A big day seeing a species I had wanted for many years.
Paul and Helen Brock Day Eight.
Paul, Helen and I headed out early to go to a spot in the Sierra Nevada where with very good information from Rafa Obregón we hoped to find the extremly rare Nevada Grayling (Pseudochazara hippolyte). We arrived at the spot and walked out towards the main area given by Rafa, on the way we saw a good deal of interesting species including Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus), a single Lataste's viper (Víbora hocicuda / Vipera latastei) which was too fast for me to get the camera on it before it disappeared under a rock, grasshopper species Eumigus rubioi, as well as several butterflies including Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus hypochionus), Dusky Meadow Brown (Lobito / Hyponephele lycaon), Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis) and then fortunutilly well before we reached the main spot our first Nevada Grayling which behaved it's self very well and allowed us to get some nice shots. We continued on a short way to the top os a small hill and founds several more of these stunning butterflies, several of which sat well for the camera. In the same area we had Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and several very smart Golden-egg Bugs (Phyllomorpha laciniata).
We had luch at the top of the hill and then took the easier but longer track back down and for the first KM or so we were seeing good numbers of the Grayling as well as Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and lower down along side the pine woods we had Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Cardinal (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) and Dark-green Fritillaries (Argynnis aglaja), Grayling (Hipparchia semele) and Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica) and Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).
Once we were back at he car we headed out of the Sierra Nevada and visited a spot around on the North of the hills in the Sierra Huétor as we still wanted to see a few Dragonflies for the book. We parked and walked along a small but quite fast flowing river and soon found several Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo), Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and a single elusive Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene). Out on the thisle meadows we found Clouded Yellow, High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe), Iberian Marbled White, Spanish Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus albicans), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
Thanks Rafa, very very happy to have seen this species and to see it so well and get photographs was fantastic.
Photographs from the top: Nevada Grayling (Pseudochazara hippolyte), Golden-egg Bugs (Phyllomorpha laciniata), Eumigus rubioi, Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus).