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.
The flowering plant seasons starts afresh as the temperatures drop and humidity rises, with autumn bulbs setting the scene; Yellow Autumn crocus grows between the rocks close to the village, Narcissus cavanillesii can be difficult to locate as it is such a tiny plant, the same goes for the delicate Autumn squill. Both Autumn colchicum and Autumn crocus are more visible and although very similar in colour and form, you can tell them apart by counting the stamens (3 for the crocus). Continue reading October – AUTUMN COLOURS – flowering bulbs, Spanish Ibex, resident and wintering birds.
In the summer, water is very important to birds as much as it is to us humans. The heat makes it easier to see birds in certain areas: for example at natural springs around Grazalema in the morning where birds gather for drink, food and a bit of socialising. June, July and even August are the months when one can see particularly great numbers of juvenile birds, something that also makes the parents easier to observe as they fuss over their clumsy and inexperienced offspring, feeding them on tree branches and on the ground, teaching them by example about the world and survival. Bold birds get even bolder, such as the colourful Woodchat Shrike whose families move from one Hawthorn bush to another as the greyish- brown young make hissing and chattering noises demanding food. It is pure joy to be able to observe the normally shy Hoopoe when the parents and the young probe the ground under trees for tasty morsels. Continue reading June – SUMMER MEADOWS AND MOUNTAINS – Numerous butterflies, reptiles, dragonflies, delicate thread-winged lacewings and other interesting insects.
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.
LIMITED PLACES LEFT FOR 25TH FEB TO 3RD MARCH! PLEASE CONTACT US NOW FOR DETAILS. Continue reading March – Bird migration is in full swing. Wild narcissi, beginning of wildflowers and orchids, plus a growing selection of butterflies.
A fine way to close the year is to enjoy the fresh air and the views from a mountainside, surrounded by a fabulous natural park, with distant views towards the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic coastline. Above there will be soaring Griffon vultures, and perhaps chattering Red-billed choughs. Continue reading December – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – Red berried mistletoe, Spanish Ibex, resident / wintering birds and landscapes.
On a clear, crisp day the rewards are high in the mountains. Walking along a narrow path surrounded by mature trees, you will be steadily gaining in height, take a moment to look back over the valleys and white villages, now scattered beneath. The vistas will have you stopping at every turn to breathe them in. Above is an array of rugged peaks and grazing on the slopes, camouflaged amongst the rocks and shrubs, are Spanish Ibex. The males are standing proud as the test begins to see which one will become head of the herd. Continue reading November – EARLY WINTER – Landscapes, Spanish Ibex, wintering and resident birds.