Category Archives: Nature Notes

October flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema

Autumn flowering bulbs are a favourite at this time of year, but you generally have to have keen eyes to find them as they can be very small and well hidden. On the contrary the Autumn Buttercup can turn a rugged hillside yellow with its shiny, rich yellow, blooms. Autumn doesn’t necessarily mean colourful leaves about to fall, as many trees here are evergreen. The Narrow-leaved Ash seems to be the first to turn yellow with tall Poplars following shortly. The deciduous oaks may retain their leaves until the buds shoot again in the new year, unless strong winds shake them free. Continue reading October flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema

Flowering plants – June in the Sierra de Grazalema, Andalusia

During late May and into June temperatures start to rise as springtime turns quickly to summer. Road side verges are full of flowering plants in all colours and cereal fields turn bright red with poppies and yellow with false fennel. As the weeks progress, spring blooms will be turning to seed and the golden browns of summer will begin to dominate the lower landscapes. However the later flowering of the higher altitude mountainous plants means that there is still plenty to discover in what is known as the ‘hedgehog zone’ describing plants with a dwarf and prickly form. Continue reading Flowering plants – June in the Sierra de Grazalema, Andalusia

The Grazalema Natural Park – Flowering plants in April

Colour is spreading into every corner as now, according to the calendars, spring is official. Our surroundings become a painter’s paradise as lush plants vie for attention, their soft edges contrasting with the sharp mountain landscape. Botanising amongst the orchids is sheer pleasure as more species are appearing in bloom and photographers beware – extra memory cards and batteries are advised! Continue reading The Grazalema Natural Park – Flowering plants in April

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

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