Wednesday, 27 February 2013

3 Little Wolves & The Big Bad Pig

On Friday Mike, John, Rob & myself arrived at Luton airport with the enviable prospect of searching the Sierra de Culebra for Wolves. Our gen was a bit thin but with a burgeoning trade in Eco-tourism in the area we were hopeful unaware of the magnitude of our task.

The journey to Luton was long and uneventful and the Wessie (Rob) joined us as we rolled into the hotel. A couple of beers served as a nightcap which was required as I was sharing a bed with a 6 foot brunette. Called John. 4 fitful hours later and a little sleep was had before we boarded the plane to take us to Spain.

A slow transit through the Madrid airport finally over and we got underway in our faithful Zafira. We had nearly 400km to cover to the north west province of Zamora. Through the mountains we ploughed with plenty of Red Kites, a single Griffon Vulture and a flock of Calandra Larks plus a little snow. As we ploughed on through the snow and onto the plain the thermometer started to creep up. To 2 degrees. It was bitter all the way to the Sierras beyond and some 4 hours later we arrived.

We checked in, meeting the delightful Monica & Raul, purveyors of our hotel in Villanueva de Valrojo. We explored the local area, hoping to have a dusk Wolf watch but we couldn't find the closest watch point. Undeterred we found out that John's friends were also in town and were watching from another site to the north near Boya. We piled up and found a dozen watchers of numerous nationalities.

We got the gen that the Wolves hadn't been seen for a week but prior to that they were seen daily from this watch point in the mornings about an hour after dawn as they headed out but they were very had to see at dusk. Red & Roe Deer were both abundant but aside from a Wren and a Dunnock we blanked. 1 watch down and 7 to go.

Returning to a feast from Monica with plenty of good food and a few beers we reflected on a promising day before retiring.

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive