Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A walk along the track to the Hoya de San Juan with Jayne.

As the temperature down low was in the cooking range Jayne and I decided to go and do most of her 10,000 steps in the hills which also gave me the chance to see some of the superb plants and butterflies up there. As we started to climb things did not look to good with thick cloud and rain on the way up. We stopped at a bar on the way and had a coffee and got a couple of sandwiches for our lunch later.
We arrived at the carpark and things were still looking quite dull but dry so we started the walk and after 500m or so the sun came out and so did the butterflies. I was soon seeing good numbers of Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania) as well as smaller numbers of Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). 
Birds were few but I did see several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Before I reached the wetter areas at the Hoya de San Juan I found quite a few nice wildflowers including Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Hard Fern (Polystrichum lonchitis), Asplenium septenrionale, Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Sedum melanantherum, Arenaria imbricata, Eryngium glaciale, Dianthus subacaulis ssp brachyanthus, Sideritis glacialis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Euphrasia willommii, Cirsium gregarium and quite a few others.
I eventually reached the wet areas, by this time Jayne had walked there and back again at least twice and when I got there she had already found Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina) and Gentiana boryi.
I spent the next half hour checking the wet gullies and added Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Heath (Melitaea athalia / celadussa) and Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe) to the butterfly list and Gentianella tenella, Plantago nivalis, Pinguicola nevadensis, Whorled Lousewort (Pedicularis verticillata), Epilobium alsinifolium, Erigeron frigidus, Galium pyrenaicum and Saxifraga stellaris ssp alpigena.
Jayne came back to the wet area after doing another stretch back along the track so I joined her and we walked back towards the car and on the way I found a very nice Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus) which was a new species for my Andalucian butterfly list, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) and Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).

Once we reached the car we dropped back down to the city, most of the way it was raining, where we did some shopping before heading home.

Photographs from the top: Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis), Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania), Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis), male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), Gentiana boryi, Gentianella tenella, Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina), 2x Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus), Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia / celadussa), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) and an immature Northern Wheatear.

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