Category Archives: Wildlife

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.

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

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