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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.

Small herds of Spanish Ibex quietly graze while moving across the mountains, although as large as a domestic goat, seeing them can be quite a challenge as their colours blend so well into the landscape. We’ll look out for the Alpha male as he watches over his herd, distinctive large horns set him apart from the rest.

Giant orchids are robust plants and the first orchids of the year to flower in these mountains. Other notable plants are the variety of wild narcissus – many cultivated hybrids used in gardens today originated from these endemic species. Pink ground hugging geraniums, white daisies and chamomile can colour the meadows and verges while orchard blossom begins with the Almond trees which adorn the hillsides and fields, varying from almost white to a shocking pink.

Pools of winter rain ensure an active time for amphibians with either flowing streams or temporary puddles providing ideal breeding grounds. For Fire salamanders, Iberian parsley frogs, Natterjack toads and Southern (pygmy) marbled newts, this is a great time to see their lifecycle stages with spawn, tadpoles and hopefully a few adults too.