An interesting day in the hills with a new Dragonfly species of my Granada Province List.
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).
After taking Jayne into the City of Granada I headed up the main road towards the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, may first stop was in the Pine Woods near the El Purche turning. I parked on the roadside and headed in to the woods nearby, straight away I could hear both Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) over head and a little further up the slopes there was a cracking male Subalpine Warbler(Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) singing from the top of a small stunted Pine.
Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura).
Butterflies were around in good numbers and at the start of the track there were a few Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri) which were sitting nicely on a leafless rose bush, also in the same area there were swarms of the pretty orange/ brown day flying Moth the Drab Looper (Minoa murinata) along with a few of what looked like the Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata) Moth.
Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri).
A little further along the track I came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits(Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) which had smaller numbers of Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) andGreat Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major) mixed in which was the first time I had noted a mixed flock here in Spain, something that is very common in the UK. In a more open area the wildflowers were still doing quite well and includedBlue Hedgehog Broom(Erinacea anthyllis),Kidney Vetch(Anthyllis vulneraria), Pine-cone Knapweed(Leuzea Conifera), Red Phlomis(Phlomis purpurea), White Rockrose(Helianthemum apenninum), Yellow Phlomis(Phlomis lychnitis) and Berberis hispanica, Polygala boissieriand Paeonia coriacea.
More butterflies started to appear and over the next few minutes I added Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
From here I dropped down into the Pines again and headed down hill towards the road, from here I could hear a couple of Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea) singing above me, a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus). Once I was back on the road I found a nice clump of the beautiful Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura) which were growing on the roadside. I wondered back up to the car and then moved a little further along the road and took one of the many tracks down to a cracking area of hawthorn studded grassland. There were a huge number of Black-veined Whites on the wing along with really good numbers of Marsh Fritillaries and Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris). Spent a very enjoyable couple of hours wondering around this site, during this time I saw two species of Owl-fly, the one Libelloides baeticus was named but the other I am still trying to sort.
Whilst walking around I heard and saw Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis).
Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi).
Butterfly numbers were also increasing and I added Grayling(Hipparchia semele), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Mallow / False Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae / tripolinus), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Small Copper(Lycaena phlaeas).
Migrant Spreadwing (Lester barbarus).
I returned to the car and dropped down to a wet flush down in the valley below this site, I again spent quite a while searching this area looking for Orchid species. I quickly found the first of several hundred Fragrant Bug Orchids (Orchis coriophora subsp fragrans) which covered this area of damp grassland. Along the small stream I came across a couple of Migrant Spreadwings (Lester barbarus) which were a new Dragon species for my Granada list, along side these beauties there were a small number of Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and a single Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). Butterflies included Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis Pandora), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Wall Brown(Lasiommata megera),Speckled Wood(Pararge aegeria) and loads more Marsh FritillariesandSmall Skipper. I had 5 hours in the hills and had planned on going to at least three more spots but I had found so many species at this site I had run out of time and had to return to the city to meet Jayne and have a late lunch.