Showing posts from October, 2009

Wolf watching in Zamora

Last weekend I went with my son Patrick to the province of Zamora (in Castille y Leon) to stay with some Dutch friends in the village of Villanueva de Valrojo, on the edge of the Sierra de la Culebra reserve. Zamora holds one of the highest densities of Wolf, outside Alaska and Siberia, and there are sites near the village which offer one the best chances of seeing this magnificent, but very shy, animal. Within a couple of hours of arriving we were positioned on a hillside, overlooking an expanse of heathland and a pine wood. Rangers put out carcases from time to time at the edge of the wood and from the number of Griffon and Black Vultures present, it was obvious that a carcase had been placed there recently. The view from our vantage point was superb. In the distance were the peaks of the Sierra de la Cabrera, in the foreground the mosaic of heathland, woodland, rough pasture and small stubble fields providing Wolves both cover and hunting grounds. Two alert Red Deer appeared on the

The Cranes are back

I have been away since late September and travelled back this morning by bus from Madrid, leaving at dawn (8 am here!) and heading south-west on the motorway towards Trujillo. It was a glorious autumn morning and as we approached Extremadura so the landscape became greener - that wonderful flush of green that even just a couple days of autumn rain can entice from the soil. Claudia picked me up just past 11 am in Trujillo and took me back home. It felt that I had been away for ages and it was good to be back. Just as I was getting out of the car the unmistakeable bugling of passing cranes could be heard. The sky was completely cloudless and it took a bit of time to find the distant birds against the intense blue. Soon we could hear some more, this time a lot closer. A party of perhaps a hundred, momentarily disorientated, circling in a pack before two or three figured out the correct direction and thus formed an irregular skein, proceeding southwards. During the next few hours several m