Thursday 6 July 2023

Near Camping La Viorna, around Argüébanes and La Molina, Picos de Europa, Cantabria, Spain.

A day with Ed Macrill photographing butterflies in the hills around Potes.

Ed looking at the hill we had just come up, looks steeper than I thought.
I got to the Camp site where Monica and Ed were staying, partly for a nice coffee Monica had said she would make me and to see their set up which was very impressive.
Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) male.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).

After the coffee Ed and I headed out to a nearby spot he had found, on the way we had Black (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and once we were on the track we added Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia).
Marbled White (Melanargia galathea).
Butterfly wise we started the day with Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) which were followed by several Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon).
Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus).
We came out of the woods into the first of three more open areas of grassland where we saw Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Green-veined White (Pieris napi), Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) and Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) flying around or nectaring on Soapwart (Saponaria officinalis), Dwarf Elder (Sambucus ebulus), White Stonecrop (Sedum album) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) male.
Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae).
As we continued on up the hill we added Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis) x1, False Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium esculi) x4, Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) x4, Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) x2, Lulworth (Thymelicus acteon) x2, Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) x1 and Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) x4, Long-tailed (Lampides baeticus) x3 and Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) x1, Wood (Leptidea sinapis) x2, Large (Pieris brassicae) x1 and Small White (Pieris rapae) x5, Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) x4, Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) x2, Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) x1 and Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) x1. 
Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus).
Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus).
Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
We returned to the camp site and then off to our second site of the day which was near the village of Argüébanes, we parked and we were soon looking at the first of at least 3x Sooty Coppers (Lycaena tityrus) seen around this site and as we started to walk up through the village we saw Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) x1, Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus), lots more Beautiful Demoiselles and out on the next section of the walk we had both Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia) and Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) before Ed stopped me in my steps, literally when he spotted the first of two stunning Purple Emperors (Apatura iris) x2 which were on the ground puddling, to say I was over the moon to see this species was a very big understatement.
Queen of Spain (Issoria lathonia).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris).
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris).
In the same area we also some other nice species including Short-tailed Blue (Cupido argiades), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Heath Fritillary, Southern Grizzled (Pyrgus malvoides), Dingy (Erynnis tages) and Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), a very nice Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene) and a couple of Common Golden Ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii).
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).

Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Large (Ochlodes sylvanus) and Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).
We continued on up the track and out on to a large area of pasture with a wet strip running through it, in the wet strip we saw large numbers of adult and teneral Keeled Skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens), Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus) and at the top of the field near a quite largish farm building and along side the woodland we saw at least one more Purple Emperor, several Silver-Washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia), Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), a Weaver's Fritillary (Boloria dia) which played hard to get amongst the grass and a mating pair of Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera).
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) Male.
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) teneral female.
A rather old and tatty female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
Bird wise we heard and saw Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and a calling Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Pico Mediano / Dendrocopos medius).
Walking up to the top of the meadow.

Short-tailed Blue (Cupido argiades).
Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
Weaver's Fritillary (Boloria dia).
Western Spectre (Boyeria Irene) Male.
We started to drop back down again and checked out the wet channels again where I managed to get shots of some of the Silver-washed and Heath Fritillaries, and then spent a while sat beside a bit of cow poo and watched the Skippers and other species come to take minerals.
Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia).
We dropped back down to the car and headed to another nearby site, we parked on the side of a side track and then went for an uphill walk to some meadows higher up one of the valleys, as we walked up to a bramble patch Ed had found a few days earlier we had many of the species seen earlier but we did add
Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe) on the way up and a lot more Silver-washed around the Brambles as well as another Weavers, a rather tatty Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) and an immature female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea).
Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
Silver-Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene).
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) immature female.
On the way back down to the car we finished the day off with
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and another nice Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus).
Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe).
Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus).
Back down the Valley.
We returned to the car and returned to the camp site, later after freshening up at the hotel I went back and had a meal with Monica and Ed before turning happy but knackered after a good days walking. 

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