July 19, 2009
12:14 am
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thelizzious
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Thanks Matt, I enjoyed this "fieldtrip" of yours very much.

July 19, 2009
8:19 pm
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oaken
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Nice pics as always /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

July 22, 2009
5:58 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Cheers all. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

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