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, 8 October 2016
Malaga, Spain - Butterflies - July 2016
From the 1st to 15th July this year we had our annual family holiday in a villa 45 kilometres north west of Malaga. This is the third time we have holidayed there, coincidentally being there for exactly the same dates in 2012 and 2014 previously.
The holiday went off to a really good start, with me seeing a Small White, Pieris rapae, as we were driving out of the airport and then a Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus, flew across the road in front of us.
There is an area that I tend to walk to each day to look for butterflies just a little way up the road from the villa we rent. Over the previous two years I have learned that this is the best local spot to find them. Probably the most common butterfly there is the Southern Gatekeeper, Pyronia cecilia, although they weren't as numerous as the first year we visited.
Dusky Heaths, Coenonympha dorus, are beautiful little butterflies with the line of silver scales along the edge or their wings. They always seem to be flying around this area.
The track turns into a feint path that climbs along the ridge of the hills through olive groves. On the exposed parts of the path male Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, take up territory, chasing after any other butterflies or large insect they see.
Common Blues, Polyommatus celina, were the other butterfly that could be relied upon to be there each day. They seem very much smaller than those that I see back home. I wasn't sure if I was just imagining this, but I also remember when I saw a Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas, how much bigger it looked than the Common Blue. The two species are more-or-less the same size back home.
I only saw a Small Copper once this year. It seems to be a very widely distributed butterfly, but it's never seen in great numbers.
I was delighted to see a Striped Grayling, Pseudotergumia fidia, on the first day I walked up the path. It was there again in exactly the same place the second day too, but I didn't see it after that. Two years earlier I saw a lot of them in the next valley, but have never seen them at this spot before.
Mallow Skippers, Carcharodus alceae, seemed to have small territories along the road to the villa chasing after anything that flew anywhere near them.
Up the track, on the wild Thyme, Sage Skippers, Syrinthus proto, were doing the same thing.
On a couple of occasions I saw a Mediterranean Skipper, Gegenes nostrodamus. I saw this species very briefly for the first time two years ago.
Other butterflies that I saw occasionally were Clouded Yellow, Colias crocea,
... and Bath White, Pontia daplidice.
The Southern Brown Argus, Aricia cramera, is a beautiful little butterfly, which I regularly saw flying among the wild flowers.
I'll continue with the other butterflies I saw in my next post.