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).

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province, Spain.

A Butterfly day in the mountains of Granada Province.

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
I left Home and made my way up to Granada where I was going to meet up with Steve and Elena Powell for a day in the hills looking for butterflies, on the way I started the list with Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).
I arrived at the meeting point and found a few more bits before Steve arrived including Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Apollo (Parnassius apollo).
Steve and Elena arrived and fully masked up we went off up to the car park at 2500 making one roadside stop on the way when we saw a pale morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) soaring above a nearby hill, whilst parked we also had a family party of Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), a small group of Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a display flying Tawny Pipit (Bisbita Camprstre / Anthus campestris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a fly over Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus).
As we moved on up towards the car park at 2500m we had a herd of Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) chilling on a rocky out crop.
Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum).
We parked and walked up to the gate house finding Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), one of which was carrying food to a nest in a small shed nearby and as we started to walk out towards the Hoya de San Juan a flock of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) circled us several times and passed by several times during our walk.
Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania).
As we walked out we had several family parties of Northern Wheatears quite close to the path and the first Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) of the day. Further on we added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), the first of just a few Apollo (Parnassius apollo) of the Nevada subspecies, several Long-tailed Blues (Lampides baeticus) and on a rocky scree area a female Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron).
We continued on out towards the area of Burreguiles at the head of the barranco de San Juan, on the way we had Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Anarrhinum laxiflorum, Eryngium glaciale, Dianthus subacaulis ssp brachyanthus, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Sideritis glacialis, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Leontodon boryi, Erigeron frigidus, Euphrasia willommii, a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania) which was one of the few butterflies seen in any numbers, Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), the first of a few Idas Blue (Plebejus idas) and just as we reached the wetter areas a smart Nevada Blue (Pleicula golgus) sat out on the track.
Idas Blue (Plebejus idas).
In the area of the Gullies I found lots of plants including Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina), Gentiana boryi, Gentiana sierrae, Plantago nivalis, Saxifraga stellaris ssp alpigena, Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Black Sedge (Carex nigra / Carex negro), the tiny uncommon Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria) and Lotus corniculatus subsp glacialis.
Nevada Blue (Pleicula golgus).
As we walked back we found Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Tawny Pipit, more Northern Wheatears, Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Small White (Pieris rapae).
Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata).
Once we returned to the car we dropped down to our next stop on one of the tracks out on to the ski runs from the resort, on the rocks near the barrier we saw a family of Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and as we walked out on to the track towards the first of the wet areas a Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) flew up the valley.
Gentiana sierrae.
I walked up the damp area I also added a couple of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), more Robust Marsh Orchids, Clouded Yellow and just down the track on the Horse Mint (Mentha longifolia) a couple of Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice), Purple-shot Coppers and further along the track the first of quite a few Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Nevada Blue, our only Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) of the day, Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxes montensis).
Gentiana boryi.
We dropped down to the area just below the Botanic gardens and checked an area of Thistles and Button Flower seeing Great Banded Grayling (Kanetisa circe), Southern Brown Argus,  Thread-winged Lacewing (Nemoptera bipennis), a mating pair of Clouded Yellows, Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus) and Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
We made another stop near the visitors centre checking a short area of roadside verge but a lot of the tall thistles that the butterflies usually enjoy had been hacked back so we onlt added a coupe of Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus), a single Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Grayling (Hipparchia semele) and another few Southern Brown Argus.
Southern  Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
Just up the road we took the old road down towards Guejar Sierra and after a few Km we pulled on to an area of grassland and on a rocky patch we had soon found a couple of new species, firstly there was a very smart Lesser-spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), which was quickly followed by a Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi), both Iberian Scarce (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
Then on the opposite side of the road a possible Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis).
Continuing on along the narrow road we dropped down to our next stop by a roadside water fountain, as we walked back up the road we saw several Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris) which occationally dropped down and sat on the Wild Clematis (Clematis flammula), where Steve managed to get some underwing shots when perched for him. I only managed to get one that landed but instantly opened its wings full but still superb to see.
Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxes montensis).
In the same area we had Iberian Marbled Whites, Wall Brown, Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and as we drove down to the last but one stop a Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) crossed the road.
Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) mating pair.
We again parked on the roadside and had a short walk, I checked a spot of some Orchids I had seen in the passed but both the Robust Marsh Orchids and the Epipactis Fageticola were dry and over with. 
Lesser-spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia).
Butterfly wise it was very quiet and we only added Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and the last site down near the village was even quieter and all we saw heard was a Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) before we set off back to my car and then home.
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus).
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus).
Nevada Blue (Pleicula golgus).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Huge Hoverfly Species.
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus).
Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis).
Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous).
Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris).