After a week of Autumnal weather with abundant precipitation, the sun reigns once more in Spanish skies. Just when the long Summer of 2016 seemed to have definitively finished.. it’s back! 24ºC in Cercedilla today and i had to deploy the awning on my balcony once more so that my son could play outside without being blasted by our local star. It reminded me of this butterfly who seemed to be seeking relief from the sun one day back in July.
At the high point of Summer hundreds of Apollos flutter around the high mountain pass of Puerto de los Neveros, at about 2100m, to the NorthEast of Peñalara. It’s quite a spectacle, and it only happens here..i think i have never seen an Apollo anywhere else in the Guadarrama. Despite the wondrous abundance of these butterflies at this spot, they are hard to photograph..they just don’t sit still, on the move all the time. I gave up after more than half an hour of trying. We were moving away from the area of maximum concentration when we came upon this one, immobile on the ground – immobilised by accident or brush with a predator i imagine – it seemed to be seeking the shade, the little shelter from the sun afforded by the wiry subalpine grass. So I took my chance.
Searching for shelter from the sun at the end of July seems fair enough, but seeking the shade at the end of October? With the sun beating down anew these days it’s hard to get into the spirit of Halloween.. An Samhain, the Celtic seasonal celebration of the coming Dark time of the year, the advent of Winter. Minimum temps are quite low however, around 5ºC, and we have a forecast of a drop to zero within four or five days with some rain and snow on high. Yeah, as far as i’m concerned, bring on the dark, wintry half of the year!