Sagres 2015 – early September

Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli Loureiro September 2015

So with my good friend Doug Fairweather trapping the first Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire overnight on September 4th, it was rather apt that here in the Algarve, Portugal, one was attracted to the lights of Loureiro just a few days later. Not the best specimen, a much better looking moth can be seen on the official Tophill Low website.

In fact, here in Loureiro, the moths have a Tophill Low feel to them… Palpita vitrealis is an immigrant to the UK, one was trapped last summer on South Marsh East, and they appear in small numbers here at the lights.

Palpita vitrealis Loureiro September 2015

Diamond-back Plutella xylostella is another species attracted to the Tophill lights on occasions. The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria is recorded here on most evenings. Another regular immigrant to the UK, the first appearance in the Tophill traps is eagerly anticipated as the quest to take the list to 700 species continues.

Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella Loureiro September 2015
Swallowtail Papilio machaon Barão São joão September 2015

A few more butterflies have been noted during the latest period of work. The always stunning Swallow-tail Papilio machaon can be found on the wing in various spots, along with the occasional Southern Scarce Swallow-tail Iphiclides feisthamelii. Striped Grayling Hipparchia fidia is another species that will pose for photographs if it can be found in shaded areas, while Southern Brown Argus Aricia cramera and Southern Gatekeeper Pyronia cecilia flit among the current flora flowering in the arid conditions.

Striped Grayling Pseudotergumia fidia Barão São joão September 2015

Southern Brown Argus Aricia cramera Barão São joão September 2015

Southern Gatekeeper Pyronia cecilia Barão São joão September 2015

A trip to the harbour in Sagres enabled a good number of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis to be observed. However, the stunning adult Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini photographed earlier in the area had already left.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis Sagres September 2015

Visiting various spots along the peninsula provides a good diversity of passerines. A few Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe are moving through, with Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis flying over and the scrub containing various Sylvia warblers. Wryneck Jynx torquilla can be found with luck, as can the occasional Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus.

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Barão São joão September 2015

However, I am supposed to be spending my time looking at the fantastic blue skies on offer here in the Algarve… look hard enough and you can see a few raptors on the move including Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus and Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus.

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus Cabranosa, Sagres September 2015

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus Cabranosa, Sagres September 2015

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