Holiday to Spain Part 4

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Philzoid
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:18 pm
Location: Woking

Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby Philzoid » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:12 pm

11/08/17
Throughout my time in Spain I’d entertained myself during those ‘spare moments’ by trying to get a definitive ID in-flight photo of the Red-rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica that flew around the apartment and MP1. I never succeeded (of course), but finding one doing a Buzby on a telephone line outside the apartment was good consolation :D .
A 2017.08.11 P1030042 Cecropis daurica, Red-rumped Swallow, Las Farolas t.jpg

Bioparc zoo wasn’t too difficult to find with my daughter’s navigational help. I won’t dwell too much on the zoo as I’m aware they are not everyone’s cup of tea. What I will say is that this zoo (like many modern ones) has put a lot of thought into its design with the priority being the animals’ well-being. That said, in my view, some animals like the big cats do not adapt well to a zoo environment. Others like their Komodo Dragon, brought up by one keeper/owner from a hatchling, seem well at home :) .
B 2017.08.11 IMG_8896 Komodo dragon with owner giving brush and clean-up, Bioparc, Fuengirola.jpg
what’s that saying about pets looking like their owners

No butterflies were seen at the zoo (unlike my two visits to Jungle Park in Tenerife where I saw Monarch (Danaus plexippus) and Canary Speckled Wood (Parage xiphioides) on both occasions).

Our next day saw us drive to the beautiful city of Ronda 8) . The A-397 mountain road cuts through stunning scenery and is a challenging and fun road to drive if you’re prepared to play on the pedals and fan of the gearbox (a necessity to get the best out of my Skoda Rapid Spaceback hire car) :) . I was reasonably quick (and the missus was slightly sick) but Motorcyclists would still whizz by showing you how it should be done :shock: . Not for them the (quirky amusing) picture warning signs showing two motorcycles stood up on their front wheels directly behind a slow car.

Ronda was as ever great to explore and ‘slightly’ hotter :wink: than when I last went there on 28th of Dec 2015. The views from the new bridge are spectacular and this time we discovered that there was walk-way to take you down and right under the bridge 8) .
C 2017.08.12 P1280339 Puente Neuvo, Ronda.jpg

The pathway was somewhat precarious and I tend to get slight vertigo near precipices, but when a Blue butterfly popped up all concern disappeared as I inched ‘close to the edge’ with my youngest imploring me to come back, to get this record shot …. my second Holly Blue of the holiday :D .
D 2017.08.12 IMG_9040 Holly Blue near Peunte Nuevo, Ronda t.jpg
E 2017.08.12 P1280383 Puente viejo and white-washed houses of Ronda.jpg


At Las Farolas back from Ronda, we found our electronic front door keys had been disabled :shock: . Club-la Costa had forgotten we were on a 2 week stay and had shut us out :x . The day before we’d been set to go on an excursion to Cordoba, but they cancelled it due to insufficient interest, and forgot to tell us. We’d been up early and waited for a bus that never arrived and now a further drive was required to get to CLC’s reception offices on the main complex to get our keys re-activated :roll: . Understandably we were a bit miffed. This wasn’t to be the end of their bouts of incompetence as I’ll mention in a later post :| .
By the time we got back it was getting on for tea-time. I only had a little time to explore of MP1 and all I saw were Stonechats out of reach of a decent shot even for the FZ-72.

13/08/17. I was up early and back out to explore MP1 and MP2. Despite extensive searching for some more skippers all I managed was another Southern Gatekeeper which is an attractive small butterfly nonetheless.
F 2017.08.12 IMG_8965 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP1.jpg
I then spotted a moth which turned out to be a Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella. I’d seen this moth in Tenerife and it led me on a merry dance trying to get a picture. This one was much more obliging :) .
G 2017.08.12 IMG_9001 Crimson Speckled, MP1.jpg

Moving on to MP2 my next and only butterfly was a faded Common Blue. It seemed that the butterfly numbers were falling, based on the increased effort I was needing to find them :? .
H 2017.08.12 IMG_9002 Polyommatus icarus (male), MP2.jpg

I was hoping that another Holly Blue would put in an appearance at the shrubby end of MP2 but it wasn’t to be. However, I did discover another paper wasp nest, this one much smaller than the one at Cabopino. It was never manned by more than three wasps at a time, and they seem much more alert to my presence. One of the cells contained a larva and another had been capped off.
I 2017.08.12 IMG_9018 Paper wasp nest, MP2 t.jpg

For the afternoon, we decided to go back to Andy’s Beach. After my encounter with the snake I trying to remain optimistic that something new would turn up despite a sense of plateauing on the butterfly front :? . Steve Nelson would be playing his retro music and we’d be going for a late lunch paella .. something to look forward to. :)
And so, under hot sweltering conditions I set out again on the dunes, hopeful of adding something new to my tally. My first challenge was to photograph a species of fast flying bee which I’d seen both at Cabopino and my MP areas. This is my best effort. I hope someone can identify it :?: .
J 2017.08.13 IMG_9060 Bee. Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
Frequently seen but as yet unidentified

Soon I found my first butterfly which was one of those slatey purple-grey Common Blues (or Southern Blues). I persisted with it in an effort to get some of its upperside in view.
K 2017.08.13 IMG_9076 Polyommatus icarus (f. celina), Common Blue (male), Cabopino dunes.jpg
L 2017.08.13 IMG_9083 Polyommatus icarus, Common Blue (male), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
M 2017.08.13 IMG_9094 Polyommatus icarus, Common Blue (male), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
N 2017.08.13 IMG_9108 Polyommatus icarus, Common Blue (male), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

Next, a “micro-moth” that wasn’t, caught my attention. I believe it to be Eublemma candidana which though small belongs to the Erebidae family of the Macro-moth group :) .
O 2017.08.13 IMG_9132 Eublemma candidana, Artola de Dunas, Cabopino, Marbella.jpg
Eublemma candidana?

Heading further west and closer to the beach I found Carpobrotus edulis, or Ice Plant, a pretty pink-flowering ground-cover succulent (similar to Mesembryanthemums) that the Common Blues used as a nectar source. The Association for the protection of the dunes consider this plant to be an invasive species and periodically enlist help from school kids and other volunteers to remove it.
P 2017.08.13 IMG_9158 Common Blue on Ice Plant, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
Q 2017.08.13 IMG_9136 polyommatus icarus, Common Blue (female), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

I continued on westwards but then, surprise; shock; horror, I spotted a naked bloke on the boardwalk about 150 yards away :shock: :!: . I’d unwittingly walked into a nudist area and there was I in shoes; shorts T-shirted and hatted and carrying cameras …. :oops:
Hmmmm .. Oh well that’s as far as I go :roll: and set course for eastwards back to Andy’s beach … but at a leisurely pace of course no hurry. …plenty of searching energy left in the tank before the heat would get to me.
It was while I was on my way back that I got perhaps my best surprise of the whole holiday :shock: . At the top of a dune bank and I put up a Swallowtail. It flew around but then it landed almost at the same spot :o . I couldn’t believe my luck nor the fact that every time I put it up, it came back like a boomerang to land in close proximity :D . The butterfly was a stunning fresh-looking specimen a splash of vibrant colour in a monochrome environment. Its flight was wonderful to behold and at times it almost landed on me. I don’t know what it was that was keeping it in that area of around 10 square metres but I was thankful for it :D . The butterfly was easy to approach from behind with the macro but didn’t like me getting in close head-on. That’s where the FZ-72 came in handy for the stained glass shot. :)
R 2017.08.13 IMG_9172 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
S 2017.08.13 P1030400 Papilio machaon gorganis, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
T 2017.08.13 IMG_9203 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
U 2017.08.13 P1030407 Papilio machaon gorganis, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
V 2017.08.13 P1030417 Papilio machaon gorganis, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
W 2017.08.13 IMG_9233 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
X 2017.08.13 P1030421 Papilio machaon gorganis, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino g.jpg
Y 2017.08.13 IMG_9244 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
Z 2017.08.13 IMG_9256 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
ZA 2017.08.13 IMG_9266 Papilio machon gorganus, Swallowtail, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
10 pictures is just about enough to showcase this wonderful insect

After 15 minutes or so I knew I’d need to be getting back and was happy I had a few quality pics in the can :D . Only afterwards it dawned on me with regret that I hadn’t taken any video with the Lumix …. It has a good video record quality and this butterfly’s flight and close proximity had been ideal for such a capture :cry: . Will I ever get another chance?

The entertainment and Paella went down very well. Sorry but no pictures of the paella this time Chris :wink: .

Our dinner was spent back at the apartment on the veranda. As ever there was the evening accompaniment from the chirping crickets. Strangely though at night there were no flying insects or at least ones we could actually see (throughout the holiday we all got bitten to death by mozzies/sand-flies etc :x ). As well as the veranda light, there were globe lights lighting the garden and path to the swimming pool. I would’ve expected to have had many moths flying in but there hadn’t been any :? ….. until that night. A small moth was captured and photographed. It was Duponchelia fovealis (European pepper Moth) and coincidently it turned up in my garden trap in Woking just 5 days after I’d got back :o . Native to Southern Europe, over here it is an adventive. Another adventive I take regularly is the Cydalima perspectalis or The Box Tree Moth. The larvae do severe damage to buxus (Box). It is a species we are going to be pretty familiar with in the future. Anyway I digress .. again :wink: .
ZB 2017.08.13 IMG_9271 Duponchelia fovealis t.jpg
duponchelia fovealis

Then other insects arrived and caused a bit of a stir due to their size. The first was a male mantis (probably Mantis religiosa). Great flyers these insects. This was quickly followed by a ‘big black bug’ which turned out to be one of the chirping crickets ….. well actually not this one as it was a female identified by the presence of an ovipositor. It was bigger than I imagined a field cricket to be, around 1.5 inches in body length minus antennae and ovipositor :o .
ZC 2017.08.13 IMG_9282 Mantis religiosa, Apartment 4 Las Farolas t.jpg
ZD 2017.08.13 IMG_9279 Field Cricket, Apartment 4, Las Farolas.jpg


More "Insects of Spain" to follow (more butterflies … eventually)

millerd
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Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby millerd » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:35 pm

Lovely Swallowtail photos, Phil. :) It would be good if they got their skates on a bit and hopped the Channel more often... :)

Dave

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:03 pm

Sorry for the late reply. Just got back from a few days in Sunderland :) .
millerd wrote: It would be good if they got their skates on a bit and hopped the Channel more often...
I fully agree with you on that one Dave. My very first encounter with Papilio machaon was with larvae seen at Jugon-les-Lacs in Northern France, Brittany in 2000. It's a relatively short hop from Brittany and the butterfly is a powerful flyer so perhaps as the climate continues to warm up we'll get our wish :D

Phil

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Wurzel
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Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby Wurzel » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:05 pm

Fantastic Swallowtails Philzoid :D :mrgreen: It was also great to see Red-rumped Swallows :D , the last time I saw them I was in Kefalonia and they were flying over a swimming pool and drinking(?) 8)

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby David M » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:29 pm

Some lovely insects generally there, Phil, not just the butterflies. Southern Europe is a treasure trove compared to our relatively cool climate and a visit at just about any time of year can turn up interesting things as you have proved.

Philzoid
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:18 pm
Location: Woking

Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby Philzoid » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:09 am

Wurzel wrote:It was also great to see Red-rumped Swallows , the last time I saw them I was in Kefalonia and they were flying over a swimming pool and drinking(?)
Hi Wurzel :) The red-rumps were mixed in with Barn Swallows and they occasionally came down to drink from our swimming pool too. Also, lots of House Martins and ‘Swifts’ (there is a possibility that the latter (or some of them) may have been Pallid Swift?) Impossible to photo in flight though I tried on many occasions.

David M wrote:Some lovely insects generally there, Phil, not just the butterflies. Southern Europe is a treasure trove compared to our relatively cool climate and a visit at just about any time of year can turn up interesting things as you have proved.
Yes David, definitely a treasure trove although butterfly count was not as high as in Ariege region of France in the same month 2015. I will be totting up the species on the final posting :) .

aeshna5
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Re: Holiday to Spain Part 4

Postby aeshna5 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:10 am

Phil- your ice plant looks like Aptenia cordifolia than Carpobrotus; a much smaller plant.

Think the mantid is Iris oratoria + the cricket is Southern Field Cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, so different to the field Cricket, rare in the UK.


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