31 August 2015

Italy: 26-30 August

Just back from a really fun family break in Tuscany, Italy. Spent much of my time chilling out, reading, shopping in local markets and shops, mucking about with my nieces and nephews, eating and drinking, but I did have some time for a little birding and bugging locally around the villa, with three fruiting fig trees in the grounds of Villa Bordoni being particularly good for inverts.

Managed a half decent butterfly list around the villa, including several European species that were new for me:

Swallowtail Papilio machaon, 1 on 28th
Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius, 1 on 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th
Bath White Pontia daplidice, 1 on 29th (lots of unidentified whites were probably this species)
Cleopatra Gonepteryx cleopatra, 1 on 26th, and 1 on 30th
Clouded Yellow Colias crocea, 2 on 29th, 1 on 30th
Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius, 1+ on 28th, 29th and 30th feeding on the figs
Lang's Short-tailed Blue Leptotes pirithous, 1 on 26th and several on 27th
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus, very common and seen each day
Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta, 1 on 30th
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, 1 on 29th around the figs
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui, 1 on 28th, 29th and 30th
Wall Brown Lasiommata megera, 1 on 26th and another near Villa Bordoni on 29th
Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia, the most common fritillary, seen on 27th, 28th, 29th
High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe, 1 on 27th, 1 on 28th
Spotted Fritillary Melitaea didyma, 1 at the reservoir near Villa Bordoni on 29th
Pearly Heath Coenonympha arcania, 1 at the reservoir near Villa Bordoni on 29th
Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus, 3 on 29th, 1 on 30th
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, 2 on 27th
Tree Grayling Neohipparchia statilinus, 1 on 28th around the figs
Woodland Grayling Hipparchia fagi, 1 on 28th and 1 on 29th around the figs
Safflower Skipper Pyrgus carthami, 2 on 30th

Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius, Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 28 August 2015. Charaxes is genus of tropical African
butterflies, but this species is also found in along the Mediterranean coast of southern Europe - what a beastie!

Pearly Heath Coenonympha arcania, near Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 29 August 2015

Spotted Fritillary Melitaea didyma, near Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 29 August 2015 - a grassland species

Woodland Grayling Hipparchia fagi, Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 28 August 2015. Tricky to separate from Rock Grayling
Hipparchia hermione, apparently the shape of the inner edge of the white band on the hindwing is one of the more reliable features.

Tree Grayling Neohipparchia statilinus, Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 28 August 2015

A little bird migration was evident although not particularly obvious. Presumed likely migrants included a Wood Warbler in a Long-tailed/Blue Tit flock, 2m Common Redstart and c.150 House Martin (including lots of juveniles) and 4 Barn Swallow amassing on wires (where there was only 2 of the former present the previous day), all along the dirt road near Villa Bordoni on 29th, 1 Common Kestrel over Villa Bordoni on 29th, 1 Short-toed Eagle and a Hobby over the villa on 26th, and 2 (1m, 1f) Common Redstart at the villa on 30th.

Other avian notables were a Turtle Dove seen from the car on the edge of Florence on 26th, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk from the car at Greve in Chianti on 27h, 1m Stonechat at the reservoir near Villa Bordoni and a brief male Italian Sparrow at the villa on 28th, 1f Common Whitethroat at the reservoir and 2 Hooded Crow along the dirt road near the villa on 29th, and a male Sardinan Warbler in the villa grounds on 30th.

Also logged in the villa grounds were several Hummingbird Hawkmoths Macroglossum stellatarum seen each day, 1+ Violet Carpenter Bee Xylocopa violacea on 27th and 1 on 29th, a Vestal Rhodometra sacraria on 27th, a Feathered Footman Coscinia striata on 28th, and several Italian Wall Lizards Podarcis sicula seen each day.

Feathered Footman Coscinia striata, Villa Bordoni, Greve in Chianti, 28 August 2015

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