Wednesday 25 May 2016

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

A day in the hills with Kate and Jim from the UK.
Kate and Jim Day One.

Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia).
Kate and Jim had arrived a couple of days earlier but due to Kate being unwell this was our first day in the field and we started with one of my favourite place, Sierra de Loja.
Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia).
We started on the slopes just past the Abades service area and soon started to find interesting species including Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia),
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
 Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Bellardia trixagoSouthern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Star Clover (Trifolium stellatum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus) and Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis).
Cerastium boissieri.
We moved on up to the lower quarry and walked back down the track, during this stroll we found Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). 
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini).
Butterflies included Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia).
We also had Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis) seed pods, Centaurea boissieri, Cerastium boissieri, Dianthus brachyanthus, Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum), Curry Plant (Helecrisum stoechaes) and plenty of 5611 Synaphe diffidalis.
Lythria sanguinaria.
Again we moved on up passed the crags picking up Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jackdaw, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). 
Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida).
Once we were up to the top of the crags we checked the flat area out and had 8222a Lythria sanguinaria a very smart looking day flying moth, Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and several Spanish Marbled Whites (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines).
Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida).
We drove fairly quickly over to a small dell near to Charca del Negro just stopping a couple of times seeing a huge Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) sat on a rock with really leathery looking flolds in his neck and a smaller nicer looking one on the track as well as several Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis).
At the dell we found Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum), Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea), Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus).
We next stopped at Charca and had a short walk but we only added Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). In the same area there was a fantastic show of Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Sharp-ribbed Salamander  (Pleurodeles waltl). 
Erodium cheilanthifolium.
We went on just a short way past the Goat / Fossel caves and parked, here Jim and I searched for what I thought were Spanish Argus (Aricia morronensis), we saw them but failed to get shot but we succeded later in the week and were suprised with our find.
Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea).
In the same area we did see Erodium cheilanthifolium, Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) before we made our way steadily down the hill and back towards the house.

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