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Showing posts from April, 2016

White frost

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It was the last day of March and as we watched a small group of male Great Bustards on the plains south of home, it was clear that with the rather heavily overcast skies and an unusually chilly westerly wind, they were unlikely to start performing their extraordinary rueda or lekking display. Instead they hautily strode off out of view, leaving us bracing ouselves against the breeze and gazing across an empty field. It must have seemed a crazy suggestion, but stood unchallenged, when I proposed that we drive up high into the Villuercas Mountains, extolling the spectacular landscapes that we could discover there. Thus, we headed east, a relatively short journey, stopping for coffee en route and then climbing through belts of cork oak, cherries and sweet chestnut before entering the gaunt shapes of the bare Pyrenean Oaks.

It was as if we had moved back in time by six weeks or more. Half an hour's drive away were deciduous trees in full leaf, Bee-eaters and Nightingales. But at this…