Monday, 13 July 2009

Sierra de Libar, Malaga / Cadiz Provinces.

The Butterflies.

Peter Jones, his wife Brenda, My wife Jayne and myself all headed up Sierra de Libar near the village of Montejaque. We passed through most of the valley with out a stop and made our way to the Oak woodlands towards the far end of Libar. The first stop was to inspect some roadside thistles for butterflies. We found Small (Blanquita de la Col / Artogeia rapae), Iberian Marbled (Melanargia lachesis) and Bath Whites (Blanquiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Spanish Chalk-hill (Lysandra albicans) and Common Blue (Icaro (Dos puntos / Polyommtus icarus), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea) all very quick and difficult to photograph. As we moved out passed the refuge into the grassland area at the furthest point of Libar, we saw the first of a few Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone). Amongst the thistles and Field Eryngium we found more Iberian Marbled Whites, Clouded Yellow, Spanish Chalk-hill Blue and added Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus).
We then turned around and headed back to the woodlands where we stopped and had our picnic lunch by some old baths being used as watering troughs for the livestock. Some of the water was leaking out and mixing with the soil, many butterflies were coming to settle and take on water and minerals, these included Holly (Celastrina argiolus), Long-tailed and Spanish Chalk-hill Blues, Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Small Heath (Ninfa de Linneo / Coenonympha pamphilus f Iyllus), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis pandora), Scarce (Chupaleches / Iphichides podalirius feistameli) and Common Swallowtails (Papilio machaon), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx rhamni) and Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi).

The Birds.

The birds were typical of the mountains of the area and included Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Rock (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae). In amongst the Oak woodland we saw Gold (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and a Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) a bird I don’t see very often over in Granada Province. In the air above the site Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) all hawked insects. Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus), Turtle (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and House Sparrows (Gorrión Común) were all seen on our way back to Peter and Brenda’s home at Ronda.
Photographs from the top: Spanish Chalk-hill (Lysandra albicans) female, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).

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