Grazalema – The emblematic white village of the Sierra

Grazalema is a traditional white village (pueblo blanco) located in the north-eastern area of Cadiz province. It nestles amongst the beautiful mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema and has a local population of around 2000 people inhabiting the village and surrounding countryside. Set in a protected area popular for nature and outdoor enthusiasts the village itself is on the list of obligatory visits on the route of the white villages of Andalucia. Continue reading Grazalema – The emblematic white village of the Sierra

January -WINTER WALKING – Nesting Griffon vultures, Broad-leaved iris, Spanish Ibex, resident and wintering birds.

January is a great month for watching Griffon Vultures repairing last year´s nests high on limestone ledges, performing beautifully synchronized flights that are a part of their courtship routines, breeding and incubating their single egg. The parents take turns at sitting on the nest and perform an almost acrobatic change-over at the nest. The cliffs where Griffons nest, or “buitreras” in Spanish, are full of activity and interest at this time of the year. Continue reading January -WINTER WALKING – Nesting Griffon vultures, Broad-leaved iris, Spanish Ibex, resident and wintering birds.

February – WINTER WALKING – Bonelli´s eagle and Griffon vultures nesting, start of bird migration, Spanish Ibex. Beginning of wild narcissi, almond blossom and first orchids (Giant orchid). Plus amphibians.

The resident birds will be actively looking for a mate, or existing pairs renovating old nest sites. The latter includes the protected Bonelli’s eagle which can give an amazing aerial display while warding off any large birds which stray into their territory. Griffon vultures will be alternating their incubation duties, imagine piloting an approximately 9ft (3m) wingspan onto a narrow cliff ledge – it is an awesome sight! Swallows herald the spring season and they will be passing through with a selection of interesting birdlife on their northwards migration. Continue reading February – WINTER WALKING – Bonelli´s eagle and Griffon vultures nesting, start of bird migration, Spanish Ibex. Beginning of wild narcissi, almond blossom and first orchids (Giant orchid). Plus amphibians.

“El Castillejo” Botanic Gardens, El Bosque

Regular visits to the Botanic Garden in the village of El Bosque are a great way to see the plants of the region as they change through the seasons – without having to search them out individually!There is so much of botanical interest in south western Andalucia and particularly within the natural park areas. The village of El Bosque is on the western border of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Continue reading “El Castillejo” Botanic Gardens, El Bosque

March – Bird migration is in full swing. Wild narcissi, beginning of wildflowers and orchids, plus a growing selection of butterflies.

March brings more migratory birds back to their breeding grounds, with large groups of Short-toed and Booted Eagles passing through to the Central and Northern Spain, and then “our” breeding pairs settling back home. This is also the time when you have a good chance to spot the beautiful white and black Egyptian vultures, which are progressively rarer here in the South of Spain. There are a few breeding pairs in the Grazalema Park, however in March good numbers can be observed refuelling and resting on their flight northwards.

Continue reading March – Bird migration is in full swing. Wild narcissi, beginning of wildflowers and orchids, plus a growing selection of butterflies.

Dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars

When in Spain many people may wonder about scorpions, spiders and venomous snakes and will not be aware that they are much more likely to endanger themselves and their pets by getting too close to an innocent looking line of caterpillars that can be found crossing a pavement, road or footpath during the first months of each year.

The pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) will, during late winter/early spring, be coming out of pine trees and forming conspicuous snake-like lines. They will not be far from a pine tree, but that does not mean that you will only see them in large pine woods, they are just as likely to be found in villages and road side plantings in fact wherever pine trees are present. One of the first signs to be aware of is their white silken nests attached to a branch tip, these become most obvious around December to March. (These caterpillars are known as ‘procesionaria del pino’ in Spanish) Continue reading Dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars

The top 10 wildlife and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!