The streets in the urban areas are narrow and twisting, but the side of the rock is a large green shrubby area. We took the cable car up to the top of the rock, from where you get great vies of the whole peninsula and across the Mediterranean to Morocco.
I had been told that Gibraltar was a great place to see butterflies and I wasn't to be disappointed. The main reason we had visited Gibraltar was because my wife and children wanted to see the Barbary Macaques and they live in various groups on the rock. While they were looking at the funny monkeys, I was keeping a look out for butterflies. Almost as soon as we arrived at the top of the rock I saw two Two-tailed Pashas, Charaxes jasius, chasing each other in the tree tops below. Sadly they quickly disappeared, but I hadn't expected to see them as they have two generations a year, and normally July is a time when they don't occur.
Not long afterwards a Southern Swallowtail, Iphiclides feisthamelii, flew past me on a path and landed in a tree. I risked life and limb and jumped up onto a wall above a precipitous drop to get a picture.
A little while later it landed in another tree and I managed to get a shot of the upper-side of its wings.
I saw various other butterflies while we walked along the paths, but I wasn't able to identify most of them as they didn't stop. I recognised a Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, but wasn't quick enough with my camera. I only just managed this out-of-focus picture of a Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus, which is hardly worth including.
Later we returned down to the bottom of the rock and after lunch I was allowed half an hour to wander around the Alameda Botanical Gardens. This is an amazing place. It isn't very big, but it has a wide variety of different plants, which attract a lot of butterflies! There are small notice boards around the gardens with information about the plants and butterflies. There is now a resident population of Monarchs, Danaus plexippus, and it was lovely watching them gliding amongst the trees in the gardens.
I spent ages following some Cleopatras, Gonepteryx cleopatra, but they just wouldn't settle for any length of time. This was the best I could manage as one took a quick drink from a plumbago plant!
This Small White, Pieris rapae, was even more difficult to capture.
I had a bit more luck with this Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Leptotes pirithous.
On a shady path, three Speckled Woods, Pararge aegeria aegeria, were squabbling over the sunny patches on the ground.
There was one particular flower bed that contained a flower that seemed to be very attractive to smaller butterflies. Within a few feet of each other was a Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus marshalli ...
a Southern Brown Argus, Aricia cramera ...
a Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus and a Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas.
Other butterflies I saw there were a Clouded Yellow, Colias crocea, a Large White, Pieris brassicae and a Long-tailed Blue, Lampides boeticus. Every corner I turned I saw butterflies. It was a fantastic place and I would have loved to have spent all day at the botanical gardens and another day exploring the rest of the peninsular.