The first morning I took a walk up the hills behind the villa and came across some Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, in the same location I had seen them before.
On the way back down I saw a few Dusky Heaths, Coenonympha dorus. These were a lot smaller than I had remembered and I thought they were a different species, until I checked in the book! They are beautiful little butterflies with a silver line running along the edge of their wings, although those I saw this time were quite faded.
Back down to my usual butterfly patch and I saw a blue butterfly which I expected to be a Common Blue. However, it turned out to be a lovely fresh Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Leptotes pirithous.
I think I only saw two Common Blues, Polyommatus celina, this year, whereas last year I saw several of them each day in this area.
I saw a few more Southern Brown Argus, Aricia cramera, which are really beautiful little things.
I think the butterfly below is a Sage Skipper, Syrinthus proto, and it patrolled a short section of the track leading to our villa. Without fail it would be there any time I walked past flying up and down a section about 20 metres long, seeing off any other butterflies that should dare to enter his area!
The other skipper that I saw was new to me. I think this is a Mediterranean Skipper, Gegenes nostrodamus.
One morning I had a brief view of a Clouded Yellow, Colias crocea, and managed one quick photo before it continued on its way.
Most of the other butterflies I saw were ones that flew through the garden of the villa. Many of them didn't give me a chance to grab my camera, including a Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus, and a Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni. We regularly had a Small White, Pieris rapae, visit a Lantana plant near the swimming pool. I not sure if it was the same individual that came back day after day, but it only seemed to be attracted to this one plant.
I saw this Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina, in the garden and I saw a couple more in the hills close-by.
Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus marshalli, were the only butterfly that I saw more of this year than on my previous visit. Normally, I have only seen them in parks or gardens, but this time I came across them out in the countryside quite regularly. I imagine this must be because there were more flowers available for them to feed on this year. This Geranium Bronze was enjoying the fruits of a Lantana and it stayed in this position for over half an hour one evening.
On our last visit I saw one Bath White, Pontia daplidice, very briefly along a track. This year I also saw one, but this time in the garden and it stayed around a Lantana plant for a while allowing me to take a few pictures!
This Long-tailed Blue, Lampides boeticus, flew manically around the garden all day without stopping. Eventually, one evening it decided to refuel, allowing me to positively identify it and get a picture. A shame it didn't stop in brighter weather to allow me to get a better picture, though!
I went for a walk down to the river in the village, where last time I had seen quite a few butterflies. Unfortunately for me, there was a lot more water in the river this year, so I wasn't able to cross over to the better side. However, the next morning I drove down to another shingle area by the river where I saw some Speckled Woods, Pararge aegeria aegeria, and my target species, African Grass Blues, Zizeeria knysna. No trip to southern Spain is complete for me without me seeing these!!
It was great seeing all of these butterflies. Although there weren't as many as I saw during my previous visit, at least I saw almost as many species. However, the butterflies I saw on a visit to the Sierra Nevada mountains more than made up for the lack of butterflies around the villa in Alora. More to follow...