Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

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Philzoid
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Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:41 pm

continued on from part 6
Then I was into some good ole’ ever-present Southern Gatekeepers a butterfly I’d grown rather fond of over the time I’d spent here :D . Strangely though all bar one appeared to be females :? .
A 2017.08.18 IMG_9890 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP.jpg
B 2017.08.18 IMG_9903 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP.jpg

Heading back to the others I entered the apartment block gardens through the back gate and immediately spotted a Speckled Wood on a lanterna bush :o :) .
C 2017.08.18 IMG_9909 Parage aegeria aegeria, Speckled Wood, garden Las Farolas.jpg
D 2017.08.18 IMG_9912 Parage aegeria aegeria, Speckled Wood, garden Las Farolas.jpg

The Specklie wasn’t the only butterfly. A small fast-flying blue (could it be a Long-tailed :idea:?) was also flying around the bush. It wasn’t long-tailed but a Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, a first for this holiday (and an expected species that was a long time in coming) :D .
E 2017.08.18 IMG_9915 Leptotes pirithous, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, gardens, Las Farolas.jpg
F 2017.08.18 IMG_9921 Leptotes pirithous, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, gardens, Las Farolas.jpg
Lang’s Short-tailed Blues had featured in both my August 2015 trip to France and December trip to Spain in that same year.

For the afternoon, we took a trip to the beach at Cabopino. As ever I found a little bit of time to explore the dunes. My first capture was a small striped lizard which turned out to be another Fringe-toed Lizard in its striking juvenile colours 8)
G 2017.08.18 IMG_9932 Acanthodactylus erythrurus, Fringe-toed Lizard, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
evidence that smokers have been amongst the dunes. Careless as there’s plenty of tinder for fires

On the dunes, I put in a lot of searching hoping to find another Wall Brown but all in vain. There were plenty of Grasshoppers; Cicada’s using the boardwalk uprights as staging posts; the black and white Cuckoo bee and the ‘ginormous’ Carpenter bee. However, there was one new discovery, and that was a striking two-tone geometrid moth which I was able to identify as Itame vincularia a moth which as far as I know has never been recorded in the UK. :)
H 2017.08.18 IMG_9946 Itame vincularia, Artola de Dunas, Cabopino, Marbella.jpg
I 2017.08.18 IMG_9949 Itame vincularia, Artola de Dunas, Cabopino, Marbella.jpg

My only butterfly record for that visit was the Common Blue (or should that be Southern Blue Polyommatus celina).
J 2017.08.18 IMG_9975 Polyomattus icarus (celina) Common (Southern) Blue, Cabopino dunes.jpg
K 2017.08.18 P1040088 Polyommatus icarus (celina), Common (Southern) Blue, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

Paella again for dinner. For a family of 4 best bought as a 2 x 2 rather than 1 x 4.

19/08/17. And so, the last day. Despite the early evening flight back my other half was concerned of the possibility of delays from extra security checks at Malaga airport following the Barcelona terror attack. Any plans I had for squeezing in a quick visit to Benalmadena butterfly house were scuppered :roll: :cry: . As it turned out, our early return to the airport (following the return of the hire car) left us with loads of time to kill waiting for our flight (exacerbated by the fact it was 50 minutes late anyway) :x . Touring the airport shops using up the last of our money was not my idea of fun. Airport checks were no different than normal :roll: .
The morning was spent getting our stuff together for a 10:00 check-out at Santa Cruz reception on the main resort. This had been our initial port of call on our arrival on the 5th. The family wanted to pass the time of day at Santa Cruz relaxing around the pools but there was no way I was going to rummage through my case to unpack my cozzie. This was a perfect excuse to nip off and do one last recce of my MP areas. Before that though, I searched around the Santa Cruz gardens and came up with my first and only Humming-bird Hawk-moth of the holiday :D .
L 2017.08.19 P1040105 Macroglosdsum stellatarum, Humming-bird Hawk-moth, Santa Cruz, CLC.jpg


Nothing was seen at MP3 so I went on to MP2 where I found a Mallow Skipper. I was able to get a reasonable slice of the underside too :D . Another Crimson Speckled moth (in better condition) was also seen and a Scolid wasp species (not a Mammoth wasp)
M 2017.08.19 IMG_9979 Carcharodus alceae, Mallow Skipper, MP2.jpg
N 2017.08.19 IMG_9985 Carcharodus alceae, Mallow Skipper, MP2.jpg
O 2017.08.19 IMG_9998 Crimson speckled, MP2.jpg
P 2017.08.19 IMG_9999 Scolid Wasp, MP2.jpg


Back at Santa Cruz the others were still by the pool and I volunteered to make myself useful by guarding our belongings by the sun loungers. Close by, two flowering ornamental bushes of the fabaceae family ensured my attention wasn’t undivided as the occasional geranium Bronze dropped by and then a Lang’s and finally Lampides boeticus a Long-tailed Blue. It was fitting that this was my last butterfly of the holiday and somewhat of relief after confidently assuring Wurzel and others that this species is a “given” sighting wherever/whenever abroad :lol: . A last minute one for me on this holiday :shock: .
Q 2017.08.19 P1040118 Lampides boeticus, Long-tailed Blue, Santa Cruz, CLC t.jpg


So that’s it folks. For me it was a good holiday made into a great one :D . I saw 9 "lifers" (Charlie Wilson; Ronnie Knight …. :P (8 photographed): - Muschampia proto (Sage Skipper); Gegenes nostrodamus (Mditerranean Skipper); Charaxes jasius (Two-tailed Pasha); Pyrgus onopordi (Rosy Grizzled Skipper); Argynnis pandora (Cardinal); Neohipparchia staltinus (Tree Grayling); Coenoympha dorus (Dusky Heath); Pseudotergumia fidia (Striped Grayling) and Hipparchia alcyone (Rock Grayling). Two others were confirmed: - Pyronia cecelia (Southern Gatekeeper (slight doubt on the one in France)) and Iphiclides feisthameli (Southern Swallowtail (also doubt on the one in France)).

In addition, there were the Common Blues and Brown Argus’s. I’m confident that my Common Blues were celina or Southern Blues. I think it is now classified as a separate species rather than a sub-species of Icarus :?: Icarus may have been seen too.
Regarding Brown Argus I need some expert help on this one as I believe the classification and distribution of Aricia is more complicated? Are my Brown Argus’s Aricia agestis agestis or Aricia agestis cramera or Aricia cramera the Southern Brown Argus? Both celina and cramera add two more lifers and it is academic whether they are species or sub-species as they cannot be seen in the UK. Of course I may have seen A. agestis agestis a form of which just happens to have bold underside lunules :?

The confirmed whites were Small (rapae). The others: - Geranium Bronze; Speckled Wood; Small Copper; Swallowtail; Holly Blue; Clouded Yellow; Lang’s Short-tailed Blue; Mallow Skipper; Long-tailed Blue and a possible African Migrant I have seen before some in the UK, some abroad and some both in the UK and abroad. In all a minimum total of 24 species and that’s not forgetting the moths; spiders; wasps; bees; beetles; bugs; grasshoppers; dragonflies; etc. etc. plus the 6ft Montpellier snake; lizards and a couple of new bird species to boot 8) . So not bad for a two-week holiday that on the surface didn’t seem to promise much :D :!: .

If you ever find yourself out on a family holiday to Spain in the heat of August and you need a bit more than the usual holiday trappings, take the time to explore, check-out the waste ground, the gardens and if possible the national parks …. there is plenty to see :) .

Phil

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Chris Jackson » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:40 am

Hi Phil,
It looks like your Crimson Speckled is feeding on Common Heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum).
This plant is used by many insects also in the south of France towards the end of the season.
I've enjoyed following your story and am glad you got so many lifers.
Cheers,
Chris
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Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:10 pm

Chris Jackson wrote:I've enjoyed following your story and am glad you got so many lifers.Cheers,
Thanks for your comment Chris :D My reports have been a labour of love as much a record for posterity as well as to inform others and to this end I’ve tried to capture the events surrounding the sightings if sometimes seemingly irrelevant? I'm pleased if this has helped make the reports a tad more interesting :) .
Chris Jackson wrote:It looks like your Crimson Speckled is feeding on Common Heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum).
Thanks again Chris :D . I'm glad you've told me and saved me the time having to search for it (I keep a list of flowering plants in their family groups (though I'm not very good at remembering their names :oops:).
It does live up to its name "common" and a lot of my photos show it with butterflies and other insects and it appeared more prevalent in the less overgrown areas. In particular, MP2 and La Alcaiceria yielded lots of butterflies using it :) .

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David M
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby David M » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:00 pm

Glad to read that you had an excellent trip, Phil, in spite of the security concerns.

As you say, just about any area of neglected ground can harbour interesting wildlife at this latitude. You have made me even more eager to check out Spain next year, which will be a new area for me but one that I hope will be as enjoyable as my trips to France and Austria over the past few years.

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:50 pm

Hi David
My view is France in the Ariege region in August was better for butterflies. I prefer the more rural and rustic feel to France too but Spain does have a lot to offer and you will undoubtedly see new species when you go there :) .

I’ve have only been to Austria once on a school trip some 45 years ago: - Based in Konigsee and visited Chimensee; Bertchesgarden; Salzburg and other places. All I can remember on the wildlife front was my first Black Redstart; Alpine Chough and Swallowtails (vaguely), on the top of the Jenner mountain and large brown frogs in the forests :o .
Our time-share company has an alpine resort in Austria but my other half isn’t keen on it for a holiday (mores the pity). I’d imagine there are plenty of alpine specialists to see, the Erebias Blues and Fritillaries. Perhaps one day after I’ve retired :) .

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby millerd » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:27 pm

Thank you for a great read, Phil - I've been following your reports throughout and it just shows the value of investigating every likely area and making the most of everywhere you go. The things I must have missed on past holidays... Your stamina in the Mediterranean heat is amazing too! (And retirement? Yes, definitely to be recommended! :) )

Dave

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:12 pm

Thanks for your comments Dave :D
millerd wrote:And retirement? Yes, definitely to be recommended! )
It cannot come quick enough :lol:

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby David M » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:48 pm

Philzoid wrote:Hi David
My view is France in the Ariege region in August was better for butterflies. I prefer the more rural and rustic feel to France too but Spain does have a lot to offer and you will undoubtedly see new species when you go there


Thanks, Phil. I'm sure you're right. France (being further north and wetter) will have superior vegetation (I expect Spain to be more arid) but Spain DOES have an array of endemics that are highly interesting and has a powerful draw based upon that fact!

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby aeshna5 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:42 am

Been enjoying these Spanish adventures as I'm off there next week. The ornamental bush the Long-tailed Blue is on isn't Fabaceae though; it's Polygala myrtifolia; a type of shrubby milkwort.

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:51 am

aeshna5 wrote:Been enjoying these Spanish adventures as I'm off there next week. The ornamental bush the Long-tailed Blue is on isn't Fabaceae though; it's Polygala myrtifolia; a type of shrubby milkwort.
Thanks very much for that information Aeshna :D . I jumped to conclusions due to the flowers (pea like form) and the fact that as the butterfly's larvae feed on plants of the fabaceae family (it may have been using it more than just as a nectar source?)

I'm sure you will have a great time out in Spain and look forward to seeing the reports of your adventures :)

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:58 pm

Fantastic shots and reportage again Philzoid, you did a hell of a lot better than I did last year in Lisbon :mrgreen: :mrgreen: and really well when you consider that it was a family holiday and not one solely for the purpose of butterflying :D I'm just disappointed that it's come to an end :(

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby David M » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:59 pm

When's the next foreign jaunt planned, Phil?

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:18 pm

Sorry for not replying earlier. I thought it was winding down so to speak so I haven't been into UKB for a while :oops: . In fact I've started uploading stuff to iNaturalist.org thinking I may pick us some of the errant species .. but it's not that easy. Many species cannot be identified simply from a photo as I'm sure you're well aware.
When uploading an image on iNaturalist ("Add Observation") you are invited to name it as you see fit. However, all that's happened is that I've had confirmations from "the community" for the ones I already knew. Others have been got down to genus so that's not bad. The good thing as I see it, is you build up a portfolio of all your wildlife observations pinpointed on a map of the world. You can also have your data accessible to other databases (for example "Biodiversidad de Andalucía, España/Biodiversity of Andalusia, Spain" or "Butterflies of Europe") if you want to. Personally I like the idea that my stuff can be seen by anyone in the world and would like to think that the data ultimately goes towards building a better natural environment for the future. Who knows :| ? Does anyone else use this resource and do you have views on it?

The exploring writing and posting was great and yes, it was a shame to end it.
Whether I'll be going back again is more difficult to know. Both me and Sharon are considering leaving our "Holiday Ownership" company as there is an ongoing European court ratified claim against timeshare companies along the lines of the current PPI mis-selling claims. A whole host of consulting firms have sprung up offering to get you compensation on a no-win no fee basis (25% of you 'winnings' go to them should you be successful). However this may jeopardise your membership and there is a significant cost (we've been quoted £5700) to legally release you from your contract. Although this is not connected to the compensation claim it is implied that you would be wise to relinquish your contract. This is based on the consultants telling you that your signed contract (in our case Fractional ownership) with its annual fees still has you tied into 'perpetuity' (the basis of the illegality) and that the holiday company plans to abscond to outside of the EU to evade further legal costs? Then add to this all the uncertainty of Brexit and you see the difficult we and others face. As it happens these holidays are costing us increasingly too much and we're only getting 2 weeks every two years. Adding to the difficulty however, is the fact that so far I have not found any information on the internet from people who have been through the compensation claims and contract cancelation process.

David M wrote:When's the next foreign jaunt planned, Phil?
WRT holidays I would love to go to other places and at more optimal times but it has to fit around the family and we're hopeless at planning these things (I'm sure holiday ownership works well for some, those that plan better and are more flexible as to when they go). So no is short answer there I'm afraid David :? . Perhaps next year it will be in the UK, we tend to alternate it.

I am unsure whether these comments break any of the rules of UKB and apologise in advance if they do and fully accept it if this post is removed.

Phil

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David M
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby David M » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:50 pm

I don't see why these comments should infringe UKB's R and R's, Phil. You are simply calling things as they are (based upon facts as you know them).

Sorry to hear about your travails and I hope they will sort themselves out in due course.

It's been a pleasure to read about your foreign jaunts, but sometimes, I think ownership of a camper van is preferable to static homes...at least, that's what I intend to do err towards once I have begun retirement. :)

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 7 (final)

Postby Philzoid » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:08 pm

Thanks for your comments David, and yes, I agree a campervan would be the ideal way to explore 8) . It would definitely suit me but I'm not sure the rest of the clan would be impressed. They prefer more salubrious accommodation :)


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