2023 (Pradoluengo)

Last update: 25 December 2023
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PHOTO REPORT: Pradoluengo (Burgos) - 27 March till 12 August 2023

This year we went on holiday to Northern Spain about forty-five minutes east from Burgos in the town Pradoluengo. From the town, where we rented a cabin on a small camping, we explored the environment within a radius of two and a half hours. An incredible beautiful area with impressive nature, endless panoramic vistas, caves, waterfalls, history and prehistory. For me it was especially the natural beauty that left a deep impression.

Tobera waterfalls, Tobera (E)
Short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Bañuelos de Bureba (E)
Griffon vulture (Gyps vulvus)
Praying mantis (Mantis religiosa), nymph


Pradoluengo (E)

Pradoluengo, a town with a rich textile history, is located about a thousand meters above sea level with temperatures around thirty degrees at daytime and cold humid nights. The area is hilly and develops in northern and southern direction into mountains with high peaks. These provide a continuous supply of ice cold water that flows through the environment via meandering waters, fast streams and wide rivers, and which, despite the burning sun, keeps it green. The resulting biotope turned out to host an abundance in butterflies that feasted on the flowering flora. The nature around the town is a popular hiking and cycling destination. Everywhere along the paths and roads butterflies of different plumage and sizes were present. Several species of Heliconiinae, many kinds of Lycaenidae, Hipparchia, Limenitis, Hesperiidae, and a diverse host of moths. The thick growth beside the roads with many flowering Lucerne plants and other herbs harboured their caterpillars.

Lang’s short-tailed blue (Leptotes pirithous), imago
Sooty copper (Lycaena tityrus), imago
Hornet moth (Sesia apiformis), imago
Long-tailed blue (Lampides boeticus), caterpillar

At the start of the local work week, we arrived in the weekend, the environment droned with the shrill whine of motorised tools. When I went out two days later with the aim to photograph the butterflies it became clear mowing teams had struck hard; the majority of the vegetation had been shaven off, the clippings disposed, and all butterflies were gone. Their work had been thorough throughout the town’s surrounding area, only the slopes and lower banks of the stream Arroyo de Pradoluengo, which borders the camping at one side, had been spared. A plateau next to the town that I had visited three days before had suffered a similar fate.
The effect of the work on the present fauna was severe; the diversity and numbers were decimated in one strike. The mowing was probably aimed at maintaining and increasing diversity here as well, but the result felt contradictory and changed my mood for the day.

Unmown lower vegetation, Pradoluengo (E)
Unmown lower vegetation, Pradoluengo (E)

The vegetation surrounding the stream offered a habitat to a colourful insect community and housed many clusters of blooming Angelica (Angelica sp.) that provided nectar to a large variation of wasps .

Vegetation on the banks of the stream Arroyo de Pradoluengo
Vegetation on the banks of Arroyo de Pradoluengo
The banks of the stream Arroyo de Pradoluengo house many flowering Angelica groups
Chalcidoidea sp. ♀︎, on Angelica (Angelica sp.)
Chalcidoidea sp. ♀︎, on Angelica (Angelica sp.)
Ichneumoninae sp. ♂︎
Leucospis dorsigera ♀︎, on Angelica (Angelica sp.)
Ectemnius lituratus ♀︎, on Angelica (Angelica sp.)
Leucospis dorsigera ♀︎, on Angelica (Angelica sp.)
Twenty-plume moth (Alucita hexadactyla), imago
Fox moth (Macrothylacia rubi), caterpillar
Black-tipped ermine (Yponomeuta plumbella), imago
Aglaope infausta, imago
Rosy tabby (Endotricha flammealis), imago
Potamophylax sp., imago
Cecidomyiidae sp., imago
Small shaggy bee ♂︎ (Panurgus calcaratus)
Issidae sp., imago
Blood bee ♂︎ (Sphecodes sp.)
Phasia hemiptera ♀︎
Chrysomelidae sp. ♀︎♂︎
Tituboea sexmaculata, imago
Poplar leaf beetle ♀︎♂︎ (Chrysomela populi)
Oxythyrea funesta, imago
Stenopterus rufus ♀︎
Buprestis novemmaculata, imago
Gomphocerinae sp., imago

An exit of the western road out of the town meanders to a higher plateau with low flowering vegitation and a beautiful view of the surroundings.

Plateau at Los Pinos (southeast), Pradoluengo (E)
Tettigoniinae sp. ♂︎
Empusa pennata ♀︎
Empusa pennata ♀︎
Empusa pennata ♀︎


Praying mantis (Mantis religiosa), nymph


Castildetierra, Las Bardenas Reales (E)

This semi-desert, the only in Europe, offers a magnificent desolate landscape that can be explored by car among others. The insects showed themselves in select places in smaller numbers, like dragonflies, pompilid wasps and ants. At the outer edges of the area some lone butterflies fluttered around.

Barbary harvester ant ♀︎ (Messor barbarus)

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