Friday, 27 May 2016

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A visit to the Serra Nevada looking for Butterflies.
Kate and Jim Day Two.

Kate, Jim and I headed out to El Purche on the lower Western slopes, we parked and searched a steepish flower covered slope and soon started to find some very nice species of butterfly including a cooperative Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), several Provençal Fritillaries (Melitaea deione), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Southern (Polyommatus celina) and Lorquin's Blues (Cupido lorquinii), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). As we were photographing the Moroccan Orange-tip a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) circled above us, in the area we also had singing Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). Other species seen included 9100 Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder), 5611 Synaphe Moldavica, Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Bitting Stonecrop (Sedum acre), Cliffhanger (Chaenorhinum villosum), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Rock phagnalon (Phagnalon rupestre), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba) and White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum). 
Our next stop was further up the hill at the botanical gardens where we walked down to the lower meadows and pools checking the many flowering plants as we went down. Almost straight away we had a very smart Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri) and a good many of the buttefly species already seen but lower down we saw an egg laying Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) as well as Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus), Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis), White stonecrop (Sedum album), Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) and Curry Plant (Helecrisum stoechaes). Birds included Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
We had spent quite a while in the gardens and had met up with Juan Jesus the warden at the site who very kindly gave Kate and Jim a lift back up the slope to the car, we then dropped back down and took the old road down towards Guejar-sierra. Not far from the visitor Centre we stopped on the roadside and photographed some smart wildflowers which included Linaria aeruginea subsp aeruginea, Saxifraga erioblasta, Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis) and Onosma tricerosperma ssp granatensis. We continued on down the hill a short way and parked on the roadside and searched a small area of rocky grassland where we had a single spike of Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei), Saponaria ocymoides, Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We dropped further down the hill and made a stop near the river in the bottom of the valley, Jim and I had a stroll down to the water and found another Lesser Spotted Fritillary as well as a couple of Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), a Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) and several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). We then dropped back down past Granada and back to the house.

Photographs from the top: Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Provençal Fritillaries (Melitaea deione), 2x Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), 2x Saxifraga erioblasta, Onosma tricerosperma ssp granatensis, Linaria aeruginea subsp aeruginea, Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei), 3x Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia) and Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri).


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