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Butterflies of Cyprus & Crete, April 2022.
Written by Jos   

Having seen all but two of Europe's fifteen swallowtails, festoons and apollos, the primary goal of this trip was to find one of these remaining two, namely Cretan Festoon. With no convenient flights from Lithuania directly to Crete however, I decided to travel via Cyprus - this not only enabling me to look for Cretan Festoon and the other Crete endemics, but also to savour the delights of early spring in Cyprus, the specific targets here being Paphos Blue, the Cypriot race of Eastern Festoon and Little Tiger Blue, though with Cyprus having seen a cold winter I expected to be too early for the last of these species.

 

Eastern Festoon

 

Naturally, with spring migration in full swing, and the likes of Pallid Harriers moving through and Cyprus Warblers and Cyprus Wheatears arriving, birding would also figure prominently, generally the idea to go birding earlier in the day, switching to butterflies as it warmed up.

 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 May 2022 )
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The Birth of a Pool
Written by Jos   

It was summer 2021. Ever since excavating two pools 17 years earler, I had gazed down upon them and admired their visitors - White Storks and Great White Egrets plodding the margins to hunt frogs and small fry, Goldeneyes pretty regularly, a Kingfisher on a couple of occasions, Green Sandpipers and Snipe now and then.

Old Pool

But always I had had that niggling thought 'how I would like the pools to be bigger'. In reality, measuring in at about 25 metres long and 15 metres long, I couldn't really say they were that small, but finally I had reached the conclusion that it was time to act - a floodpool a few hundred metres away had attracted a pair of Little Grebes to breed. And that was a dangerous place to breed, they had attempted there one time before and failed when it dried up prematurely. In summer 2021, they fledged the young with a whisker of time to go before it dried, but still the seed was now firmly planted ...I wanted a pool large enough to potentially attract them to breed.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 November 2021 )
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Montes Universales & Pyrenees, August 2021
Written by Jos   

Following on from a trip to the Italian Alps a couple of weeks earlier, a shift to the west - ten days in north-east Spain between the 4th and 15th of August. Primarily focussing on the Montes Universales, a range of mountains located between Madrid and Valencia, I then added a day on the coast near Valencia and a short extension to the eastern Pyrenees. With the walled town of Albarracín at its heart, the Montes Universales rise to 1900 metres and are a mix of arid scrub at lower altitudes and juniper or pine forest at higher elevation. Hot and dry in summer, with temperatures touching 40 C, a relative abundance of greenery and flowers does nevertheless exist along river courses and streams. In these areas, butterflies are abundant and include quite a number of species endemic to the region or north-east Spain. The main targets on this trip were Zapater's Ringlet, Mother of Pearl Blue and Southern Hermit, though the ultimate goal was simply to enjoy the spectacle of butterflies in dramatic landscapes.

Having had a very productive first week, I then spontaneously decided to add extensions to the coast and the Pyrenees, the ideas here being to see African Grass Blue and Mediterranean Skipper on the coast and thereafter a selection of high mountain species.

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 October 2021 )
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