Saturday, 1 December 2012

Far too hot to handle ...

Majorca, 29 July to 5 August 2012

I have recently returned from a short family break to northern Majorca. Campanet is a small village nestling in the foothills of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range. It is located approximately 40km (25 miles) north west of Palma. The village has, for the most part, ignored the extensive tourist developments that have taken place throughout much of the island and is one of the few untouched authentic Mallorcan villages that still exist. Our base was the magnificent Monnaber Nou, a restored manor house set in over 370 acres of the most unspoilt Mallorcan countryside on the outskirts of Campanet.

Venturing locally, the rocky and very arid landscape produced good numbers of Small Copper and several Southern Gatekeeper. Three, very active, Bath White were also found along with small numbers of Southern Brown Argus, a new species for me (a male is pictured below). A visit to the Coves de Campanet produced several Holly Blue feeding and egg laying on an ivy-clad wall, and my only Cleopatra of the trip. Several fast flying Swallowtail were seen at the wetland reserve of S'Albufera. A pair of sparring Geranium Bronze provided welcome entertainment whilst I sat rehydrating after climbing and descending the Calvari Steps, an ancient stone staircase (all 365 steps) leading from the central square in Pollença up to a tiny church called the Calvario Chapel.

Trying to have a family holiday and undertake any serious entomology is generally very difficult for me and this trip proved no different. In addition to family commitments the temperature, which generally was averaging an extremely hot 38°C (hitting a scorching 44°C on one occasion in the town of Sóller), made sitting in the shade by the pool with a long cold drink seem a far more sensible option. The addition of very breezy conditions (a very welcome respite from the heat) made photography a little difficult, though not totally impossible when time permitted.

Species seen:

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra)
Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera)
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Bath White (Pontia daplidice)
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon ssp. gorganus)
Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria ssp. sardoa)
Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia)

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