Tuesday 25 May 2021

El Purche and Old road down the Sierra Nevada, Granada Province, Spain.

In search of Butterflies and finding a new species for my Spanish list.
False Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes abencerragus).

I met Anita at the petrol station at the bottom of the Sierra near to the city and we went from there up to the El Purche area where we went down a track to the first site, we were a bit early for  butterflies so we started to search the area for Orchids and wild flowers.
Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora).
Convolvulus meonanthus.
Our first find were a few spikes of Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora), False Saw-wort (Crupina vulgaris), Childing Pink (Petrorhagia prolifera), Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre), Convolvulus meonanthus, Vervain (Verbena officinalis), Aristolochia paucinervis, Field Eryngo (Eryngium campestris) and Amethyst Broomrape (Orobanche amethystea).
False Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes abencerragus).
False Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes abencerragus).
False Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes abencerragus).
In the same area we also saw and heard Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and a calling Scops Owl (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops).
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
As things warmed up a few butterflies started to appear, we started off with Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) but this was soon followed by a few of the tiny False Baton Blues (Pseudophilotes abencerragus), I was pleased we were there early as these tiny little butterflies soon got very active.
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
6348 Chrysocramboides craterella.
We managed to get some nice shots before they did fortunately, we also had Panoptes (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Small White (Pieris rapae) along with a couple of day flying moths, 6348 Chrysocramboides craterella and 6072 Homoeosoma sinuella.
Amethyst Broomrape (Orobanche amethystea).
We returned to the car and made our way to our next stop which was only just down the road, on the way we found a nice clump of Salvia phlomoides
Salvia phlomoides.
We parked on the roadside and made our way up a grassy slope as far as some small cliffs at the top, on the way up we found Clouded Yellow, Verbascum rotundifolium, Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) and just below the crags we found a newly emerged 10600 Arctia villica still drying it's wings out.
Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua).

Verbascum rotundifolium.
10600 Arctia villica.
Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi).

Also seen in the same area were Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Black-veined White, Small White, Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba) as well as a male Golden Oriole which flew over, Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri).

Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi).
Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii).
We visited a third site in this area and after walking through some pine woodland we search a clearing with lots of Berberis hispanica and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) where we found Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Panoptes and Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii), Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi), Black-veined and Large White (Pieris brassicae), Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata), a smart little bug called Anthaxia ignipennis, Paeonia broteri, Goat's beard (Tragopogon pratensis), Polygala boissieri, Cerastium boissieri (gibraltaricum), Ornithogalum algeriense, several Bug Orchids (Anacamptis coriophora), over with spikes of Dense-flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata), a late, still in flower Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) and just as we got back to the car a Common Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines).
Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata).
Goat's beard (Tragopogon pratensis).
Just up the road we stopped for a drink and some tapas before dropping down the Old road to Güéjar Sierra, we made a roadside stop to check some Orchids which turned out to be some passed their best
Early Purples (Orchis mascula), in the same area we had three spikes of Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia) which were new for Anita, Vella spinosa and a very smart Mantis species called  Parameles picteti.
Parameles picteti.
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
Just along the road we parked again and walked around a grassy area where we found
Lizard Orchid (Himanthoglosum hircinum), Pale Poppy (Papaver argemone), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Cardinal (Argynnis pandora) and Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Dianthus broteri.

Further down the hill we stopped again by a Fuente and walked up the hill first but it was quiet and we only added Water Avens (Geum rivale), White Bryony (Bryonia dioica), Black Bryony (Tamus communis), Balm leaved Figwort (Scrophularia scorodonia), Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Bryony Mining Bee (Andrena florea) and the first of several Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi).
Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi).
Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi).
We dropped back to the car and the continued on down the hill finding Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) fungus, a single rosette of Small Leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla), Ranunculus granatensis, Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia), Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
We again dropped down the hill and stopped by a small roadside stream where we found another couple of not quite in flower Robust Marsh Orchids, a nowwhere near in flower Epipactis Fageticola, Great Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia) and Common Nettle (Urtica dioica).
Southern Marbled Skippers (Carcharodus baeticus).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
Our last stop was down by the Rio Genil where we spent a while checking the gravel at the side of the river and some damp patches on the parking area where we picked up Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and 4x Golden Orioles.
Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami).
We moved up onto the road on the other side of the River where we checked a small area of water that ran out onto the road where we found 70 or so more Southern Marbled Skippers and just a single Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami) which was also up on the rocks.
Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami).
We drove back down to the meeting point seeing Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura) on the way before heading off.
Thanks to Anita for some of the Plant and Moth Identifications.

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