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Monday, 9 February 2015

African Monarch butterflies (Plain Tiger) & Mediterranean Slant-Faced Grasshopper.

The Gulf of Roses, stretches from L'Escala around to Roses, halfway around you find the Parc Natural Dels Aiguamolls de L'Emporda. It is a important wetland reserve that was set up in 1983 to save what was left of the Emporda marshlands. It now attracts many birds and is especially important during the migration periods.We have visited before but it is always nice to return.


Walking out on to the reserve, the weather is not looking to good towards the Pyrenees.


It takes Linda no time to attract a little friend, at first unknown to us, then we realise it is a Mediterranean Slant-faced grasshopper.


During our picnic lunch, we catch site of a distant Osprey, some distance up the river Emporda. Then Linda spotted these stunning butterflies, she was sure, they were of the Monarch species by their leisurely flight and colouration.


A correct presumption, this the Plain Tiger also known as the African Monarch.
A milkwood butterfly.
Danaus chrysippus chrysippus.


The plain Tiger was the fist butterfly used in art. In the Egyptian city of Luxor,
 there are frescoes featuring them, dated around 3500 years old.


They are lucky to be unpalatable to predators, they are full of alkaloids, digested during the larval period. Hence why they fly slowly and leisurely also at times close to the ground. If they are digested by a predator it causes vomiting, whereby they soon learn their lesson.


A mating pair, on what we think is ragwort. Interestingly, this is of course also full of alkaloids.
They are supposed to favour dry terrain, not sure on that, as we are on marsh land, albeit very sandy as well.



Part of the reserve runs along a section of the beach, here we do a little sea watching,
before cycling home.


A nice Little Egret.


A lone Blackheaded gull and that was it! Another great day out.

Tomorrow we will go to the area around Les Talaies d' Alcala, further south.



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