Fauna of Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra.

The upper slopes of the Sierra Nevada are a National Park and protected area for wildlife. Lower down the Alpujarra is also a designated nature reserve. 

Mammals:  Spain is  relatively unpopulated and large wild mammals are still to be found.  Great numbers of Wild Boar are roaming the Alpujarra; so many that they are now causing considerable damage to crops.  However, as they are nocturnal you have to be fairly lucky to see them but clients have done so on these walks. 

More likely to be spotted are the beautiful Cabra Montes.  These are ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) and are seen singly or in groups well camouflaged against the rocks.  Genet cat (one seen in the garden), badgers, foxes and squirrels are all about and may look very different from their English counterparts.

Birds:  Both mountain and garden are good for bird watching.  The most exciting to see may be the eagles:- golden, Bonelli’s, booted and short- toed.  Other raptors include peregrine falcons, hawks, kestrels  and owls, varying in size from the huge eagle owl to the tiny Scops owl.  High on the mountains there are many different types of wheatear, shrike, larks, redstart and rock thrush. 

In summer many migrants come to Andalucia including:- golden oriole, hoopoe, bee-eater and roller.  In the garden, besides many of the more usual garden birds, you may see orioles, woodchat shrike, goldfinches, bushchats and nightingales, which are very vociferous in April !

Insects:  May and June are the best months for butterflies, and one enthusiast saw in a week 10 species he hadn’t seen before.   Many are not to be found in Britain including:- Scarce Swallowtail, Spanish Festoon, Green Striped White,  Moroccan Orange Tip, Long Tailed Blue, Panoptes Blue, Queen of Spain, Knapweed Fritillary, Rosy Grizzled Skipper, Spanish Gatekeeper and the endemic Apollo Nevadensis. 

There are also other interesting creatures including brilliant dragonflies, striped spiders, green beetles and praying mantis.

"Great walking and birdwatching" - Sue MacKenzie

"Identified 38 species of butterflies in six days.  Excellent" - John Walford