Blog: El Paraje de las Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada walks · nature · culture · events · publications · weather
blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

27 July 2011

Sierra Nevada, a paradise for nature photographers

One of the interesting phenomena of the Sierra Nevada are the insects inhabiting the high peak areas. According to an article on the Fauna de Sierra Nevada on the website of Waste Ideal, there are possibly about five thousand species of invertebrates of which more than a hundred are endemic to this mountain range. A few days ago we took the microbus up from Capileira the Mirador de Trevélez (2,650m) and enjoyed taking pictures of the flora and fauna in the vicinity of this viewpoint. We wandered about on the boggy pastures or borreguiles of the Barranco del Postercuelo and the Barranco del Peñon Negro above the dirt track going to the Refugio de Poquiera. The Estrella de las Nieves immediately caught our eye and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of Apollos, Fritallaries and colonies of Silver-studded blues. We saw one Plebejus Argus being caught in a spider web. We came across a longhorned beetle, Iberodorcadion lorquini, and and a ´smiling´ grasshopper. While walking cross-country up through pebbled terrain we saw many endemic plants, like the Sierra Nevada violet and a black beetle called Pimelia monticola. We followed the Pista de Capileira (antigua carretera de Sierra Nevada) back to the Mirador de Trevélez and photographed a Baetica ustulata holding on to a flower of the Jurinea humilis and an Eumigus rubioi, an endemic wingless grasshopper, enjoying his lunch. A Silver-studded Blue was comparting a flower of the Reseda complicata with a couple of interesting looking insects. While we still had some time left before the microbus would take us back, we climbed up the Alto del Chorrillo, an excellent watch out point with a large ruined building that was used to store supplies in the Civil War. Our selection of photographs of Monday the 25th of July shows that if you´re interested in nature photography in the high peak area, but don´t want to walk for hours, taking the microbus up from Capileira to the Mirador de Trevélez is an excellent alternative. On the way back somebody showed us his inspiring pictures of beautiful flowers, mountain goats and birds. At that moment we were confirmed in the thought that the higher zones of the Sierra Nevada is a paradise for nature photographers, especially in this time of the year.

24 July 2011

Erebia hispania or Spanish Brassy Ringlet

The Erebia hispania is now considered to be endemic to the Sierra Nevada and therefor one of the highlights of butterfly lovers that visit this mountain range. The habitat of this Montañesa excéntrica are stony and wet grasslands between 1,800 and 2,900m. On Waste magazine we can read that the number is reducing of this Nymphalidae and that it is listed as ´threatened´. It also says that it flies in the Pyrenees as well. Tristan Lafranchis, in his latest book on identifying European species, divided hispania into two distinct species, ´Erebia hispania´ occurring in the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain, and ´Erebia rondoui´ or the Pyrenees Brassy Ringlet as confined to the Pyrenees. On the fore-wing upperside of the Spanish Brassy Ringlet the orange band becomes abruptly narrower and the black ocelli is reduced ormissing on the male hind-wing upperside. Its primary foodplants are gramineae (grass) and Festuca (fescue). We photographed our Spanish Brassy Ringlet in a ´borreguil´ close to the Barranco de las Albardas (2,600m) at the beginning of August last year. It was sharing its habitat with a Parnassius apollo. We are now planning to go back there in the same week hoping to reencounter this unique Erebia. In Dutch its name is Spaanse glanserebia and in French it is known as Moiré des Ibères.
PS On the 7th of August 2011 we did indeed reencounter a Spanish Brassy Ringlet in the same barranco, see article De Bérchules a Trevélez por el Horcajo.

Related key words: nymphalidae, satyrinae, satíridos, satyridae, satyrines, satyrids, browns, bruintje, brush-footed butterflies, vlinder, schmetterling, papillon, natuurreis, natuurvakantie, turismo de naturaleza, nature holiday

23 July 2011

Programa festivo San Pantaleón 2011 in Bérchules

This is the programme of the fiesta de San Pantaleón, the patron saint of Bérchules. The procesion in his honour will be held on the 27th of July at 21.00 hours.

related keywords: programma , alpujarras

18 July 2011

Pseudochazara hippolyte or Nevada grayling

The Pseudochazara hippolyte is called Cuatro ocelos de Sierra Nevada in Spanish as it has four ocelli. This Nevada grayling can be seen flying in Sierra Nevada at altitudes between 1,400 and 2,700m from the third week of June to mid July. The female lays eggs on Festuca Indigesta (fescue grasslands or Nevadan stripped grasslands) that grows on the siliceous upper slopes and summits. The Pseudochazara hippolyte is included in the ´Libro Rojo de los Lepidópteros ibéricos´ (The Spanish Invertebrates Red Data Book), but classified as not threatened. In the Libro Rojo de Invertebrados de Andalucía it is classified as vulnerable. This Red Data Book is available on the internet as PDF and this is for us a good source of information on this butterfly. As there are isolated populations in the different mountainous areas different subspecies are described. In the Red Data Book it mentions that in Sierra Nevada there is a subspecies known as Pseudochazara hippolyte williamsi and that three other subspecies in Spain exist: Pseudochazara hippolyte augustini in the Sierra de Gádor, Pseudochazara hippolyte aislada in the Sierra de María-Orce and Pseudochazara hippolyte reverchoni in north-eastern Andalusian Sierras. According to the information available in 2001, it is mentioned that the populations of the Sierra Nevada are not endangered, whereas the other three subspecies must be regarded as vulnerable because of the low population density, the small number of colonies and the small area they occupy. There are also populations of the Pseudochazara hippolyte in the Ural, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, southern Siberia, Mongolia and China, where they fly at altitudes between 1,500 and 2,000m.
We had the privilige to see a number of Nevada graylings two days ago at an altitude of about 2,500m while walking over a ridge between the Alto the las Chorreras and the Peñon del Lobo in the sierra above Mecina Bombarón. The photo below gives an idea of the fantastic views from this ridge as well as of the habitat of the Nevadaheremiet as it is known in Dutch or Ocellé andalou as it is known in French.

Related links: European interests group of Butterfly conversation in Spain; in the text on the highlights of the Sierra Nevada, Pseudochazara hippolyte or Nevada grayling is mentioned.

Related key words: insectos, lepidóteros, ropaloceros, nymphalidae, satyrinae, satíridos, satyridae, nymphalidés, papillons, vlinders, natuurvakantie, turismo de naturaleza, nature holiday

17 July 2011

Libelloides longicornis

Just after writing an article on the Libelloides baeticus, we saw a large number of a different species of owlflies near the Peñon del Lobo in the Sierra above Mecina Bombarón at an altitude about 2,400 metres. We were delighted to see two of them resting on a stem that kept still just long enough to get a picture. A little bit higher up we reached a mountain pasture, and there they were flying around in even greater numbers. The ones we photographed yesterday were the Libelloides longicornis, which occur in a number countries in southern Europe. We found an informative text on the Libelloides longicornis in Dutch on the website of the Soortenbank. We are now looking forward to photograph the other four species of owlflies of Spain: Libelloides coccajus, Libelloides ictericus, Libelloides hispanicus and the Libelloides cunii.

Related key words: ascalaphus libelloides, insectos, neurópteros, ascalaphidae, vlinderhaften, insecten, netvleugeligen, alpujarras, sierra nevada, andalusia, andalucía, spain, spanje, turismo de naturaleza, nature holiday, natuurvakantie, aAscalaphe commun, langfühlerige schmetterlingshaft, netzflügler, schmetterlingshafte, ascalaphidae