Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Western Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A day looking for Butterflies.
Day one with Bent Halfdan Pedersen from Denmark.

I met Bent in Granada and we headed up the hill as far as you can drive and then took a track from there and soon found the first of a few new species that Bent had wanted to see the Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania), Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) and Idas Blue (Plebejus idas). n the same area we also saw Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Band-eyed Drone Fly (Eristalinus taeniops), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Centranthus nevadensis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Erigeron frigidus, Eryngium glaciale and Leucanthemopsis pectinata.
Our second site was a little lower down the road on a track which heads out from the ski resort and again we started to find new species but butterfly numbers were much reduced from just a week ago and Blue species were almost missing all together. We did however record Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Dusky Meadow Brown (Lobito / Hyponephele lycaon), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea), Silver-spotted (Hesperia comma), Sage (Muschampia proto) and  Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Dark-green (Argynnis aglaja) and Niobe Fritillaries (Argynnis niobe). During the walk we also saw the first Sierra Nevada Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida / Timon nevadensis) of the day as well as Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
We again dropped down the road stopping at the Botanical Gardens where we checked the lower grassy areas out as this was where I saw good numbers of butterflies a week or so earlier. We started off by seeing several Rock Graylings (Hipparchi alcyone), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Common / Southern Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus / celina) and in an area of  Pyrenean Oaks (Quercus pyrenaica) a couple of Purple Hairstreaks (Quercusia Quercus) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). Whilst we were concentrating on the butterflies I also saw or heard Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and a scampering Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris).
We then went back up to the car and took the old road down through Guejar-sierra, on the way we stopped at an open area n the pine woods and found Dusky Heath (Ninfa de Esper / Coenonympha dorus), Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius) and Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus) before dropping back in to the city for the end of day one.

Photographs from the top: Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Sierra Nevada Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida / Timon nevadensis), Band-eyed Drone Fly (Eristalinus taeniops) and unnamed Beetle species.

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