Our route took us along the road through Pinos Genil, stopping along the way to spot birds including Peregrine Falcon and Blue Rock Thrush. After Guejar Sierra we scanned the river from a bridge and found a young Dipper, plus Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap.
I will content myself with some of the photos and mention of some of the less common species that we picked up. This Grayling was actually a first for me, as was the Marbled Skipper as I am quite new to butterfly spotting.
Two more "Lifers" were the Brown Argus and it´s upland cousin the Mountain Argus.
Again these two are difficult to distinguish without careful scrutiny and I discovered that I do not have a very good eye for detail, whereas Mick seems able to ID them quite easily. he assures me it will come with time and practice, but I´m not so sure.
This mating pair of Common Blues provided a good opportunity to get in close & capture the detail that I was looking for. Although a small and very common species it is a beautiful insect: Macro shots like this enlarge to reveal the superb powder blue, brown and orange colouring, the intricate wing patterns all framed by a delicate lacy fringe. Note the striped antennae, and in the shot below right the very long flexible tongue for probing and drinking nectar.
Here we also picked up a passing Cardinal Fritillary, a very exotic and insect with lovely shades of olive-green and yellow on elaborately patterned wings.
Another butterfly here that is sadly now extinct in the British Isles is the fabulous Black-veined White.
A study in grace and form with large, translucent, pearly-white wings framed in black and gold. This is one of my favourite species. No artist could design or paint anything more beautiful: The sheer size and subtlety of their delicately patterned wings makes a fabulous display on the spring and summer flowers, on which several insects may feed at once.
Shortly after leaving this stopping place Mick called us to a sudden halt as he noticed a pair of Great Banded Graylings flying around a chestnut tree on top of a steep bank by the roadside. This is a large butterfly which is apparently quite common in the Southern half of Europe. I had never recorded it before so it was quite exciting for me, another lifer. I therefore clambered up the bank and managed to get a couple of record shots of the insect with closed wings, better than nothing.
We proceeded up the mountain to the ski resort & parked in one of the open car parks and wandered into the meadows, which I have no doubt skied down in the snow season. We immediately started to see more, and new butterflies, including Dark Green Fritillary which was a Spanish first for both of us, there were a few of them in company with Meadow Fritillaries, and yet another new one for both of us, the Niobe Fritillary, a very similar species to the Dark Green and often seen in company with them.
Silver-studded Blues were present in numbers. This gloriously coloured little species looked radiant on the wild flowers in the meadow. Mick also picked up a single Nevada Blue somewhere but I was not fortunate enough to spot that one. Something to look for next time.