Sunday 7 April 2024

Baza area, Granada Province, Spain.

Out for a days Butterfly hunting with friends Lynn and Steve.
The Habitat.
Knowing that good friends from the UK, Steve and Lynn were in the Embalse de Negratín area I headed up there to meet them for a day out looking for a very special butterfly species the Spanish Greenish Black-tip (Euchloe bazae) which is listed as Endangered and has eluded me for the last 15 years.
Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra).
On the way up there I picked up Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Matthiola fruticulosa.
I reached the spot where Lynn and Steve were staying and whilst I was waiting as I was a bit early I started the list with a good number of Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) most of which were immature birds, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
Steve and Lynn joined me and we drove the 20 odd KM to a spot near Baza where over the last few years I have looked for the Spanish Greenish Black-tip without success, we parked and walked around 4.5 KM out into the area but due to the very heavy Calima and cloud there was very little / no sun and no butterflies but we did see several Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Mediterranean / Lesser Short-toed (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) x3, Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
Cistanche lutea.
Cistanche lutea.
We also recorded
Cistanche lutea, Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus) and a very smart Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus) which Steve found in a small hole in the track side bank.
Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus).
Steve and the Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus).
We turned around and retraced our way back to the Barranco crossing, just before we got there we had the first butterflies of the day, 2x Western Dappled (Euchloe crameri) and a single Small White (Pieris rapae).
Adonis annua.
It had started to warm up but there was still no sun so when we reached the Barranco crossing point we went off track and walked the bottom of the barranco back up towards the car, on the way we picked up Stock Dove (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a couple of very smart Western Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Small White (Pieris rapae).
Plants included
Adonis annua, Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Buglossoides incrassata, Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Red-horned Poppy (Glaucium corniculatum), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), Tree Mallow (Malva arborea), Matthiola fruticulosa and Field Marigold (Calendula arvensis).
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
As it warmed up we saw more and more butterflies and Moths including Western Dappled x20+,
Portuguese Dappled (Euchloe tagis) x3, Bath (Pontia daplidice) 8+,  Small x30+ and Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) x2, Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) x2, Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua) x2, 6843 Macroglossum stellatarum (Hummingbird Hawkmoth) and 6619 Uresiphita gilvata.
Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
We walked and suddenly I heard Steve call excitedly saying he had a Spanish Greenish Black-tip flying off up the steep bank on the far side of the Barranco, Lynn saw it and I had a glimpse but not enough to know what I was seeing. 
Spanish Greenish Black-tip (Euchloe bazae) an egg laying female.
We continued on and I walked a little higher up on the far side of the Barranco and after a while I had another Black-tip fly up in front of me and then drop down into the Barranco where Steve and Lynn kept an eye on it until I caught up and had some nice views.
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
We again continued on getting another fly over by what was possibly the same insect, we got close to the car and I started to walk towards it to get some water when I heard Steve call to say he had another, so I got to him as quickly as possible and we had more good views and this time she landed to lay eggs but stayed on the ground long enough for us to get some shots, brilliant moment.
Red-striped Oil Beetle (Berberomeloe majalis).
Red-striped Oil Beetle (Berberomeloe majalis).
On the way back to the car after the Black-tip shot off up the crags and away, as we walked we had several Red-striped Oil Beetles (Berberomeloe majalis) and a Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) which was laying eggs on Fennel Leaves.
Once back at the car we drove back towards where Lynn and Steve we staying but stopped for some Lunch on the way before going for a short walk in the area above the
Embalse de Negratín but my ankle started to give me some stick so we returned to the bar where they were staying for a drink before I headed home, during the walk we saw Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), a badly damaged Provence Hairstreak (Tomares ballus) which was being eaten by a spider and a couple of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
Happy butterfly hunters.
I headed home adding a pale morph
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) to my day list before I reached the house, Tired but a very happy bunny.
Embalse de Negratín.

Very pleased to have shared a great moment with two good friends, Thanks.


Steve Jones said...

We were both delighted to share your special moment with you Mick, congratulations! Steve

LojaWldlife said...

It will be a day I remember for a long time, hopefully I will get better photo's next year.