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.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

More Malaga Butterflies

We had three species of butterflies that were resident in the garden of the villa we were staying in. I have always noticed Long-tailed Blues, Lampides boeticus, flying around the garden there, but it was only this year that I realised that they were laying eggs on a bush in the garden, which I now think is Polygala myrtifoli.

I have previously found the eggs and caterpillars of Lang's Short-tailed Blues, Leptotes pirithous, on a Plumbego bush in the garden. This year I could find plenty of eggs, but I didn't find any caterpillars. I suspect that they may have been inside the flower buds judging by the holes I found.

There seemed to be more Geranium Bronzes, Cacyreus marshalli, than in previous years. This was confirmed by the number of eggs I found on the Geranium flowers around the garden. Most flower heads had at least one egg on it.

Other visitors to the garden included Large Whites, Pieris brassicae, Clouded Yellows, Colias crocea, and most commonly the Small White, Pieris rapae.

No trip to southern Spain would be complete without me seeing an African Grass Blue, Zizeeria knysna.  I usually see them down by the river, but this year it took two visits to the Rio Guadalhorce before I saw one. I later saw some on the banks of the lakes at Emblase de Guadalhorce.

While I was there I briefly saw a Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria.

There was also a Bath White, Pontia daplidice, flying among the grass there.

On our last full day at the villa I thought I would walk further along the road to see if I could find any other sites similar to my favourite butterfly spot. A couple of kilometres further up the hill I saw a track heading up into the olive groves, so followed it.

It was a worthwhile detour as almost immediately I saw a Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.

There were a lot of Common Blues, Southern Brown Argus and Bath Whites flying around the few bits of green vegetation at the side of the track along with a little Red-underwing Skipper, Spialia sertorius.

Under an old olive tree I saw a couple of butterflies having a bit of a squabble. They turned out to be a Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina...

 And a Small Heath, Coenonympha pamphilus. This is the summer form that occurs around the Mediterranean.

On a trip to walk the Caminito del Rey I only saw Speckled Woods and Bath Whites, which was a little disappointing as I thought there may have been various species of Graylings there.

However, a trip to the Sierra Nevada was fantastic. I will be posting about that in the next week or two.


  1. I've always loved your detailed shots, and this time the eggs are amazing. They are so clear. What macro lens did you use for that? And the butterflies are lovely, but that bridge and ledge is truly scary i might not be able to join you if we were together for the butterflies, haha!

    1. Thank you Andrea,
      No macro lens, but just my trusty little compact Canon camera. It is much better at close-ups than my Lumix, which has a very wide-angled lens, so has to almost be touching the subject on macro. Then it shades the subject.
      The walk way felt surprisingly secure. There were two long sections with a lovely walk through the valley in between. Highly recommended, but the kids did suffer in the heat!!

  2. Hi Nick,
    A great array of Malaga butterflies, I especially love the Long-tailed Blues!
    Must have been quite a rewarding trip, photos wise!
    Kind regards :)

    1. Hi Noushka,
      It was very pleasing seeing all of the different species there, even if they were all butterflies that I have seen there before. It is interesting to see how they occur in different numbers on each visit, but usually I see the same species. There were some notable exceptions this year including Holly Blue and Cleopatra. My day in Sierra Nevada was sensational. I'll try to post about that soon.

  3. Hello Nick!:) Lovely photos! :) You are so clever at finding the butterflies, but what is even more incredible is you find the eggs as well!!. I have never seen an egg on any plant, but perhaps it's because I'm not sure where to look, or if I would be able to recognize one. Your post has been helpful in this respect. The weather here has been lovely and warm. One day this week the temp rose to 30degrees. There are still a lot of small butterflies in the garden, Short and Long tailed Blues, Small Whites, Speckled Woods and the occasional Grayling. What an amazing view in your last shot. I will look forward to seeing more Sierra Nevada photos in your next post.:)

    1. Hi Sonjia, I enjoy just watching the butterfly behaviour as much as photographing them and it is interesting how often I have seen them laying eggs. If they appear to be lingering on a plant which isn't in flower, or behaving a bit strangely I often find that they are actually laying eggs. Great to hear that you still have butterflies flying there. I have actually received a few local records over the last few days, but not seen anything myself.

  4. Beautiful photos as always, Nick! Malaga seems to be thick with butterflies... or you're just great at finding them :)

    1. Hi Sunita, there is a good variety of butterflies in the area. I would love to go there in the Spring to see the wild flowers and see how different the butterflies are then.

  5. These are amazing, I love the plants too.

    1. Thanks Maria. The plants in Southern Spain are great, particularly up in the mountains.