Sardinian Visitor

2013-05-01 11.27.04 ParkingBecause of the last week of heavy rains, the Jalón river had been more of  a raging torrent. When we took Scamp for a wander around the town. we came across an interesting variation on the idea of car parking. The driver had reportedly tried to drive through the local ford while the river was in full flow. Not a great idea, as it turned out.

Now the weather finally looks more settled, today we headed out for a favoured walk of ours. This route starts in the nearby village of Senija and heads up the hill lying behind it to a sizeable cross planted at the summit. We’d done this walk on our last visit (a few weeks earlier last year) and Francine had spotted a tall orchid spike. She was keen to try to find it again in the hope that it would be more advanced. We’d also seen butterflies, particularly up at the summit, and I was keen to repeat that encounter.

J01_2392 SwallowtailJ01_2397 Southern SwallowtailThe climb is a pleasant, not-too-strenuous leg loosener, even lugging backpacks full of the camera kit necessary for our intended quarry. On the ascent we encountered very little, one or two elusive small butterflies but certainly no large orchid spike. At the summit, however, we cramped the style of a couple of young lovers on a picnic and, sure enough, found Swallowtail butterflies flitting around. The nice thing about Swallowtails is that they do tend to settle occasionally and do so with their strikingly marked wings open. Very considerate. There were several specimens of two distinct species, Swallowtail (Papilio macaon) and Spanish Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthamelii) and it seemed to me they were defending territories. Given our success at the summit of this mountain two years running, it seems like a Swallowtail hotspot. It’s a little curious to me that we see nothing on the way up, just at the top. Nonetheless, we were happy to have found them again.

_MG_5846 Senija viewWe left the young lovers to the remains of their picnic and made our way back down the track. This shot shows Senija in the valley with Benissa beyond with the Gibraltar-like rock, the Peñon d’Ifach, in the distance at Calpe.

J01_2403 Sardinian WarblerBack at the house we’re minding, we’d been catching the occasional glimpse of a strange (to us) bird. It appeared to have a black cap which extended to just below its eyes and a largely white breast. As we were sitting on the naya relaxing after our walk, one of these birds flew into one of the garden shrubs and proceeded to hop about disturbing the branches, mostly concealed, of course. Eventually it did hop out from its cover and I managed a grab shot. We think this is a Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala). Given the red ring round the bird’s eye, I’d say it’d been hitting the rosado as much as we have. Nice of it to drop in for a visit, though. 🙂

Posted in 2013 Spain
4 comments on “Sardinian Visitor
  1. Rosemary says:

    What about the feed plants of the two Swallowtails. Could that explain why they are present only at the top?

  2. Rosemary says:

    And now there’s this Hill Topping behaviour to investigate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.