Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) Cabra montés

The wild mountain goats frequently found in herds across the Andalucian mountain ranges are Spanish Ibex. There were until fairly recently, more subspecies spaced around the Iberian peninsular, but now only two exist.These mammals which originate exclusively in the mountains of Iberia are known as Cabra montés in Spanish. They are generally shades of brown around the body with black markings on the chest, flanks and legs in the males, whereas the females are paler. The adult males can reach a weight of 80-100 kg and are approximately double the size of the females. Continue reading Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) Cabra montés

The Weather In Grazalema

‘Grazalema has the highest rainfall records in Spain’. This is a phrase that is commonly found on the internet, but without further explanation could be very off putting to the holiday maker! Mountains will always alter their local climate where-ever they are in the world, and this is no exception. Note that only a few hours drive away at the eastern end of Andalucia is Europe’s only desert! Continue reading The Weather In Grazalema

Cork and its huge importance to the environment

Quercus suber is a type of evergreen oak tree native to the Mediterranean region. The tree has adapted to the problems of fire and drought in this area by growing a thicker bark as a protective layer. This outer layer of cork has many industrial uses and huge open forests have been developed to benefit from it in 7 countries bordering the Mediterranean sea – covering some 2.7 million hectares in Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia, and France. Continue reading Cork and its huge importance to the environment

The Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) in the Sierra Grazalema

The Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) is a species of tree which survived the last glaciation. An elegant tree growing to a height of about 25m with a conical shape. Its growth is dense and a rich green, although there are occasional specimens of a blue colouration. The branches generally form rings around the trunk. The roots which are thick and long are sometimes very superficial. The trunk is straight and cylindrical but in some old individuals the shape can be irregular, twisted and contorted with more than one leader. (This is due to beetle damage). The leaves are needle-shaped, rigid and somewhat sharp, these needles living up to 15 years, the maximum age among all gymnosperms. They need high humidity and shady slopes or soils that retain a certain amount of water. These trees have both sexes in the same individual, but to avoid inbreeding the female cones are on the top of the tree and the male in the middle. Continue reading The Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) in the Sierra Grazalema

September – EARLY AUTUMN SUNSHINE – Southerly bird migration, a good time to watch Bee-eaters, Short-toed eagles and Booted eagles.

The temperature begins to cool and, if we have had rain, then the ground will soften, giving way from dried straw colours to a soft green as plants sprout anew after their summer dormancy. Some of the flowers we can see now are Round-leaved fluellin, Common ivy, Fennel, Rosemary, White asparagus, Apple mint and Maritime squill. A range of fruits and berries begin to ripen, which can add a surprising splash of colour; Sloe, Blackberry, Hawthorn, Laurustinus, Peony, Turpentine Tree and Strawberry tree. Continue reading September – EARLY AUTUMN SUNSHINE – Southerly bird migration, a good time to watch Bee-eaters, Short-toed eagles and Booted eagles.

August – HEAT OF THE SUMMER – Vultures, dragonflies, butterflies and other insects, reptiles and terrapins.

Fields turn golden as the heat steps up a notch, or two! We will be looking out for the wildlife when it is most active – before the midday heat. Earlier morning starts and choosing walks with mature trees for shade, ensures that we get the most of our day, followed by a relaxed afternoon. Narrow leaves are an asset, so thistle type plants do very well such as; the Spanish white Artichoke, Branched carline thistle, Eryngium, Stemless thistle, and those covered with a resinous secretion – Sticky inula, or which inhabit damp sites – Pennyroyal. Continue reading August – HEAT OF THE SUMMER – Vultures, dragonflies, butterflies and other insects, reptiles and terrapins.

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