For a few years now I have enjoyed photographing butterflies at home and on holiday. Before we go anywhere on holiday I try to find out as much as I can about the butterflies there. Sometimes this proves very difficult, so I thought I should start a blog to keep a record of what I have seen.
I hope that this information will be useful to others.
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.
I retraced my steps towards the car park, but took a
shortcut below the observatory as I wanted to head towards a stream in the
valley below. I noticed that a small cloud had developed above the valley and
it appeared to be stuck there. As I entered into its shade I saw a lovely
female Escher's Blue, Agrodiaetus escheri,
waiting for the sun to come out again. I decided to wait with it to see if I
could get a photo of the upper side of its wings.
Thankfully, when the sun came back out it opened up its
wings. I have taken many pictures of female Lycaenidae,
which I find almost impossible to identify from the upper wing shots. I hope
that this picture may help me to identify other female Esher's Blues.
As I walked down the feint path in the mountain side I came
across several Spanish Brassy Ringlets, Erebia
hispania. They were quite obliging as they sat against the rocks warming up
once the cloud had passed.
It is difficult to say which blue butterfly was the most
common on the way down to the stream. There were probably equal numbers of
Escher's Blues, Common Blues, Polyommatus
celina, and Nevada Blues, Plebicula
golgus. With almost every step another would fly into view.
The cloud also slowed the Apollos, Parnassius apollo nevadensis, down a bit. I remember on my previous visit
watching them for ages drifting up and down the mountain side without stopping.
On my descent they were all on the ground, only flying when they were
On the short grass by a spring I saw this lovely Safflower
Skipper, Pyrgus carthaminevadensis.
This beautiful female Knapweed Fritillary, Melitaea phoebe, briefly stopped next to
the path. This is the first time I have seen this butterfly.
When I reached the grassy area next to the stream I saw a
few larger fritillaries. They all turned out to be Dark Green Fritillaries, Argynnis aglaja. A butterfly that I
haven't seen in the Sierra Nevada before.
There were also about 20 or so smaller fritillaries. These
were Meadow Fritillaries, Melitaea
parthenoides, another butterfly that I haven't seen before. It is strange
that they were so common this year, but two years ago I didn't see any in
exactly the same location.
I spent some time down at the stream, enjoying the beautiful
clear water cascading through the rocks and the many insects that live alongside
I was thrilled to see this cow pat, which was attracting
various male blue butterflies. In this picture there are Common, Escher and
Every so often I would see a Purple-shot Copper, Lycaena alciphron gordius. I love the
purple edging to their wings.
Other butterflies seen there, but not photographed were
Clouded Yellows, Colias crocea,
Cardinal Fritillaries, Argynnis pandora
seitzi, Small Tortoiseshells, Aglais
urticae, Bath Whites, Pontia
daplidice and Wall Browns, Lasiommata
On my way back up the mountain I saw this lovely Heath Fritillary, Melitaea athalia celadussa.
It was fantastic seeing so many butterflies and such a variety, but I had to drag myself away as I still had a couple of other places I wanted to check out.