The month of May in Grazalema is a riot of colour and song. Some birds will be into their third brood already. The juvenile offspring and busy parents feeding the babies are a constant source of interest and sometimes amusement for a birdwatcher. The European Bee-eaters frantically hunt insects from tree branches and telephone cables and this is when you can watch their wonderful skill of catching a bee, a wasp or a dragonfly with one swift snap of their curved beak. The males will perch close to the females and offer the tastiest bits of their catch to strengthen the family bond. In May one of the most elusive Warblers of our area arrives to Grazalema rivers, the rarely seen Western Olivacious Warbler. It is a small insect specialist, and its habitat consists of all the gnarled roots and branches just above the water, where the slim bird weaves itself in and out with great agility. Another lovely Warbler species can be seen and heard in May, the Orphean Warbler, a quite large representative of its family with a distinctive call, which some compare to a gentler but still loud … donkey sound. Continue reading May – EARLY SUMMER – Profuse selection of wildflowers, many orchids, abundant breeding birds and butterflies. Spanish Ibex with young.
April in Grazalema brings many joys to a birdwatcher; the nightingale singing orgy around our rivers is in full swing and the relatively unremarkable-looking birds make up for their lack of striking plumage by shaking the bushes with loud and complicated songs. Young males try to compete with more seasoned singers and even to an untrained ear the difference between simple and complex song is clearly audible. Along the same rivers you will hear the abrupt and loud tones of Cetti´s Warbler, always heard rather than seen. Golden Orioles follow the chorus with their unmistakable fluty tones as they mercilessly chase away even much bigger birds from their breeding territory, usually in the tall poplars along the river banks. As the weather gets warmer, the joyful chirping clouds of European Bee-eaters start appearing high in the sky on their way back from Africa to European breeding grounds. They can even be heard passing through on clear starry nights. Local colonies of Bee-eaters tend to come back towards the end of April and immediately get busy repairing the nesting holes in river banks. Continue reading April – SPRINGTIME – April delivers a rich selection of orchids, flowers and insects.