The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Valencia, Spain - Butterflies - July 2009

We spent two weeks in the Jalon Valley in South East Spain towards the end of July 2008. The area looked as though it should have been good for butterflies, but I was a little disappointed in the number I saw. Mostly "little brown jobs"!
I suppose I saw more than I managed to photograph, but with the heat many of the butterflies were very active. I think I would have seen more earlier in the year when there would have been more flowers out and everything would have been a little greener.

The Southern Brown Argus, Aricia cramera, was probably the most common butterfly around the village where we were staying. It was interesting that most of the butterflies I saw rested with their wings closed and with their heads pointed towards the sun. This made photographing them a little difficult as their wings would usually be in shade.

The other butterfly that could be relied on was Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Leptotes pirithous. As this one is doing, many of them seemed to be laying eggs on a variety of different plants.

I was very excited when my wife called me over to see this butterfly in a Lantana bush in the garden. It turned out to be a Cardinal Fritillary, Argynnis pandora. It is a beautiful, large butterflies with green and red shading on the underside of its wings.

I chased a number of little blue butterflies around the scrub area above the villa we were renting. They all turned out to be Common Blues, Polyommatus icarus. There are a lot of different blues occurring in Southern Spain, so I have to admit to being a little disappointed to find a species that occurs back home!

This is the one and only Dusky Heath, Coenonympha dorus,  I have ever seen it settled under a root, which unfortunately cast a shadow across it. I managed this one picture and then if flew off. Although it is predominantly shades of brown it has a row of metallic silver scales towards the edges of its wings and I find it very beautiful.

These little South African interlopers had made themselves at home in a flower bed at the villa which was planted with Geraniums. The Geranium Bronze butterfly, Cacyreus marshalli, was found all over the village enjoying the Geraniums in window boxes and tubs.

Another first for me was this Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus. It was spotted by my daughter as we returned to the villa late one afternoon.

While I was watching the Holly Blue I thought I saw a leaf move and noticed this Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina, among the dry leaves next to the path to our villa. This is a very common butterfly back in Scotland and it seemed a little incongruous in the Spanish heat.

 This is a Mallow Skipper, Carcharodus alceae.

One day we went for a walk to what was supposed to be a lovely river with pools of clear water. The thought of jumping into the cool water after a hot walk was very appealing, but was dashed when we arrived to find a dried out river bed! A consolation on the way back was this Purple Hairstreak, Favonius quercus, that was flying around a shady spot. This is the subspecies ibericus, which is much more faintly marked than the regular Purple Hairstreak.

The Small Coppers, Lycaena phlaeas, would always rest with its wings closed in the Spanish heat. In Scotland I always see them resting with their wings open, trying to absorb the sun's rays.

This Southern Gatekeeper, Pyronia cecilia, gave a quick flash of colour and just long enough for me to take a slightly blurred picture before it flew off.

This Wall Brown, Lasiommata megera, was nicely camouflaged against a wall. This is another beautifully marked butterfly.

As well as the above I saw various other butterflies that didn't stop for a picture:
Large White - Pieris brassicae
Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui
Swallowtail - Papilio machaon
Long-tailed Blue - Lampides boeticus
Scarce Swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius
Clouded Yellow - Colias crocea
Small White - Pieris rapae
Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria
Wood White - Leptidea sinapis
A total of 22 butterflies which isn't bad and is more than occur back home!


  1. 22! Fantastic. That little Brown Argus is just lovely. What a special find. I only this past May, finally, found a Copper. And then I ended up with two more later in the summer. But for years and years, I just never saw a single one! I can't believe you got one so "easily".

    1. Hi Sylvia,
      Yes, the Brown Argus is a beautiful butterfly. The upper-side is also lovely. Small Coppers seem to occur over much of Europe. I have seen them most places I have visited, but you never see them in big numbers. I know you get them in the US, and I guess they must occur in many other countries too.