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A stroll along the Rio Sor looking for butterflies

The Rio Sor or Sor Mañón is a small, tranquil river which flows between the provinces of A Coruña and Lugo, in Galicia, NW Spain.It flows north into the Bay of Biscay.

Rio Sor – shallow water
Rio Sor

The Rio Sor is about 50 km long and it is possible to walk much of it (if not all of it, I’m not sure) along well maintained paths beside the river.

It is a remarkably beautiful place and it never ceases to amaze me how few people one comes across, even in the height of the summer. On this occasion, in mid June, I did not come across anybody all afternoon.

There are many Speckled Wood butterflies all along the river, often perching in sun spots, which they defend against intruders.

Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria)

Slugs also seem to thrive here!

The black slug (Arion ater)

In this region of Galicia, there are many abandoned farms or homesteads. Crumbling stone buildings surrounded by unused meadows.

Abandoned farmhouse
Uncut meadow near the Rio Sor

There were some gorgeous little orange Meadow fritillaries flying around and perching on flowers; trying to warm up in the weak sunshine.

Meadow fritillary (Melitaea parthenoides)
Meadow fritillary (Melitaea parthenoides)

I was surprised to come across an incredibly worn Camberwell Beauty, presumably a survivor from the previous summer?

Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa)

There were also plenty of brimstones nectaring on dog-rose’s along the river.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) male

I also saw a peacock and a marsh fritillary. Later in the year there will be many white admirals along the river, but it was still a bit early for them.

As well as ferns, there is an abundance of mosses, lichens and liverworts  Some of the mosses are quite large.


There are many quiet and unspoilt places in this world where nature carries on as it always has. In fact nature thrives where man moves out and leaves a space. We need more places like this in the world. It is the only way we will survive.

rcannon992 View All

I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

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