Thursday 16 May 2019

Sierra de Loja and Western Slopes, Granada Province.

First full day with Karen and Rob out on Sierra de Loja and surroundings.
Karen and Rob, Day One.

Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
I met Karen and Rob up at the Cortijo and we headed back up on to the Sierra de Loja where we made our way straight up to the lower quarry, this time I had the scope and the adult Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) was still showing well from the top hole on the cliff. In the same area we had Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). 
Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba).
As we walked down the track and back up again we had several Panoptes Blues (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Small White (Pieris rapae). 
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
Wild Flowers included Centaurea boissieri, Centaurea prolongoi, Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Torcal Toadflax (Linaria anticaria), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata) and Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus).
Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
We walked back up towards the car and then into the quarry where we had Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and over the main crag a Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which Karen picked up as it passed over high.
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
We drove up along the crags and up on to the tops, we drove stright over to the far side of the area where we searched an area of rocky grassland in a strong wind for the uncommon Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon) ad eventually we found one but it was swaying around so much a photo was impossible. Later we found another and Karen managed to get a couple of shots off before it get up and was blown out of sight. 
Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera).
In the same area we had Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and even in the strong winds we managed to find a few more species in the more sheltered areas including Western Dappled Whites (Euchloe crameri), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and a new species for my Granada list Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) which I must have over looked in the past as we found several during the day.
Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera).
Just along the track we stopped again and looked around the slightly more sheltered area of Charca del Negra, we soon had views of Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and on a distant ridge of rock two male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which were standing off at each other. 
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
In the same area we had Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Wall Brown and more Large Wall Browns.
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
We again dropped down a little further and stopped at a small dell on the road side where we had several very smart Spanish Festoons (Zerynthia rumina), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and the main target species for the trip for Karen and Rob 2x Cardinal Fritillaiers (Pandora / Argynnis pandora) both of which where in stunning condition.
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
We also saw a big clump Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
From here we dropped down off the hill and made for a site on the western slopes in amongst the Oak woods, we parked and very quickly found a single spike of Small Woodcock (Ophrys picta), several spikes of Late Sawfly (Ophrys ficalhoana), lots of spikes of Lizard (Himantoglosum hircinum) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora).
As we walked through the woods we also recorded Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) which was sat on a wire with a mouthful of grubs, Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Clouded Yellow, Small White, Iberian Marbled White, Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Cardinal Fritillary, Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Langes Orchid (Orchis langei) and several not yet flowering Epipactis tremolsii.
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
Our final stop was back towards Venta del Raya where we stopped and had great views of Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and lots of  Western Dappled Whites.
Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl).
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta).
Late Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys ficalhoana).
Late Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys ficalhoana).
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus).
Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii).
Langes Orchid (Orchis langei).
Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum).
Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).

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