Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A walk out to the head of the Valley of San Juan.

Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis).
Steve and I dropped Jayne, Lynn and Barb in the city and then headed off up the hill to the car parks at 2500m where we left the car and walked out along the track to the wet gully areas a few KM out.
Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis).
Just out of the car park we came across a family group of Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) which is a species that is only found at high altitude this far south. In the same area we saw the first of a few Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), heard Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and just up the way found a female / immature Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
As were walked out we were soon aware of the lack of butterflies again, the only common species was the Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea) which were around in good numbers, there were also a few Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Black Satyr (Satyrus actaea).
We also saw a small group of Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing over, plenty of Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a flock of 20 or so Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and then an unexpected Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) which called to attract my attention and then very kindly landed on a rock above us so that I got a brief view of it before moving on again.
Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
On the path side rocks we also saw Arenaria imbricata, Astragalus sempervirens subsp nevadensis (NIF), Centaurea boissieri, Eryngium glaciale, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Lotus corniculatus subsp. glacialis, Minature Wild Plum (Prunus prostrata), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Ptilotrichum spinosum and Centranthus nevadensis.
We reached the wetter areas and straight awa we were finding new plant species including Euphrasia willommii, Gentiana boryi, Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa, Gentianella tenella, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Marsh Violet (Viola palustris), Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria), Pinguicola nevadensis (NIF), Plantago nivalis (NIF) and Saxifraga stellaris and more. 
As we dropped down the slope following the wet flushes to the main stream we found the first of the endemic Sierra Nevadan Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata), this was a male but as we dropped down the slope we started to find females as well. As we were dropping down we saw the one and only Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) of the day but it was right on the far side of the valley and by the time we got down there we could not see it but we did add Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), a single Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus) and a Nevada Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis) which sat nicely for the camera.
Gentiana boryi,


We made our way back up to the main track which was a bit higher up than I had hoped, on the way we saw Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) before we reached the car.
Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris).
We dropped down the hill to the car park at the botanical gardens and checked an area of grassland near there after we had eaten our sandwiches and found a good selection of butterflies including Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus) as well as Andalucian Saddle Bush-cricket (Steropleurus andalusius) and Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus). 
Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
We dropped back down to the city where we met the girls and headed back to base.
Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa.
Gentianella tenella,
Sierra Nevadan Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata) msle.
Sierra Nevadan Saddle Bush-cricket (Baetica ustulata) female.
Nevada Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis).
Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus).
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe).
Andalucian Saddle Bush-cricket (Steropleurus andalusius).
Very large Unknown Solitary Wasp species.

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