The view from the peak of Coros in the Sierra de Grazalema natural park in Andalucia

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.

Insects dominate the summer with butterflies on the wing being; Clouded yellow, Spanish swallowtail, Swallowtail, Purple hairstreak, Brimstone, Cleopatra, Cardinal, Woodwhite and Lang’s short-tailed blue amongst others. Grasshoppers, bush-crickets and cicadas add the background sound as aromatic leaves scent the air whilst we walk.

Water bodies may be drying out which concentrates the wildlife together. Terrapins share rocks and logs while the Iberian water frogs share the banks, each splashing into the water if we approach. The dragonflies we may see have some very descriptive common names; Orange-winged dropwing, Violet dropwing, Lesser emperor, Common and Red-veined darter, Black-tailed skimmer, Broad scarlet and Western willow spreadwing.