Striped Graylings

A relaxing day. Today we went to visit our Dutch friends at their rental villa inland from Benidorm, already spoken about, albeit retrospectively, in my previous post.

We had instructions, the critical part of which told us to turn left at KM28 on the main approach road; their villa was 800m down the turn off. We found KM28 but there seemed to be no road so we assumed it was a little further on. As we past KM29 we realized we’d gone too far and swung around in a convenient dirt road exit. Ah, maybe we should’ve been looking for a rough track rather than a bona fide road. Sure enough, second time around, there was indeed a rough track at KM28. Our rental Fiat bumped and bounced its way along the track with Francine muttering, “are we insured for these tracks?”. “No”, I replied, jauntily.

We arrived safely, as did the Fiat, and passed a very convivial afternoon munching a variety of modestly sized platters – sort of tapas style, really, so very Spanish. Our hosts had been made aware that we were avoiding alcohol for August and had magically found a bottle of zero alcohol Cava in the Carrefour at Benidorm. They had 0.0% beer, or near beer, as we call it, too. They’d very graciously put a lot of effort into this.

J16_0153 Hipparchia fidiaAs well as enjoying good food in good company, we had a brief moment of wildlife excitement when we spotted some butterflies that looked unfamiliar. Francine dashed for my camera, in the boot of the Fiat, while I kept a watchful eye. Eventually two settled head to head in what looked like some form of face off. The one on the left then repeatedly dipped towards the one on the right such that the leading edge of its wings contacted the other’s. I’d never seen behaviour like this before. A territorial spat between males sprang to mind but those are usually carried out in the air where butterflies are concerned. It was all very curious but it did give me the chance to get a few pictures.

I needed to confirm my identification with a contact in the UK, so I took the opportunity to mention the butterfly’s curious dipping behaviour to him. As well as confirming that these were, indeed, Striped Graylings (Hipparchia fidia), in addition to the territorial explanation, he came with another possibility for the behaviour which may have been a female trying to ward off the attentions of an over-amorous male.

Inconclusive but interesting.

Posted in 2016-09 Spain

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