Thursday 12 August 2021

A Spanish Escape

 As I type, we are over the English Channel, having waved goodbye to Exeter, thirty-seven thousand feet below. A quick zip over the channel,  and then passing over Brittany, and on to Bilbao, Madrid and finally Malaga. After touchdown it will be pointing the rental car in the direction of Sierra de Grazalema. We are spending a fortnight on the margins of the Parc Nacional, staying in a villa, perched on the side of the mountain, placed to receive the golden combo of raptor passage, sunshine and cerveza.

I have been researching eBird for a couple of weeks and armed with John Cantelo’s guide and the Natural History guide to Western Andalucia, I hope to explore, despite the heat and limitations of Covid-19. I will be keeping a record of the passage and hoping to update the blog every day or two. Allied with this, my daughter Isabelle is keen that I endeavour to find some of the local herpetofauna and doubtless there will be butterflies aplenty.

Our adventure began this morning with a 2am wakeup call. Extracting an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old from their beds was tricky but within 30 minutes we were upright and suitably caffeinated. The trip over to Leeds Bradford from East Yorkshire was interrupted by no fewer than four Tawny Owls, one of which was feasting on a rabbit carcass in the road on Garreby Hill. Five Red Foxes were seen in Leeds, including a couple playing on a verge. We stopped, showing the kids these two, seemingly oblivious to our attentions. Before long we were parked at the airport and ready for our travels. After a challenging year thus far with my health, it is fantastic to feel much better and I am hopeful that my various ailments are resolving. Feeling better than I have in nearly 6 months I cant wait for the first raptor from the veranda. Now, first bird, what do you think? Feral pigeon or house sparrow?

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