Saturday 7 July 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A return to the mountains with John whilst Jayne and Pam tour the City.

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) male.
Jayne, Pam, John and I set off for the City of Granada where Jayne and Pam spent the day whilst John and I headed back up to the 2500 meter mark on Sierra Nevada where we again tried to find some of the higher altitude Butterfly species but it is obviously going to be a late season for them. We could not find either of the target species even though the weather conditions were a lot better than on our last visit a few days ago and again came away from our first site with just a few species including Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis).
Birds included 5x Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus).
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
We also had Mountain Stone Grasshopper (Eumigus monticolus), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Astragalus incanus subsp. nummularioides, Jasione amethystina, Rhamnus myrtifolia and Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada).
We dropped down to a lower track where we walked out on to the slope of the ski resort but again in general it was quiet however we Common / Southern (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Idas Blue (Plebejus idas), Bath (Pontia daplidice), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera). We also saw Digitalis purpurea, Acinos alpinus subsp. meridionales, Aquilegia nevadensis, Gentiana sierrae, Marsh Violet (Viola palustris), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). 
Aquilegia nevadensis.
Next came lunch as we appeared to be stuck in the area for an hour due to a bike race, whilst we ate we saw a female type Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
We made our wa down the hill and took the old road down off the hill and made our first stop at an area of open grassland amongst the Oaks and Pines where we soon found Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus) as well as Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
Again we dropped down to a wood spot with a very damp verge where we found just a single spike of the beautiful Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata) and lots of flowering Fragrant Clematis (Clematis flammula). On the ash trees along the side of the road we found good numbers of Spanish Purple Hairstreaks (Laeosopis roboris), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe) and Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).
Just down the road we stopped again and soon had good views of more Spanish Purple Hairstreaks along with Epipactis fageticola, Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus).
Down by the Rio Genil we made another stop where we checked the rocks by the water looking for puddling butterflies and found a single Nettle-tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Lulworth (Thymelicus acteon) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba).
In this area we also had a couple of fly through Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and a couple of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and on the way home just before we arrived we picked up a roosting Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).

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