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Friday 5 July 2024

Col du Pourtalet, Formigal and south of Biescas, Aragón, Spain.

Back up to a wind Col du Pourtalet looking for butterflies.

One of the mountain lakes with France in the back ground.
I headed out just after 07:00 and made my way straight up to the French border at the Col du Portalet where it was very nice and sunny but hellishly windy, I started by going for a walk out West from the bars.
De Prunner's Ringlet (Erebia triaria).
Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans).
Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans).
Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans).
Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans).
At the start of the track I had views of a male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which was singing from the crags and as I walked out further a couple of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citronella), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) which was heard calling from the meadows below.
Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe).
Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe).
Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvoides).
Butterflies included
De Prunner's (Erebia triaria) x1 and Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans) x25+, Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) x3, Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) x4, Apollo (Parnassius apollo) x2, Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra),  Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Dingy (Erynnis tages) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) and Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe).
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) male.
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) male.
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) male.
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).
Common Spreadwing (Lestes Sponsa).
Common Spreadwing (Lestes Sponsa).
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum).
Along the side of the track I also saw several plant species including Pyrenean Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium ssp. pyrenaica), Centaurea montana, Alpine Bartsia (Bartsia alpina), Pyrenean Cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum), Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Alchemilla-leaved Cinquefoil (Potentilla alchemilloides).
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) fighting over the Marmot.
After a short walk I reached a group of small mountain pools where I found several dragonfly species including Four-spotted (Libellula quadrimaculata) x8 and Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) x4, Common Blue (Enallagma cyathinerum) x5 and  Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) x2 and Migrant Spreadwing (Lestes barbarus) x100+. In the same area I found Heath Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata), Common Frog (Rana temporaria), Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and some noisy Alpine Marmots (Marmota marmota).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) male.
Newt species.
Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis).
Emerging Common Spreadwing (Lestes Sponsa).
I walked up and the down to two more mountain pools, finding 
Field Gentians (Gentianella campestris) and as I walked back up a couple of Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), as I was watching these I was joined by a French guy and we started to watch a small group of 6 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) which we flying close to a cliff ledge where an Alpine Marmot was shouting loudly at them. 
Small White (Pieris rapae).
Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis).
Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis).
Southern Heath Fritillary (Melitaea nevadensis).
Suddenly we watched a separate bird fly in from behind the Marmot and knock it clean off the cliff and by the time it bounced to the bottom all the Vultures were on top of it a squabbling over the prey, the two Egyptians tried to join in but they were soon seen off.
Vanilla Orchid (Gymnadenia Gabasiana).
Field Gentians (Gentianella campestris).
We both stood there in amazement as neither of us had seen anything like this before, we chatted for a while before he carried on with his walk and I dropped back down to the cafe area and then went for a walk out on the other side of the valley but the wind was much worse out there so after a couple of KMs I turned around but took a different track back to the cafes.
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus).
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus).
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus).
During the walk I saw a couple of Purple-edged Coppers, Amanda's (Polyommatus amandus) and Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus), Giant Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea), a single Vanilla Orchid (Gymnadenia Gabasiana), Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), Chimney Sweeper Moth (Odezia atrata) and a singing Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).
Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus).
Amanda's Blue (Polyommatus amandus).
Clouded Apollo's (Parnassius mnemosyne).
I returned to the place where  I had been earlier and did the same walk adding a couple of
Clouded Apollo's (Parnassius mnemosyne), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small White (Pieris rapae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and a single Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon) which was puddling with some other Blues and Skippers and was a lifer for me.
Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon).
Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon).
Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon).
Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon).
I again returned to the car and dropped down to the point in the valley where the uncommon Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) flowers, it was long over but with but still worth paying it a look as the area around it is good and I found Wood White (Leptidea sinapis), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino), Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), Cross-leaved Gentian (Gentiana cruciata), Broad-leaved Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza Majalis) and more tall looking Fragrant Orchid.
Well and truly over with group of Lady's Slippers (Cypripedium calceolus).

Further down the hill I made my last stop and filled up my water bottles and added Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata) to the day list, on the drive home I saw Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), both Red (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
A flood channel which looked like it was going to be better for Dragons than it was.
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum).
Back at the campsite I was trying to get the blog posts done but kept getting distracted by the football, well done Spain.

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