Butterflies, some species at least, indulge in hill-topping; individuals tend to aggregate at the tops of hills. It is apparently a mate location behaviour.
A couple of kilometres down our Spanish valley is the village of Senija overlooking which is a decent hill topped by a cross (as is the habit here). First of all it provides a decent leg-loosening walk of about two hours up and down. Secondly, it is often typed by two species of Swallowtail butterfly, so I like going up there. Thirdly, Francine has seen orchids on the way up so she likes going there, too. The weather was clear and the temperature was reasonable, so off we set.
I should point out that we had a little trouble finding the correct route for this walk on our first attempt, several years ago now. Those responsible had chosen to mark the route with blobs of yellow paint. The paint inevitably gets somewhat weathered. You may also be aware that there are several species of lichen which tend to grow on rocks in a circular shapes, some of which are yellow in colour. I will leave you to draw your own confusion. 🙂
We know the way now. On the lower slopes was a tiny blue butterfly that I’m now used to seeing over here. Not being something we see in the UK, It’s always nice to try and get another picture of the flighty little creature, though. Not a perfect pose with a bit of leaf somewhat in the way but worth a few pixels: it’s the diminutive Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
Moving further up, Francine began spotting orchid stems. I say stems because several had gone over. She did, though find this lovely example of a Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax) which kept her knees and camera occupied for a while. While Francine was playing with her orchid, I was rather taken by some Rosy Garlic showing well against a nice dark background, so I joined the ranks of amateur flower photographers for a while. Flowers flap in the breeze but they don’t fly away. 😉
We gently continued our way to the top of the hill. Here, life was decidedly breezy but, as we’d hoped, there were indeed two species of Swallowtail zooming about, the [Common] Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) itself and the Iberian Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthamelii). In these windy conditions, they weren’t settling much and I only managed to get a half-way decent shot of P. machaon.
As is usual here, there were also several Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera) settling on rocks. They have a frustrating habit of settling with their wings slightly open then, just as you acquire focus, snapping them shut. Such was the case today.
We made our way gradually back down again. Hopefully we’ll get a chance of a re[eat visit in slightly calmer conditions.