Grazalema National Park, Spain

Discussion in 'Field Herping and Reptile Studies' started by moloch05, Aug 5, 2013.

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  1. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    At the moment, I am in Spain for work. On this past weekend, my wife and I headed to Grazalema National Park for a couple of nights. This area was about a 3 hour drive from Almonaster La Real where we are staying. The park is situated a little north of Gibralter and Cadiz. This post includes a few reptile shots but mostly consists of general natural history types of photos with a number of butterfly photos.

    Grazalema is a mountainous place with high limestone outcrops. It has a good trail system and we spent much of our time exploring these. It is summer and temperatures were faily high in the mid-afternoon (low 30Cs). The lowland areas were dry with golden grasses but higher up, there still were areas with flowers and green growth. Butterflies were abundant and I saw several that I have not previously encountered. I found lizards but unfortunately no snakes. I was not able to get out on night walks on either of my two nights in this area.

    Here are a few habitat shots that I took along the drive from El Bosque (where we stayed) towards Zahara at the northern end of the park. It really was a beautiful place.
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    These are shots along a trail that passed over a high ridge and then dropped down to Grazalema. I worked this area a couple of times.
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    Black Wheatear: these birds were one of several that seem to be restricted to the rocky outcrops. I also saw Roch Thrush, Rock Buntings, Common Wheatears, Black Redstarts, Woodchat Shrikes, Hoopoe and Sardinian Warblers in the same area.
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    Griffon Vulture: These giant birds were common in the park in areas similar to the above photos. They nested on cliff tops high above some of the tails. Once it became hot each morning, they would take flight about the same time. For awhile, there would be large numbers of these soaring along the edges of the cliff before they dispersed for the day.
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    Red-billed Choughs: large corvids that flew in flocks usually high up above the cliffs.
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    Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus): These lacertids were a frequent sight in rocky areas along the trails.
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    This poor lizard appeared to be near the end of its life. One of its legs was non-functional and the scales on its back looked to be damaged.
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    Not certain but I think these to be Andalusian Wall Lizards (Podarcis vaucheri). Some of these were mostly blue but they all were shy and hard to photograph.
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    ... busy lapping up water that it found on the top of a rock below an oak tree:
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    ... always suspicious:
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    Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas): common in the morning. They seemed to retire in the early afternoon and I saw none late in the day.
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    Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)? Not certain about the id. These small blues were common on the same plant as was frequented by Small Coppers.
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    Southern Brown Argus (Aricia agestis): common on the same plant as frequented by the blues above.
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    Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra): fairly common
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    Bath White (Pontia daplidice): I only saw a few of these
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    Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea): common
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    Swallowtail (Papilio machaon): I only saw this single butterfly near the top of one of the peaks. I also saw a Scarce Swallowtail, a smaller swallow tail with long tails and white rather than yellow wings.
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    Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
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    Striped Greyling (Pseudotergumia fidia): common at higher elevations.
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    Tree Greyling (Neohipparchias tatilinus): A few seen, especially late in the day.
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    Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus): common and active in the late afternoon
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    I am not certain but I think these to be Iberian Marbled Whites (Melanargia lachesis). I saw them occasionally on our walks.
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    Skipper1:
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    Skipper 2:
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    Skipper 3:
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    Spanish Ibex: We found two of these late one afternoon on the edge of cliffs.
    male:
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    female:
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    Stonechat:
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    Flowers:
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    Thistles: Their flowers had rigid, sharp spines.
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    Grazalema, a little village in the north center of the park:
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  2. Morelia.spilota

    Morelia.spilota New Member

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    Awesome Photo's moloch05 thanks for sharing them, not all of us can travel the world to see these far of places and it allows us the see different views of nature that we might ever see....

    Craig.
     
  3. MathewB

    MathewB Very Well-Known Member

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    Very cool pics, I'd be careful around those Ibex/Goat things, they're evil, El Diablo‚Äč....
     
  4. borntobnude

    borntobnude Guest

    Again , you have given us some great pictures and information ,and made us jealous . I am sure that your camera equipment is Very Heavy and you should not be burdening your wife with it , May I offer my services on your next boring adventure :lol:
     
  5. saintanger

    saintanger Very Well-Known Member

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    very nice pic's, especially the butterflies. the pic of the lizard drinking of the rock is a really good one. thanks for sharing.
     
  6. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    I love limestone, there must be some speccy caves in that place. And I love your pics. thanks!
     
  7. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much, everyone, for the feedback.

    Craig, this was a beautiful place that I never expected to visit. Sometimes work is good!

    Mathew, the sheep were shy and I only encountered them once.

    Rodney, I could use some help with the gear. I carry the camera and lenses as well as all the water and food for the day so the pack is heavy at first.

    thanks, saintanger.

    Steve, there were caves in the park that had paintings from thousands of years ago. This area has been inhabited for a long time. There were Roman ruins near the little town of Ronda.


    Almonaster La Real: I stay in an apartment here in this old village. The monastery was originally constructed as a fortress by the Moors about 1000 AD.
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    Almonaster La Real: I usually tried to walk this area each evening. It was always good for a few birds and occasionally a wall lizard or two.
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    Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus). I saw these lizards while on walks most days in the hills around Almonaster.
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    Skipper
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    Blues
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    Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera)
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    Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
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    Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).
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    Tree Grayling (Hipparchia statilinus)
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    Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias sareptensis)?
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    Pentatomids
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    Interesting Damselfly:
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    European Bee-Eater. These were common birds but they usually perched too high for photos.
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    Punta Umbria. This is a beach area on the coast about 1.5 hours south of Almonaster. My wife and I spent a night here last weekend. It was a busy place and it seemed like all of Spain was enjoying the beach. I looked a little in the dunes although the weather was not too good. I hoped for a Chameleon that lives here but I had no success.
    Beach
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    Azure-winged Magpie. Common birds in southern Spain and Portugal
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    Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus). This one from the coast looked a little different to those that I saw at Almonaster and at Grazalema.
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  8. jack

    jack Very Well-Known Member

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    great shots, brought back found memories of that part of spain. Have you any shots of the canyon that splits ronda? the folk on here may be as amazed by that
     
  9. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Jack,

    We went to Ronda for lunch but did not drive out to the canyon. I saw photos of it later and realized that we made a big mistake in not travelling a little further across town.


    ... a few more shots from Almonaster La Real in Spain:
    Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanica), a little juvenile
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    Small Heath
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    Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
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    The bark of the larger oak trees was usually striped and used to make cork. In Spain, I did not see a single screw-topped wine bottle. It seemed that all wine still used corks.
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    I've completed my work at the mine and my wife and I are now heading home. We spent a couple of nights in Portimao and from there, headed over to the Sagres area in southernmost Portugal. The area reminded me a little of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria with high cliffs above beaches. The plateau above the beach was rocky and supported low growing vegetation. It looked like it should be productive for reptiles but I only found a single Large Psammodromus. There is a smaller species in this area but I had no luck with it at all. I am adding a few habitat shots of the place for those who are interested is seeing shots from this part of the world.

    Large Psammodromus and habitat
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    Jackdaw, a small corvid with a really odd voice.
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    Sagres was a lovely place. It was a small village located at the end of a peninsula. The nearby beaches were popular and packed out with people
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    Fortaleza de Sagres. The fort was used back in medieval times by the Portuguese to train navigators.
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  10. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    More great photos from our intrepid traveler. Thanks for sharing them with us here David.
    You manage to find herps, butterflies and other fascinating and beautiful critters wherever you go. I love how you also record the local flora and include landscapes of your travels.
    It gives readers a real sense of place.
     
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