Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Holiday in Eastern Pyrenees 2006

Just got back from a two week holiday located in the eastern Pyrenees (10th -> 24th June). We were centred near a small village called Fosse which is about 1 hour west of Perpignan. The area is within the lower fenouilledes foothills with Prade and the Tet valley about 1 hour to the south.

We were there for the wildlife and saw 93 species of Butterfly, good number of birds and plants.

Our excellent Gite is part of 3 at Moulin de Perle owned by Kate and Stuart Nuth. The garden expands into the country side and is excellent for butterflies and birds.

Over 30 species seen there during our stay including Blue-spot Hairstreak, Cardinal, Clouded Yellow, Great Banded Grayling (very common), Iberian Marbled White (common), Large Tortoiseshell, Marbled Fritillary (6+), Olive Skipper, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Swallowtail, Cardinal, Tufted Marbled Skipper.

Garden birds included Nightingale, Golden Oriole, Serin, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting, Subalpine Warbler, Firecrest, Crested Tit along with flyover Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Raven, Hobby

We found 4 Lizard Orchids in the garden. Here is a picture of one.

In the area to the south and west we saw Griffon Vulture, Bonelli's Eagles, more Short-toed Eagles, Orphean Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Woodlark, Grasshopper Warbler (heard at 2 sites), Subalpine Warblers, Rock buntings amongst others.

Some of the areas we visited included Prade (excellent road from Gite to Prade via Sournia), Gorge de Galamas, Col de Jau, Fontpedrouse, Marcevol, Col de Pailheres, Nohedes.

Butterflies that we saw include

Amanda's Blue
Apollo - mainly around Fontpedrouse
Bath White
Berger's/Pale Clouded Yellow - many
Black Hairstreak - just 1 on the way up to col de Pailheres
Cardinal - several during first week
Chequered Blue - Fontpedrouse
Chequered Skipper
Chestnut Heath
Clouded Apollo
Clouded Yellow - many
de Prunner's Ringlet
Dewy Ringlet - on top of Col de Pailheres
Dusky Heath - Nohedes
Escher's Blue
Fritillaries: Dark Green, Heath, False Heath, Glanville, High Brown, Knapweed, Lesser Marbled, Marbled, Pearl-bordered, Small Pearl-bordered, Queen of Spain, Silver Washed
Great Banded Grayling - all over the place
Iberian Marbled White - common
Ilex/False Ilex Hairstreak - common
Large Chequered Skipper - found in one spot only, rather an unexpected find
Large Grizzled Skipper
Large Tortoiseshell - almost sen daily in small number
Long-tailed Blue - found one
Mallow Skipper
Mazarine Blue
Moroccan Orange Tip - quite a few
Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper - quite a few
Olive Skipper - only 1 in garden of Gite
Purple-edged Copper - a few during 2nd wek
Red Underwing Skipper - a few
Scarce Swallowtail
Scotch Argus
Sloe Hairstreak - one identified from photo
Southern White Admiral and White Admiral
Spanish Purple Hairstreak - one at bottom of Mount Canigou
Tufted Marbled Skipper
Two-tailed Pasha - Unexpectedly 1 in Gorge de Galamas
Wood White - many

Photographs to follow