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).

Thursday 5 July 2018

Rio Guadalfeo, Castillo de Ferro, Cerro Gordo and Salabrena, Granada Province.

A day down on the coast with Pam and John.

Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
We set off and headed down to the Granada coast calling in at a spot on the Rio Guadalfeo where we looked for but did not see a Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), however we did find loads of Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a calling Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
The only other species seen were Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica), Small White (Pieris rapae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Common / Southern (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and a Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura) which was chasing a group of small fish around in the shallows.
Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura).
We moved on down to the coast and east to Castillo de Ferro where we found several ver nice Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore) butterflies around their food plant the Wild Caper (Capparis spinosa) along with Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Banded Groundling (Brachythemis impartita), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), a family party of Western Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Wild Caper (Capparis spinosa).
Our next stop was down in the town for some lunch where we had a Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) fly in under the canopy whilst we were eating.
We later turned around and went back west along the coast as far as Cerro Gordo where we were hoping to find more butterfly species but it was rather windy and we struggled but found a single Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia) which was new for John and a few birds including Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and to finish a female Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) female.
Heading back east we stopped off at Salabrena and had a very welcome Leche frio before Pam and John had a dip in the sea. Later we headed back home to the house and had good views of a couple of Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) from the terrace.

Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore) Archive shot from same site as macro lens U/S.
Pam and John at Cerro Gordo.
Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) with a nice view.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A day on the windy Sierra with Pam and John from Norfolk, UK.

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) male.
Pam, John and I set off up to the 2500 meter or there abouts mark on Sierra Nevada, on the way we started the day list off with a juvenile Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), several Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) perched on the roadside wires along with the commoner Collards (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and in Huétor before we reached the motorway lots of screaming Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) belting around between the houses.
Up nearer to Granada we had Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) which flew across the road in front of us at Santa fe and large numbers of Feral Pigeons (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia).
Libelloides longicornis,
Our first stop in the mountains was next to the Visitor's Center where we checked an area of roadside thistles which in a normal year would be shoulder high and covered in Butterflies but as everything appears to be several weeks behind up the sierra they were only just above ankle high and the only butterflies we found were singles of Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
Birds in this area included a family party of Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada).
Further up the hill we stopped at the parking area for the Botanical Gardens where we checked the grassland around the edge of the pine woods seeing several more Clouded Yellows, Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Small White (Pieris rapae) as well as several of the brilliant Thread-winged Lacewings / Spoonwings (Nemoptera bipennis) and a good number of the quick flying Libelloides longicornis, a species of Owlfly which was new to me.
Our next stop was for a second breakfast in the ski resort, which without the snow always looks extremely tatty and rather ugly but the coffee and toast with tomato was rather good and set us up for our short walk out along the barranco de San Juan trail. It was shorter than expected due to the amount of snow still there and because it was blowing a gale.
Butterflies were few but we managed more Clouded Yellow, Small, Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and the first of a small number of Nevada Blues (Plebicula golgus).
In this area we also found Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), a family of Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) at least three male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
The wild flowers were noticeable by there absence but I did find several including Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum) which were not quite out, Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada), Ptilotrichum spinosum, Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Minature Wild Plum (Prunus prostrata) and St Bruno's Lilly (Paradisia liliastrum).
John at 2500 meters.
Lower down we called in at one of the tracks out on to the ski slopes but again as at the last site we did not find many butterflies even though the wind was much reduced here. We did add a single Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), more Clouded Yellows, Nevada Blues, Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and a Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) which flew past rapidly.
We had a late lunch and then called at our last location in the El Purche area on the way down the hill, on the slopes John and I searched the scrub and Thistles whilst Pam again got the paints out again in the shade of a roadside tree.
On the bank and along the road we added quite a few species including Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis pandora), Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous), Holly (Celastrina argiolus) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides baeticus), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Blue Spotted (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) and False Ilex Hairstreaks (Satyrium esculi), Small (Coenonympha pamphilus) and Dusky Heaths (Coenonympha dorus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone) and Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto). Also seen were Spiny Restharrow (Ononis spinosa), Spanish Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) which were over and Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) not yet in flower. We moved on and made our way back to the house.