Tuesday 8 June 2021

Around the Grazalema area, Cadiz Province, Spain.

Some local walks around Grazalema with Sue.
Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum).
After a good nights sleep we were up and Sam was off to school and then soon after that Sue and I headed out to do some local walks, our first was out to the west of the town.
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Sue parked and we walked a shortish distance along this first trail where our main target was the stunning Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum), on the way up we passed through quite a lot of Scabious plants which had quite a few butterflies on them nectaring butterflies including Provençal (Melitaea deione), Marsh (Euphydrayas aurinia) and Knapweed Fritillaries (Melitaea phoebe), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Southern Marbled (Carcharodus baeticus) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) and Cleopatra's (Gonepteryx cleopatra).
Mountain Catchfly (Silene andryalifolia).
As we climbed Sue found the first of several Common Winter Damselflies (Sympecma fusca) and we also added Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Mountain Catchfly (Silene andryalifolia), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum litigiosum), Cerastium boissieri (gibraltaricum) and on a rock face the target Grazalema Poppy which looked amazing but was hard work to get shots of in the wind. 
Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum).
There was a particularly nicely located plant that Sue put me on to but instead of taking the shot straight away I said something to Sue and then turned around to find that the wind had blown three of the four petals off, DAM.
Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora).
In the same area we had more Bug Orchids, Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small White (Pieris rapae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi).
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Bird wise there were several Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) calling, Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and as usual some Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) over head.
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
On the way down we spent a while getting shots of the many butterflies around the scabious again but added
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
We walked passed the car and a short way down the road to a spot where Sue showed me a group of  Cistus x incanus which is the uncommon hybrid between
Curly Rockrose (Cistus crispus) and Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) along with both of the parents, a late flowering Ophrys ficalhoana and Tragopogon pratensis.
Cistus x incanus.
We returned to the car and dropped back down to the village seeing a second Cistus oddity on the way, another roadside stop produced a very smart looking white form of the normally Pink Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus).
Ophrys ficalhoana.
We made a roadside stop just above the village where we saw Lizard Orchids (Himanthoglosum hircinum) one of which had a very smart Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata) climbing on it and in the same area we found Campanula specularioides, Sedum mucizonia and White Stonecrop (Sedum album).
Tragopogon pratensis.
Our next walk was a few Kms away but we were soon parked and starting off down through an Oak woodland where I was surprised to see a male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) as well as the more expected Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) white form.
Lower down we also had several Thread-winged Lacewings (Nemoptera bipennis), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), a very nice but mobile Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) and Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines).
Campanula specularioides.
Once out of the trees we went down to a dry stream bed where in the past Sue had seen Aetherie Fritillary (Melitaea aetherie) and we followed the stream bed for as long as we could, just as we started the walk and at just over the halfway point we had two butterflies which inflight looked very promising but they were both carried off in the strong wind.
Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata)
In this more open area we heard or saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Western Orphean (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
We walked back up the hill somewhat slower than we had come down and returned to the car before heading back to Sue's just in time to meet Clive, Sam, Little Eli and Antonio. Later we had some food and as Sam had got quite a bit of homework we decided that I would make the final stop of the trip on my own on the way home.
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis).
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis).
I said goodbye to Sue and Sam after a great day and a bit and went back to a spot not too far away where I checked a river which was not running but still held quite a bit of water in some large pools and after a bit of a search following Sue's directions I found some just coming into flower
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis). Well pleased I drove back home tired but very happy with the trip. Thanks to Ricky, Sue and Sam for the Company.

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