Tuesday 15 July 2014

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A second day in the fantastic mountains looking for Wildflowers, Butterflies and Dragonflies.

Aquilegia nevadensis.
I took Jayne in to Granada City where she was going to hit the sales for a few hours whilst I was going to have a look for some butterflies and plants at around 2500 meters in Sierra Nevada. I started by parking at the upper car parks and having a walk along a track which starts from near the spot, straight away I started to see Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) butterflies cruising down the slopes and a good numbers of Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus hypochionus) which were nectering on Thyme plants along side the track.
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
On the first part of the walk I saw several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). A bit further on I saw the first of quite a few Spanish Brassy Ringlets (Erebia hispania) but they were as usual very difficult to get close to with the camera.
Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria).
Plants that I found along the track side included Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Euphrasia willkommii, Jurinea humilis, Arenaria imbricata, Eryngium glaciale, Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Erigeron frigidus, Astragalus sempervirens subsp nevadensis, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Sideritis glacialis and Silene boryi. There were also several more butterflies seen before I reached the wet flushes / borreguiles including Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). 
Pedicularis verticillata.
In the area around the flushes I found a few Gentiana sierrae but most were over with along with quite a few flowers of the very short Gentiana boryi, taller Pedicularis verticillata, Alchemilla xanthochlora, Pinguicola nevadensis, Saxifraga stellaris and several fronds of the rare Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria). There were a few sedges in the damper areas which I have put names to but not 100% sure about but have called them Carex nevedensis and Carex nigra subsp intricata. I returned along the same track and picked up Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and a family party of the beautiful Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Saxifraga stellaris.
Once I was back at the car I dropped down the hill a short way and parked on the out skirts of the ski resort and walked along a short track nearby, right at the start I found the first of quite a few of the endemic Nevada Blues (Plebicula golgus subsp golgus), followed by serveral more Apollo´s, Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxer montensis) and  Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera). On the damper parts of the area I found several spikes of Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Aquilegia nevadensis and Campanula herminii.
Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe).
Once I was back at the car I drove down to the El Purche area where I took a rather rough track down in to a valley and parked along side the track before having a look along the nearby stream which had just enough water left in a couple of small pools to attract a few Dragonflies including a couple of Migrant Spreadwings (Lester barbarus), female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and an old female type Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
Ant-lion species.
In the dry grassland around the same area there were masses of butterflies including Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera). In the same area I saw a single large Ant-lion type species before heading back into Granada.
Migrant Spreadwing (Lester barbarus).

1 comment:

Nick Morgan said...

Lovely to read your report. We were on holiday in Spain earlier this month and I had a day in the Sierra Nevada, seeing many of the species you have mentioned. What an amazing place it is.