Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Above Lanjaron, Cerro Gordo and Guejar-Sierra, Granada Province.

Three new Butterflies.

I met Juan at the car park at Aki on the outskirts of Granada before we headed off south towards Lanjaron and then up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains above the town. On the way up the long dirt track we had several views of a Nightjar species but due to the quickness of the sightings and the altitude we were unable to decide which of the two species present was involved. As the light started to improve we also saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius). We reached the finca at Ballesteros and started to look around near the entrance and on the track towards the buildings, soon we were met by a pack of none to happy dogs and the farmer who at first was a little suspicious of us but was soon happy to show us around the farm. Juan spent some time chatting to the chap whilst I had a look amongst the vegetation in one of the wet flushes on the hillside. I found lots of female Wasp Spiders (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi) one which was in the process of wrapping up a newly caught grasshopper. By about 09:00 the sun had moved above the ridge and had started to warm things up, which meant the butterflies were starting to fly. On the walk back to the car I got some shots of or had seen Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) and the three news species for me, Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea), Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae) and Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus). Once we were back at the car we started off back down the hill and then turned towards another of the mountain finca’s, on the way we added Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Spectacled (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) to the list. We left the car at the end of the track and continued on towards the river on foot. More butterflies were seen on the steep walk down to the river including Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera). New birds included Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus). Along a small irrigation channel just above the main river we also saw a single female Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) and a pair of Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) in tandem. Along the track we found several spikes of the tall Autumn Squill (Urginea maritime) from the very dry soil.
We returned to the car and drove down the track back to the motorway and then down to the coast and on to Cerro Gordo hoping to get views of the White-rumped Swift (Vencejo Cafre / Apus caffer) we had seen at the start of the month. We arrived but could not locate any Swifts at all. Good numbers of Red-rumped Swallows were still about along with a pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). Whilst we stood looking for the swifts several Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) ran across the road and during the visit we noted several Large Psammodromus (Emys orbicularis) Lizards. We next headed back north and into the Sierra Nevada via Granada and Guejar-sierra. Here we were looking for some dead spikes of Epipactis tremosii which Juan had found a few days earlier. All together we found six spikes and a further couple of Small-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla).
Photographs from the top: View down to the coast, Wasp Spiders (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea), Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus), Grayling (Hipparchia semele) and Epipactis tremosii.

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