Tuesday 20 July 2021

In times of uncertainty… nature comes to the rescue

 It’s been almost 7 months since I last updated this blog, maybe the cause has been pandemic paralysis or a kind of mind fog, but the very thought of sitting down to writing and editing photographs made me run away from the computer.  I did try in April, and got as far as the title… but it’s time to update and show some of the natural highlights from winter through spring and up to this point, still early summer, because nature for me is what makes sense of and gives direction to life, when too much information and too many doubts and fears can darken the present and future.

So here goes, a series of photographs of what makes living in this part of Spain a true delight, 12 months of the year, starting with the winter months and going on to the present moment.

Hen harrier

Hen harrier and Merlin

Azud de Riolobos

White stork

Crow with Marsh harrier

Charm of Goldfinch


Spotless starling

Guess who?

When the mate finally arrived


Rock bunting

Iberian shrike couple taking possession

Blue rock thrush

Short toed treecreeper

Spanish sparrow and corn buntings

Corn bunting

Window on the mountains

And through spring...

Amethyst toadflax

Spanish sparrow love

Iberian magpie

Montegu's harrier


Stonechat with Subalpine warbler

Marsh fritillary

Melodious warbler

Provence hairstreak

Algerian wall lizard


Iberian pied flycatcher

Narrow-leaved helleborine

Early purple orchid


Black-eared wheatear

Greater beefly Bombylius major

Melodious warbler

Early purple spotted orchid

Spanish ibex

Griffon vulture colony

Blue rock thrush

Spanish imperial eagle

Female Red rock thrush

Male Red rock thrush

Squacco heron

Egyptian vulture
... into the summer
Young bee-eater (note shorter tail)

Young Woodchat shrike

Booted eagle

Cirl bunting

Clouded yellow

Short-toed eagle

Melodious warbler


Iberian shrike

The short-toed eagle's look

Spanish sparrows in the field

Iberian magpie

Pink Iberian shrike

Young Stonechat

Turtle dove

I went to water the tomatoes this morning and the allotment was full of Serins: I've left plenty of thistles so it's a good feast for them.  As I built drystone retaining walls for raised beds this spring I was often accompanied by a Blackbird singing from the wire on one side and a Nightingale singing from a wire on the opposite side.  Such bliss.  Altogether there must have been around half a dozen male Nightingales in the vicinity, all singing their little hearts out.  That's why one of them chooses to sing from a wire instead of a tree. 
The lovely purring of Turtle doves is another favourite sound, I heard one two evenings ago. I finally admitted to having lost a good part of my hearing (the high range) so I got some hearing aids a few months ago and they've changed my life: I can hear the Bee-eaters way before seeing them!  If there's anyone proud out there with hearing difficulties just go for it, suddenly nature is LOUD again and it's fabulous.

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