Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

An afternoon in the mountains out of the heat.

Sue, Sam and Carlos had arrived yesterday for a short visit so we decided to head for the hills as the temperaturers down near the house were hitting 40+. Our first stop was by the El Dornajo Visitor Centre, whilst Jayne, Sue and Sam went and used the facilaties and had a look around Carlos and I checked a roadside bank of thistles and soon started the Butterfly list with Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Common / Southern (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Adonis Blues (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), High Brown (Fabriciana adippe), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) and Cardinal Fritillaries (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Silver-spotted (Hesperia comma) and Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), 15 species on one group of thistles, not a bad start.
We continued on up the hill and parked at the top car park where had some lunch at Ski Bobs hut before walking out on one of the nearby trails. Almost straight away we were seeing Apollos (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) but most were very tatty, we also saw Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), a very tatty Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus) and Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea) before we reached the wet area of gullies. On the way we also had Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). Wildflowers were also recorded in smaller numbers as most had gone over, we did find Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Eryngium glaciale, Dianthus subacaulis ssp brachyanthus, Sideritis glacialis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Euphrasia willommii and others before we checked out the wet flushes. Here we searched for and found Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina), Gentiana boryi, Gentianella tenella, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Plantago nivalis, Pinguicola nevadensis, Whorled Lousewort (Pedicularis verticillata), Epilobium alsinifolium, Erigeron frigidus, Galium pyrenaicum and Saxifraga stellaris ssp alpigena as well as Niobe (Argynnis niobe) and Heath (Melitaea athalia / celadussa), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus) and several different looking very small Grasshopper species.
On our way back to the car we had views of Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), a female Nevada Bush-cricket (Pycnogaster inermis), Mountain Stone Grasshopper (Eumigus monticolus) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). As we were walking back I was pleased also to meet Adrià Miralles who is working in the park studying the Dragonflies and other wildlife.
Once we were back at the car we made our way back to the house, getting back about 20:00 after a good walk which got Jayne's 10,000 steps in easily.

Photographs from the top: Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Jayne on to of a large crag, Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Nevada Bush-cricket (Pycnogaster inermis), Sue, Carlos, Jayne and Sam, unidentified Hopper, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), 2x unidentified Hoppers and Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).

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