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.
Friday, 1 August 2014
Sierra Nevada, Spain - Butterflies - July 2014 (2) "Hilltopping"
Initially, I was surprised not to see any butterflies, but as I walked up to the viewpoint I was amazed to see five Swallowtails, Papilio machaon hispanicus, flying backwards and forwards. I presume this is the "hill topping" activity that I have heard so much about.
The Swallowtails were being bombarded by Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, every time they flew anywhere near them. It was a great sight to see!
Among them were some Large Wall Browns, Lasiommata maera.
I was delighted to see this Blue-spot Hairstreak, Satyrium spini. I had read about them before I went and I was disappointed to see that they occur in May and June in the Sierra Nevada. However, this one looked quite fresh. Later I saw some much more faded individuals.
As I crouched down to take a picture of the Blue-spot Hairstreak I noticed another butterfly out of the corner of my eye landing on the same plant. It was a Southern Swallowtail, Iphiclides feisthamelii. What a dilemma - which to take a picture of?!! I ended up alternating between the two!
The Dusky Heaths, Coenonympha dorus, here were a lot fresher-looking than those back in Alora. There were quite a number here at about 2,100 metres, yet I had seen none 500 metres further up in the mountains.
There were also plenty of Purple-shot Coppers, Lycaena alciphron, in this area.
The Common Blues here were all rather faded, but this Idas Blue, Plebejus idas, was particularly nice. I had thought that this was another Silver-studded Blue, but after help from the UK Butterfly Forum and checking with the "Mariposas Diurnas de Sierra Nevada" book I now know it is an Idas Blue. These have a slightly darker background colour on the underside of their wings and more extensive blue spots.
I was amazed by how many butterflies there were in this small area. If you look carefully at the picture below you can see a dot above the left-hand interpretation board. It is one of the Swallowtails!