Sunday 9 July 2023

Mirador de Piedrasluengas and Surrounding areas, Castilo Y León, Spain.

A couple of hours with Monica and Ed as they head off South to continue their Holiday.

Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) on the crags in the early morning light.

After messaging with Ed and finding out that they were heading off a little way south and were going up over Mirador de Piedrasluengas after de camping from their site at Potes so I said I would meet them up there for a mooch around the area. 
Masterwort (Astrantia major).
Gentiana lutea.
I went up a bit earlier, on my way I started the list with Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Song (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
Wild Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus).
Aconitum vulparia.
I arrived at the top but found the Mirador was rammed with Camper vans, either taking up all the parking spots or actually blocking the entrance so no one else could get in, so I didn't bother stopping after arguing with one of them when he refused to unblock the entrance, Tossers.
Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris).
Prunella grandiflora.
I dropped down to a nearby Gorge where I parked on the road side and whilst scanning the cliffs recorded Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citronella), 2x fly over White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia  and as I walk back up the hill checking the verge for wild flowers I found Wild Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), Masterwort (Astrantia major), Gentiana lutea, Aconitum vulparia, Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Prunella grandiflora, Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Alchemilla mollis, Bistort (Bistorta officinalis) and Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).
Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis).
Green-veined White (Pieris napi).
I Turned around at the bridge at the top of the hill and as I walked back down added 
Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera).

Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera).

Before I reached the car the first bit of sun hit the area and there were soon a few butterfly species on the wing including Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis), Green-veined White (Pieris napi), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) and a Pearly Heath (Coenonympha arcania).
Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae).
Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae).
Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae).
Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae).
Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae).
Monica and Ed had said that they thought they would be packed and up at the Mirador by 11.00 so I made my way up there and found a parking spot, one of the campers was still more than half blocking the car park which was interesting when a coach load of Spanish tourists turned up followed by Ed and Monica, I explained that I had seen nothing at the Mirador but had found this nice spot further along the road so we headed straight there and checked out the stream side meadows and the roadside banks on the opposite side of the road.
Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia).
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene).
Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia).
By now it was warming up nicely and there were far more butterflies on the move, which meant we soon found
Heath (Melitaea athalia), Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia), Silver-Washed (Argynnis paphia), Small Pearl-bordered (Boloria selene) and Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), several Scarce Coppers (Lycaena virgaureae) which just glowed in the sun and with the tiny black dots and mark on the upper fore wing identify it as the Spanish ssp miegii (Thanks Ed), Iberian Marbled White, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Large Wall Brown, Pearly Heath, Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) Grayling (Hipparchia semele) and more surprisingly were a couple of gliding Apollo (Parnassius apollo).
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) male.

Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) male.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) male.

Down by the stream we also had several 
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), a couple of Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata), Betony (Stachys officinalis), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Common Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) and up along the road a very showy Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Grayling (Hipparchia semele).

Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris).
Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris).
We returned to the cars and said our goodbyes thinking we were going our separate ways for a while, Monica and Ed headed of South and I headed back up to the Mirador which had cleared pretty much so I went for another short walk around but mostly off down the road back towards Potes finding a single spike of what looks like
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) but little ease so I headed back towards the hotel where I had dome lunch before heading back out to one of the spots that Ed had taken me to a few days ago.
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).
I parked near
Argüébanes and walked out to the spot where we had checked a couple of wet flushes where today I found a single Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) or at least that's what I thought at the time but when I got home and was prepping the photos I realized it was actually a stunning Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia) which was a species I had wanted to see.
Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia).
Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia).
In the same area I also saw 2x Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Heath Fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Silver-Washed Fritillary, along with Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Pico Mediano / Dendrocopos medius), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia).

Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia).

During the walk back to the
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) were added to the list.
Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli).
It had turned into a warm afternoon so I returned to the Hotel and spent a while in the bar having a beer or three catching up with my notes.

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