Wednesday 5 June 2019

Sierra de Loja and the western slopes, Granada Province.

Up on the best hill with Harry and Peter.
Day one.

Southern Gatekeepers (Pyronia cecilia).
I met Harry and Peter up at the Cortijo de Tajar and we headed for the Sierra de Loja and up to the lower quarry picking up Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous).
Once we were up at the quarry we started the look for Butterflies on the gorse covered slopes and we soon found the first of a few Southern Gatekeepers (Pyronia cecilia), which was followed by quite a few Spanish Gatekeepers (Pyronia bathsheba), a single Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
Spanish Gatekeepers (Pyronia bathsheba).
We also had a few bird species as we walked down the track, back up again and then into the quarry including Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was hanging in the air above the quarry, Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), both Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica),  Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). 
Centaurea prolongoi.
There were also quite a few wildlflowers in the area along the track, we found Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis) in seed, Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Centaurea boissieri, Centaurea prolongoi and Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus).
We continued on up on to the tops and aout towards the pools at Charca del Negro, on the way we had views of Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and during a roadside stop we managed to find a single False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), the first of quite a few Spanish Marbled Whites (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) and on the bird front Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and a very smart male Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
We made a second stop on the way and searched a small dell on the roadside, it was much quieter than on my last visit but we still found Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia), Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea) and Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi).
We passed the pool at first and made our way around to the crags a little further on where we searched for new species but on the butterfly front we only managed a couple of Cardinal Fritillaries (Pandora / Argynnis pandora) which were nectering on Centaurea prolongoi above us.
Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
In the same area we also saw Wall Brown, Clouded Yellow, Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Erodium cheilanthifolium, Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum) and Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata).
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) Aberrant.
We retraced our tracks a short way back to the Pools of Charca del Negro and soon had our first Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Linnets, Thekla Larks, Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus), the tadpoles of Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl) and a nice male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).
As we drove down the hill to get a late lunch we had a group of 11 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing over.
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) Normal.
We had lunch and then finished the day off along the western slopes where we headed to a spot where I regularly see good numbers of Montagu's Harriers, on the day we had a nice male Montagu's and a couple of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
Once we reached the final site we had very good views of several Monty's along with Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
By some farm buildings we checked out a some damp areas where there were 100s of Southern Marbled Skippers, Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Small Whites, a single Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus), an unknown Wasp species and further up the track a couple of Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) and Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).
Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi).
Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus).
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Wasp Species.
Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus).
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) and Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris).

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