Showing posts from October, 2014

Sunshine surprise

Hoopoe (Martin Kelsey) Against the emerald green of new grass, the resting Hoopoe simply did not want to move. The comfort of this unsually prolonged autumn sunshine seemed just to good to pass by. And so we stood too, our backs also caressed by an almost penetrative warmth. It seemed as aware of us as we did of it, and for as long as we stayed put, it was simply a staring game. Hoopoes are with us all year round and from their repetitive song is derived their onomatopoeic name, across many languages and cultures such as  Upupa from the Greek (used by Linneaus for its genus although he erroneously included because of their similarly-shaped curiously curved bills species like Choughs and Bald Ibises in the same family) to its name Hudhud in the Quran, This rather hesitantly-paced song can be heard here now and throughout winter. It is always fun to seeing a Hoopoe actually in the process of producing this sound. We watched one on top of the ruined palace of María de Escobar in Tru

A mix of seasoning

Common Snipe (John Hawkins) The exceptionally warm and sunny second half of October, which followed two weeks of generous rains has brought us a landscape of special beauty. Extremadura's second spring still flourishes right to a Halloween climax. Not only have we witnessed waves of flowering of autumn beauties such as Serotine Narcissus and Autumn Snowflakes, ephemeral but powerful too as they symbolise the breaking of the drought, but the pastures are lush with grass that keeps on growing. Humans are readily deceived by the fickleness of seasons, and so it seems are many insects too: it is the end of October but  there is still much to see. Without any real effort over the last couple of days I have found nine butterfly species and half a dozen dragonflies. Birds however are different. Most are programming their annual cycles, breeding and migration on day length. We have the somewhat curious experience at the moment of days looking and feeling like full spring, yet wit