Saturday 18 July 2020

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province, Spain.

Up in the mountains again.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma).
I met Andy and we went up the Sierra Nevada for a days butterfly photography, our first stop was on a very dry grassy slope in the El Purche area and as we got out of the car we could see a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and we could hear a singing Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus). 
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
As we walked up the slope the first species was a very large Palpares hispanus a species of Antlion which Andy got shots of. 
Hermit (Chazara briseis).
Slightly higher up the slope we had Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Small White (Pieris rapae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and on the cliff face at the top of the slope a Hermit (Chazara briseis).
Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
We started to work our way down seeing Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blue-winged (Oedipoda caerulescens) and Red-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda germanica) and a Striped Grayling (Hipparchia fidia) which stayed in amongst a tangle of grass stems.
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
We returned to the car and made our way up to the car parks at 2500m along with half the population of Granada but we were soon out on a trail which was nicely clear of people as most wanted to go up and not across as we did.
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini).
Almost straight away we added Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and with the first few hundred meter along the track 20+ Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) which circled around us and could be heard for most of the walk.
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).
As we headed out towards the Hoya de San Juan we soon started boosting the species list with Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania), Common / Southern Blue, Wall Brown, Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita Camprstre / Anthus campestris), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia).
Idas Blue (Plebejus idas).
Plants included several of the endemics of the hill along with others, including Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Erigeron frigidus, Anarrhinum laxiflorum, Euphrasia willommii, Eryngium glaciale, Dianthus subacaulis ssp brachyanthus, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Sideritis glacialis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Leontodon boryi.
Small White (Pieris rapae).
As we walked further on we had the first of a few Apollo's (Parnassius apollo), a couple of  Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus), Southern Brown Argus, Small White (Pieris rapae), Idas Blue (Plebejus idas), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinus) and Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Cinquefoil Skipper (Pyrgus cirsii).
At the far end of the walk at the Burreguiles at the head of the barranco de San Juan we checked the wetter areas and as a few days I found several species of interesting plant including Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina), Gentiana boryi, Gentianella tenella, Plantago nivalis, Saxifraga stellaris ssp alpigena, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Black Sedge (Carex nigra / Carex negro), Pinguicola nevadensis, Whorled Lousewort (Pedicularis verticillata) and on the butterfly front several very smart Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea Celadussa), Nevada Blue (Pleicula golgus), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron) and Cinquefoil Skipper (Pyrgus cirsii), all of which were on the steep slopes near the waterfalls.
Nevada Blue (Pleicula golgus).
We made our way back along the track to the car adding a Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) but nothing else so we dropped down to our second stop out on the slopes and here as at the first last stop there were many more butterflies than on my last visit just a few days earlier.
Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe).
Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe).
We walked along the track checking the Horse Mint (Mentha longifolia) and right behind the car we had a stunning Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe) and as we went further on Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi), Idas and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus), Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxes montensis) and Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra).
Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi).
Birds included White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
We walked back to the car again and drove down to the Botanical Gardens where we checked the area near the car park and in an area of thistles, we added both Cardinal (Argynnis pandora) and Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) as well as Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe) and many species we had already seen.
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
We again dropped down the hill and took the old road down towards Guejar Sierras topping at the first of my regular sites and as usual it did not disappoint, we quickly found a very active Lesser-spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), a female Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) which settled in on of the many Berberis vulgars bushes, Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), a large black chaffer type thing called Mediterranean flat-headed root-borer (Capnodis tenebrionis).
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron).
We also had Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja).
Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja).
Further on we made another roadside stop looking for our final target the Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris) and after seeing 8 just a couple of days earlier I was sure we would not have any problem but it was our first dip of the day.
Cardinal (Argynnis pandora).
However we still had nice finds including Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Soapwart (Saponaria officinalis) and Wild Clematis (Clematis flammula).
Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia).
We again dropped down but just a short way were we again saw over with spikes of  Robust Marsh Orchids and the Epipactis Fageticola, Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia).
We were going to stop for the last time down by the Genil but it was swamped with people so we headed off back to Huétor.
Female Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum).
Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).

Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi).
Mediterranean flat-headed root-borer (Capnodis tenebrionis).
Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) female.
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon) and Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis).

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