Tuesday, 27 September 2011


As anybody who reads this blog will know, I like all wildlife not just the birds. So I was really happy to see and get a few pictures of some of the other gems on offer in this part of Andalucia. And what a gem this fantastic Swallowtail is, we only saw one and it was a breezy day and it steadfastly refused to stop flickering it's wings as it tried to nectar from a plant alongside the track.

The Swallowtail and the Large Tortoiseshell below were both new species for me but I only saw one of each, maybe a bit too late in the season, although I must say it didn't really feel like Autumn.

Spanish Gatekeeper, Clouded Yellow and Grayling were among the other species seen regularly as well as what I think are Wall butterflies in the next two pictures.

There were also a couple of Skipper species which were quite abundant and as you can see below, at least three of what appear to be Grizzled Skippers were among them.
***Many thanks to Marianne from The Wild Side blog for IDing the above as Sage Skippers***

Pictured below is probably the biggest and most handsome bee i've ever seen, Blue Winged Carpenter Bee I think is it's name. It looks quite fearsome because of it's size and colour but I understand that they are quite placid and generally quite a shy species. Again only two were seen, I would have liked to have seen more.

The fantastic creature below needs less introduction I think, it's a Hummingbird Hawkmoth of course and as usual was pretty difficult to get a half decent shot of. I've only seen one this year in the UK, at New Hythe lakes, so it was nice to get another opportunity to see this amazing moth.

Remember I said yesterday that Carol had a bit of an accident on the trail on our first day? Well below is the Preying Mantis that I found alongside her as I administered first aid. What with that and the Vultures circling overhead I clearly saved her from a very grisly end!

It was my birthday on Thursday, so we decided that we would bag a peak by way of celebration. El Simancon is the second highest peak in the area at around 4,600 ft., although Grazalema is some way above sea level so we only had to climb about two thirds of the total height I think. Luckily it was also our only overcast day, I don't think it would have been conquered in full sun. The rewards for our efforts included some very nice views of some of the local Ibex, pictured below. I think the first is a female and the second her youngster although i'm not 100% sure. It would have been nice to see a male but although we saw some more near the summit they were all females.

Our reward on the way down was an up close and personal meeting with a Spanish Viper species of snake which made me jump as it exited a clump of Thyme alongside my feet, it was under a rock before I regained my composure, too late for a picture.
Apart from one other snake spotted by Carol on our last walk, the reptiles were mostly represented by these abundant and colourful Lizards below. I think they are known as Wall Lizards but again i'm not sure.

Lastly, one more bird picture of a Rock Bunting that I forgot to post yesterday and below that a view of the village of Grazalema. We will definitely return to this beautiful area, most likely in the Spring when the birds, wildlife and wild flowers are apparently even more fantastic.


Bob Bushell said...

I love your holiday snaps, they are superb.

Jason K said...

Wonderful photoss Phil...I may have to twist my wife's arm next year and go on holiday there myself...it looks great

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent stuff Phil, Swallowtails are superb and the HB Hawkmoth pics are great, as Jason says it does sound tempting to to go and have a look there :-)

Marianne said...

Lovely photos. I think your skippers are Sage Skippers (Muschampia proto) :)

Warren Baker said...

The Swallowtails do it for me Phil, excellent!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Really enjoyed part two of your trip .
Nice shots of the Swallowtails and Large Tortoiseshell , and would agree your Wall ID , a female I believe . Fantastic was the right word for that bee . You did well with the HHM shots , not the easiest are they ?
Shame the Ibex were so shy .
Glad there were no more Larks to ID .
Hope this works , fifth try .

Chris said...

It looks like you enjoyed yourself! Wow what a wonderful set of pictures! Well done Phil, it is not so easy to get nice shots during holidays but you did it well!