Cork-tree

July – HEAT OF THE SUMMER – Cork harvest, dragonflies, reptiles, terrapins, birds, butterflies and other insects

Cork is the outer layer of bark which forms on a particular species of oak tree. The cork oak forests around us are harvested during the hottest two months of summer. Walk through the forest; learn how the cork is removed, its importance to the community, to the environment and, how you can help sustain it.

As the summer sun sends us into the shade for our picnics, we’ll be thankful for the earlier start to our day, and the Andalusian tradition for siestas! Many annual plants have set seed, giving way to the tougher thistles and rock dwelling plants which are better adapted to the heat, they continue to provide food for the growing number of insects on the wing. Beautiful butterflies and colourful beetles take advantage of the nectar supply of Santolina, Arenaria, Sedums, Spanish oyster thistle, Eryngiums and the strangely named Tooth-pick Bishop’s Weed. As butterflies are plentiful, to see several species feeding off one plant can be a delight.

Most of the animals around us are shy and take practice to locate. The sound of bush-crickets and cicadas chirping in the day and crickets by night will accompany your stay, you can hear them, but can you find them? Try creeping up to the water’s edge to spy on a shy terrapin, it can be a tricky task, as at the slightest movement they dive into the water! Reptiles are out basking in the sun and with luck they might allow us to observe their antics, although many will have already disappeared at the sound of our footsteps.