The Almond Tree in Spring

My Mediterranean Tree in May

The day before I came back to the UK I took my lovely family on the Trans-Cabrera route. We started it inland and drove across the mountains to the sea, the beautiful blue Mediterranean. I didn’t just did the trip to capture how this tree was doing 4 months after I took the first photo. I just wanted to enjoy the spring in the countryside.

My Mediterranean Tree, from

On a beautifull day last january I took this photographs of a flowering almmond tree. When I got home I sent it to the weather forecast team and I got it on the evening news. A few days later came back to the UK (my exile) and discovered the tree year project.

The almond tree has somehow lost its sex appeal now in May, has green almonds.

Green Almonds

The sea side of the mountain is not looking as great and alive as the northern side. In the northern side all the plants are flowering. We were lucky enugh to find a Tortoise Testudo graeca on the road :-). I swa some very pretty Piramidal Orchids and enjoy every square metre of this place.

Testudo graeca

Phlomis on th Turre side of the Sierra
Piramidal orchid
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World Wetlands Day 2011

This week I want to celebrate World Wetlands Day: “2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.” Which I copied from here.

The Mediterranean coast of Spain is heavily developed and many areas covered by wetlands have been drained for farming, in the past, or for house developing, in the last decades. Nature strikes back trying to reclaim this lost land with heavy rainfalls and storms and, surprisingly, the greatest damages to the human population occur in former river catchment areas.

Flooding in 2009

In Mojácar we have the Río Aguas (River Waters), which runs dry for most of the year but turns into a wild beast occasionally.

Where the river meets the sea, in the “desembocadura” we are privileged enough to have our own little wetland. Still surviving! This is the best birdwatching spot of the area. My list includes Savi’s Warbler, Great and Reed Warbler, Cettis, Zitting Cisticola, Sylvias, cuckoos, Wryneck, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers, Kingfishers, Coot, Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Buzzard, Marsh Harriers, Eagle Owl, Blue RockThrush, and many others. It is an important stop-over site for migrating birds like Curlews, Dunlins or Sanderlings. Flamingoes are seen occasionally and the seawatchng in the afternoons is great.

Río Aguas after the storm Sep 2009

Ducks are interesting all year round and the adjacent areas are important for steppe species-although I must admit that theses days Homo sapiens might be the most abundant species here.

I was glad to find some other blog entries about this little wetland like this. To read more about Wetlands in Almería go here (spanish).

All the charities working in conservation issues will be celebrating this day have a look in SEO/Birdlife or BTO.

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I Want to go to Almeria Right Now!

This is a very cheecky video, where are the houses? The are trying to sell houses all the time!

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Look at me, I am not Just a Little Plant!

Today I would like to celebrate the great diversity of the Andalusian Region where the Sierra Cabrera is located. And I am going to write about Limonium, a little plan endemic to this part of the world.

Andalusia is the largest region of Spain – approximately one-fifth of the Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula. heterogeneous is one way of describing it. In the eastern corner of Andalusia is Almeria, the dryest part of continental Europe.

The special environmental conditions make this coast an amazing place to enjoy the wonders of botany.

Limonium stevei

is an endemic species of the Almeriense sector that can be found in the hills of the Sierra Cabrera. This little plant has its own (righteous) entry in Wikipedia, endangered according to IUCN and theoretically protected by the Andalusian law. It can’t be found in any other regions of the world. And it is probably the most important wild living organism in the area. Its conservation should be a priority for the local authorities. It is important to preserve the treasures that nature gives because in the future we might find out that the are very valuable for the human kind, they are , in fact, our service providers.


Photo taken from here.


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The Moor Queen

The Bluethroat is a passerine from the Western Paleartic. Regular during the Winter time in the Iberian Peninsula. In Andalucia (south of Spain) this beautiful bird is known also as Reina Mora (Moor Queen).
The arabs lived in the Iberian Peninsula for eight centuries. Hence the abundant words and toponyms of arabic origin. The arab footprint is eveywhere in Andalucia.
I heard this lovely little story in a bird forum and I felt the need to share it. The storie goes that the farmers of the Granada coast noticed that the visits of the mother of the Young King Boabdil used to conicide with the visits of Bluethroats on their coasts. It was the delicate health of the Queen Mother what forced her to escape the hardships of the Granada climate and look for warmer temperatures on the coast  during the Winter –like the bluethorats. And this is how the locals started to refer to this bird as “la Reina Mora”

Pechiazul (Luscinia svecica) by Diana de Palacio in Las Minas, san Martin de la Vega, Madrid

The Pechiazul (spanish for Bluethroat) is also recorded in many places of the cost of Almeria during the winter.
Hope you liked it.

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Fire video

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Bonelli’s Eagle and threats

We are fortunate to be able to enjoy the wonderfull Bonelli’s Eagles (Aquila fasciata) in Sierra Cabrera (Almeria), they are one of the rarest birds of prey in Europe. Yet, here in the Mojacar area we sometimes see them flying over our houses but, for how much longer?

This is a species with a large home range, that is the land they use for their life: nesting, foaging, roosting, courting, moulting… A study in Catalonia (Spain) shows that the home range of Bonelli’s Eagle is about 50 km2 (Bosch el at., 2010). The level of use of their home range is particularly high during the breeding period and, in future years, this will determine the presence or absence of this beautiful bird.

This “remote” areas where they nest today need to be protected from human disturbance for our children to admire them.

Home-ranges and patterns of spatial use in territorial Bonelli’s Eagles Aquila fasciata. rafael Bosch et al.,Ibis (2010), 152-117

Click in here for images of Bonelli’s Esgles from Oman

This picture was taken from here

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A year and 5 monthe after the fire

In Sierra Cabrera (Mojácar, Spain) there was a wild fire in 29 July 2009. Now all the mountains have some vegetation. However, from a distance, the burn and the unburnt areas have different colour. In order to work out if one place was burnt or not you have have to find old black woody stems of vegetation. These stems are often used by birds like Stonechats.

We are interested to know how this fire afects the avifauna of the area in winter and in the summer season.

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Feels like spring in January!



From Sierra Cabrera with views of Sierra Nevada

Flowering rosmary

Sierra from the start of the road to Cortijo Grande

It was so lovely today in Mojácar that I had to neglect all my obligations as a mother and drove up the mountains of Sierra Cabrera. Many plants are flowering now and some birds are singing (Greenfinches, Serins and Great Tits).

Flowering Thymelea hirsuta

Birdwise I did´t see anything too exciting, the highlight of the day was, I suppose, a Great Grey Shrike of which I have no pictures because I need  a better camera.

Back home, I sent a picture to the national weather forecast in the evening news and they put it. Well done me!

The picture featured in the evening news 10 Jan 2010

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Plants on the 7th Jan 2010

Went on a bird survey and and took a few photos on the Sierra Cabrera, all from burnt sites.

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