Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sierra de Huétor, Granada Province.

A new species of Demoiselle for Sue.

We started out a bit earlier this morning and headed east along the A92 to a cracking spot in the Sierra de Huétor just to the north of Granada and the Sierra Nevada. We arrived and checked the stream which runs through this valley for Dragonflies, almost straight away we were finding good numbers of the fantastic looking Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), several of the metallic blue males were fluttering around and landing on some very convenient stream side willow bushes. A little further along the stream I found several more and a good number of females along with a single Common Golden Ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) which flashed by and a male Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis). Whilst I was wading along the river I heard and saw Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and on the crags above us a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Further up stream we came to a nice area of thistles and started to find a good number of interesting butterfly species nectering on the flowers including Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), High Brown (Fabriciana adippe) and Cardinal Fritillaries (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), a single Hermit (Chazara briseis), Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and from Sue photographs we confirmed what we had suspected to be a Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias de Berger / Colias alfacariensis) was indeed that species. We then returned to the stream and found a lot more Beautiful Demoiselle´s and in a nearby bush a Conehead mantis (Empusa pennata) which unfortunately had a damaged wing.
We then moved back out on to the fields along side the river and picked up Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
From this site we visited a small village near Guadix where we picked up some ceramic bowls that Jayne wanted to complete a set and then headed back towards Granada but turning off back in to the Sierra´s above Alfacar for lunch at a small Venta in the hills. After a very nice meal we had a walk along a nearby track, straight away we could here the cry´s of some young raptors which eventually showed low over the trees and turned out to be immature Goshawks (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis). During the walk we also saw Large White (Pieris brassicae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla).
We returned to the car and dropped down off the hills back onto the morotrway and then home. A little later I was doing the watering and Sue and Sam had a walk in the garden where they found the first Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis) for my patch.

Photgraphs from the top: Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) x3, Sam and myself in the river, Hermit (Chazara briseis) and Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis).

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