Showing posts from April, 2011

Moments with migrants

Throughout more or less the whole of the first part of spring I have been sharing my enjoyment of the birds and other wildlife in Extremadura with guests who I have taken out into the field. Almost the whole time, the sun has been shining and the temperatures have been more like May than early spring. Just this week, we are being rained on (the land needs it desperately) and this break in the weather has matched exactly a few days to be based at home. It is a great opportunity to take stock of the season so far. Most of the summer migrants have arrived on cue and the rest somewhat earlier than usual. Observers in many countries are recording arrival dates of migrant birds and these are showing a trend for some species to be arriving a little earlier each year. The same is true in Spain. This year's big surprise in this respect were the Red-necked Nighjars, which were first heard in our village on 10th April, a good week or so before I usually hear them from home.

More orchids

Since my last post, I have been spending practically everyday in the field and I will do a post later on some of the spring birds we have seen. It has been an odd spring with over three weeks with hardly any rain and above average temperatures (it has just started to rain again today). But I just want to follow-up on the theme of my last blog on orchids with the unfolding story of orchid spring in Extremadura. Just a few days after that blog (written in late March) I was back at the site I described. This time, the Woodcock Orchids ( Ophrys scolopax )which I had failed to find in March, were abundant and what a gorgeous and varied species it is. We also found Dark Ophrys ( Ophrys incubacea ). As April progresses, so the first flush of the early spring orchids fade (although the verges near our house still have Champagne orchids in flower). Interest then turns to the species characteristic of late spring. Locally, these are predominantly the tongue orchids or Serapias . We visit