Category Archives: Nature Notes

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

September flowering plants in the Sierra de Grazalema

During the month of September the night time temperatures are lower, allowing plant life a reprieve and the chance of at least a few drops of moisture in the form of dew, if not a rain shower or perhaps a storm. Heavy rain tends to run off the baked ground too quickly whereas steady showers can be absorbed into the parched soil. Either way the wildlife appreciates this sign of the approaching cooler weather and autumn bulbs “spring” into life. Continue reading September flowering plants in the Sierra de Grazalema

August flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema

This is a golden month, as most annual flowers have finished their colourful phase, produced their seed heads and dried completely to a straw colour. Although if you look in the right places there are still flowers to be found; watercourses, irrigated areas, animal watering troughs, damp meadows and high mountains will offer the best selection. However, this is also a good month to see insects such as dragonflies, mantis and bushcrickets! Continue reading August flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema

February – Plants of the month

February Wildflowers are always a welcome sight, especially through the winter months, as coupled with the birds beginning to sing they show us that spring is near. Almond trees in blossom are the most noticeable in shades of pink and white, along with the Paperwhite narcissus, Branched asphodels and Broad-leaved iris as each can create swathes of colour across pastures. The much smaller flowered Andaluz storksbill and field marigolds also cover  large areas in pink and golden yellow. Continue reading February – Plants of the month

Summer insects in the Sierra de Grazalema

Summer time is when many insects reach the adult phase of their life. They may have spent months, even years as a larva, drab in colour and unable to move far, possibly living underwater or underground. Now, in this last stage of their lifecycle, they might be brightly coloured, able to fly or to emit sounds and so they become more obvious to us. Insects are a very important part of the food chain on which we depend. Continue reading Summer insects in the Sierra de Grazalema