Category Archives: Wildlife Holidays

The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia

The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia is a section of the Betic Cordillera and runs parallel to the Mediterranean sea for around 100km.

The temperature range is dramatic with the summits under snow for many months, followed by a hot Mediterranean style summer. This creates special microclimates across the exposed rocky summits, glacial lakes, sheer sided gorges, mixed oak woods, pine woods and fast rivers with wooded banks.

Declared a National Park in 1998 and encompassing an area of 86,208 hectares it is a popular destination throughout the year. It holds an exceptional variety of animal and plant life due to the combination of altitude and its proximity to the Mediterranean sea.


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These mountains were formed during the Tertiary Period (65 to 1.8 million years ago), at the same point as the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the European Alps. This mountain building event is called the Alpine Orogeny. The uplift happened as the African plate moved northwards colliding with the Eurasian plate. The Sierra Nevada mountains consist of mainly metamorphic rocks such as Gneiss and Mica schist. Many of the rocks are juxtaposed and mixed up due to intense faulting and folding during the compression of the two tectonic plates.

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Sierra Norte de Sevilla

Photo – Cerro del Hierro (Author: Arturo Menor)

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Sevilla
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 177,484 hectares

Points of interest

A semi-mountainous area, set between two other natural parks, which together form an extended protected range. To the east is Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche in Huelva province. To the west is Sierra de Hornachuelos in Cordoba province.

The Sierra Norte de Sevilla shares with its neiighbouring parks endangered creatures such as the Lynx, Black stork and Imperial eagle. Evergreen oak trees dominate the terrain, interspersed with meadows or dehesas.

This sparsely populated area has two lakes and rolling hills with winding country lanes.

The Huesna river, which holds both common and rainbow trout, has a waterfall that’s been declared a National Heritage site. It is near the source of the river (nacimiento del Río Huesna) close to the village of San Nicolás del Puerto.


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A second National Heritage site is El Cerro del Hierro, a mine in the Roman era and further exploited until the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a combination of open mining, water filled pits and natural Karst landscape with rich mineral content.

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Finding dragonflies and damselflies in Spain

Dragonflies and damselflies in Spain are extremely beautiful insects which capture the very essence of summer as they perform their intricate aerobatics around the gleaming backdrop of rivers and pools on hot sunny days. They are reasonably easy to observe and are also important indicators of the health of our wetlands, being top insect predators both as airborne adults & aquatic larvae. Heres a few lists and places for finding dragonflies and damselflies in Spain

For those with an interest in observing and photographing these insect jewels, August is definately the best month. Many people avoid Spain during the peak of summer due to the intense heat (which may be hovering around the high 30’s and low 40’s) so, you’ll have the countryside pretty much to yourself. The scent of hot pine resin, gum cistus and the baked appearance of the area is quite different from the spring wild flower season just a few months earlier and is an experience in itself.

During a few days visit in August you should expect to see around 15 species of Dragonfly and Damselfly and in some cases you may even be rewarded with upwards of 10 species in just a single location including emperors and goldenrings along with damselflies such as the beautifull copper demoiselle and Iberian blue tails…

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