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, 4 November 2016

Sierra Nevada Butterflies - July 2016 (1)

Two years ago I visited the Sierra Nevada for a day and saw a fantastic variety and number of butterflies. So, this year when we were on holiday near Malaga I took the opportunity for a return visit. There were three different locations that I had visited last year that I wanted to return to, but I had also been recommended another couple of spots to check out by Mike Prentice of Butterfly Conservation's European Interest Group.
It was a three hour drive from our rented villa to the first stop, which was on the road up to the ski resort at Hoya de la Mora at about 2,000 metres. This location had been recommended by Mike, who said I may find Spanish Chalkhill Blues, Polyommatus albicans, there. Unfortunately, I didn't see any, but I wasn't to be disappointed with the other butterflies I saw.

Initially I didn't see a lot there, but it was still before 9 in the morning, so a little early for butterflies There were a few Silver-studded Blues, Plebejus argus, flying amongst the scrub, though.

Other butterflies were less numerous there. There were a couple of Clouded Yellows, Colias crocea.

And a Wall Brown, Lasiommata megera, with a damaged wing.

I was really thrilled to see two Spotted Fritillaries, Melitaea didyma. They were very easily disturbed and quickly disappeared. Luckily I later saw another one that allowed me to get close enough to take a picture. This was one of the butterflies that I really wanted to see with its unusual markings.

I think this is a Thread-winged Lacewing of some kind. I had to follow it for ages before it stopped and I was able to get a better look at it. What an amazing creature!

On my way back to the car I saw another little blue butterfly that turned out to be a Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Leptotes pirithous. It somehow seemed out of place up in the mountains.

Not far away was this beautiful Blue-spot Hairstreak, Satyrium spini.

I had so many places I wanted to visit and so little time that I had to drag myself away to continue further up the mountain ...


  1. Great post and photos nick!
    It is nice to see the kind of landscape you came across.
    The Lacewing is quite incredible, I have never seen it in nature but this is the second time I see a picture of it.
    That is one insect I would love to photograph... the Spanish bush holds treasures!
    The tailed blues are always a source of amazement, I love your pics.
    Thanks for your recent visits, with the rain today and for a few more coming, I am stuck at home so.... photo preparation for my blog and visiting friends on their own! LOL!
    Keep well and enjoy your WE :)

    1. Thanks Noushka,
      Yes, there is an amazing variety of invertebrates in Spain and particularly in the Sierra Nevada. I really would love to spend more time there studying them.
      Rain here, too, so a lazy day after hard work cutting logs yesterday!

  2. Fun to think of the Thread-winged Lacewing leading you around. I do things like that too. It really is an amazing looking creature. Loved seeing your butterfly sightings as well.

    1. Thanks Tammie Lee. Yes, maybe that is why my family don't come on walks with me any more!!

  3. They are beautiful. I love the lacewing, they are very interesting.

    1. Thank you Maria. I will need to find out more about the lacewing. It doesn't look as though it should be able to fly!

  4. Beautiful images of the butterflies.