Lets start by saying that Cutting wild flowers in Spain is illegal. Not only illegal, it is selfish and a very stupid thing to do.
Such a shame that a beautiful giant orchid that my children have been watching grow with fascination over the last few weeks has been cut and removed by someone who presumably wanted a “pretty flower” in a vase on their kitchen table. Sigh!
When in Spain many people may wonder about scorpions, spiders and venomous snakes and will not be aware that they are much more likely to endanger themselves and their pets by getting too close to an innocent looking line of caterpillars that can be found crossing a pavement, road or footpath during the first months of each year.
Here are a few dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars
The pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) will, during late winter/early spring, be coming out of pine trees and forming conspicuous snake-like lines. They will not be far from a pine tree, but that does not mean that you will only see them in large pine woods, they are just as likely to be found in villages and road side plantings in fact wherever pine trees are present. One of the first signs to be aware of is their white silken nests attached to a branch tip, these become most obvious around December to March. (These caterpillars are known as ‘procesionaria del pino’ in Spanish) Continue reading Dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars→
Sometimes the simplest solution is the most efficient!
Fascinating to hear that scientists in Norway have found that painting one of the three blades on a wind turbine black reduces avian deaths by 72%.
In the paper, the scientists explain why birds are susceptible to flying into rotating turbine blades and why a single black blade helps them to perceive the rotor as an obstacle.
“Relative to humans, birds have a narrow binocular [eg, using both eyes to focus on one object] frontal field of view and likely use their monocular [using each eye independently] and high‐resolution lateral fields of view [ie, having eyes on opposite sides of their heads] for detecting predators, conspecifics [ie, birds of the same species], and prey,” the authors write.
“Within an assumed open airspace, birds may therefore not always perceive obstructions ahead, thereby enhancing the risk of collision. To reduce collision susceptibility, provision of ‘passive’ visual cues may enhance the visibility of the rotor blades, enabling birds to take evasive action in due time.”
It is thought that birds see the rotating white blades as a “motion smear” — the blur effect humans see when waving a hand quickly in front of their eyes — and do not perceive this blur as a moving object.
Painting one blade black is believed to create motion smear patterns that the bird perceives as a moving object, “as the frontal vision in birds may be more tuned for the direction of movement”.
Scientific: Blanus mariae – (Formerly Blanus cinereus)
English: Southwest Iberian Worm Lizard
French: Amphisbène de Maria
German: Südwestiberische Netzwühle
Italian: Blano cenerino
The Iberian worm lizard is a reptile that has adapted to life underground and looks very like an earth worm. Variable background colour from pinkish grey, reddish brown to brown. The cylindrical body is covered with quadrangular scales forming rings. The head is small and looks little different to the body, the snout is rounded. Their vision is vestigial, the eyes being two tiny black dots beneath the skin, while its sense of smell and hearing are highly developed.
They can reach a length of 250mm (10 inches) and rarely more. When they feel threatened they move rapidly and coil around whatever obstacle they can, be it a natural stick or something artificial. If caught they will give small, but strong bites. It is not venomous.
From early research it seems the examples from the Sierra de Grazalema area belong to the new species Blanus mariae. (Formerly Blanus cinereus)
Specialists in digging tunnels and in locating prey underground. They live under rocks and decaying fallen trees in small galleries preferring light, moist soil which allow easy excavation. They maintain an optimal body temperature by moving within the substrate.
Their diet is based on termites, ants and their larvae, also taking spiders, worms and millipedes.
Mating occurs between March and June. Laying between 1-3 eggs which are place under ground.
IUCN Conservation Status: LC Least Concern Distribution: South western Iberian Peninsular (The examples from the Sierra de Grazalema area belong to the new species Blanus mariae. (Formerly Blanus cinereus)
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August is a golden month, as most annual flowers have finished their colourful phase, produced their seed heads and dried completely to a straw colour. Although if you look in the right places there are still flowers to be found; watercourses, irrigated areas, animal watering troughs, damp meadows and high mountains will offer the best selection. However, this is also a good month to see insects such as dragonflies, mantis and bushcrickets! Continue reading August flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema→
The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia is a section of the Betic Cordillera and runs parallel to the Mediterranean sea for around 100km.
The temperature range is dramatic with the summits under snow for many months, followed by a hot Mediterranean style summer. This creates special microclimates across the exposed rocky summits, glacial lakes, sheer sided gorges, mixed oak woods, pine woods and fast rivers with wooded banks.
Declared a National Park in 1998 and encompassing an area of 86,208 hectares it is a popular destination throughout the year. It holds an exceptional variety of animal and plant life due to the combination of altitude and its proximity to the Mediterranean sea.
Find a hotel in the area
These mountains were formed during the Tertiary Period (65 to 1.8 million years ago), at the same point as the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the European Alps. This mountain building event is called the Alpine Orogeny. The uplift happened as the African plate moved northwards colliding with the Eurasian plate. The Sierra Nevada mountains consist of mainly metamorphic rocks such as Gneiss and Mica schist. Many of the rocks are juxtaposed and mixed up due to intense faulting and folding during the compression of the two tectonic plates.