At long last we made it back to Spain this summer after having to cancel our planned holiday for
the last two years. We went to the same villa we have visited on and off for
the last ten years, but this year we were joined by our now grown up children
and their partners. The villa is on the outskirts of a village called Alora,
which is about 45 kilometres north west of Malaga. And this year we went during
the first two weeks in June, whereas previously we visited in July, during the
Of course, I was interested to see what butterflies I would
see one month earlier in the year and not surprisingly, things were quite
different. Southern Spain had experienced an unusually wet spring this year and
despite a hot spell since, it was noticeably greener than we would see in July.
Also, being a little earlier in the year some of the olive groves hadn’t yet
had the ground rotovated, so there were still a lot of wild flowers flowering.
Around the villa there were a lot of Painted Ladies, many of
them heavy with eggs. I am not sure if this is normal in June, or if they were
just having a good year. Every time I walked past a Lantana plant on the drive
three or four would fly up.
There were also a lot of Brimstones flying around the villa
and surrounding area. I don’t think I have seen them before when we have
visited in July. Certainly not in the numbers there were this June.
There were also a few Cleopatras, but they were outnumbered
by Brimstone by about ten to one.
I regularly saw a Long-tailed Blue flying around a Polygala bush and zipping around the
garden. However, it never appeared to land for more than a second. Other garden
visitors were Small Whites, Geranium Bronzes and the odd Bath White.
Out on the track that ran past the villa was a steep bank,
covered in Thyme, which was a big attraction to butterflies (and consequently
me!). Here I would regularly see Meadow Browns, Southern Gatekeepers, Spanish
Gatekeepers, Small Skippers and Western Dappled Whites.
Early one morning I set off up a steep path to the top of
the mountain behind the house. Here I was pleased to see a lot of Wall Browns.
It was strange that I only saw them there and not lower down.
There were also beautiful Dusky Heaths along with Clouded
Yellows and various other species seen nearer the villa.
A visit to an area next to the River Guadalhorce
specifically to look for African Grass Blues. Eventually I managed to find a
couple of very worn individuals which were being chased by Mediterranean
Other butterflies there were Southern Brown Argus, a
Southern Blue and Mallow Skippers.
Generally, I think this was a better time of year to visit,
as there were certainly more butterflies flying around. The one butterfly that
I normally see in the summer is Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, but we were too early
for that. I find it interesting visiting the same area at different times of
year. We have now been to Alora in April, June, July and September.