Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Wonder of Nature

Have you ever had that prickly feeling at the base of your neck, when your hairs stand up and you are in wonder? It is a kind of out of body experience, where your spirit dances with joy and you can feel with your eyes. Something reaches deep inside you, touches you and elates you. It is a warm and wonderful sensation. 


Nature sometimes touches me like this, either from a lonely vantage point, where the panorama is simply staggering or I chance upon a circumstance that allows a moment that connects me to an animal, you know that time, when you stand still alongside a wild creature that appears as curious of your presence as you are of theirs, unafraid and connected. Nature provides so many wonders, so many joyous moments, so much for free. It is refreshing and a way to release burdens and truly relaxes.


Rock Bunting a common resident at higher elevations
Most of those that follow my blog, Facebook or other social media, will know I am largely globe trotting leading or guiding tours. My time gets divided between these tours and my home patch, where I also lead tours and day trips. The home territory, Andalucia, also includes my backyard, the Serrania de Ronda. The summer this year has been the warmest since records began, scorching heat and dry. Despite these high temperatures I made many a foray into my mountains and even allowed people to accompany me, those brave souls were, as always, rewarded with rich avifauna and flora, with the occasional wild animal providing a thrill to cap their day. Most of all, friends accompanying me, were treated to some of the most breathtaking and beautiful scenery to be found anywhere in the world. It surprises many that such beauty and vast tracts of wilderness remain here in Spain.


Libar Track - now a popular destination for birders since I promoted it.
Yet, and because of the high daytime temperatures, this summer I spent several days in my own garden, well more like office and garden. The amount of wildlife visiting my small patch (postage stamp size) was diverse and plentiful. It was hard and also a mistake, not to venture outside of the office door without my small camera, you really didn’t know what might turn-up, what opportunity might be missed by leaving the camera indoors. Critters leaping, scurrying, drinking and fluttering all complimented the birds in and over the garden. Eagles, vultures and swifts are regulars overhead, whilst shrikes, finches and my resident owls made sure you weren’t always cricking your neck skywards. Anyways I thought I might dedicate this blog to nature in my garden, just to give you a feel of what is possible perhaps in your own backyard. Here's a few photos to illustrate why it has been tolerable to stay around my house this summer....


Corn Bunting on Echium seed
Griffon Vulture are resident and a regular overhead
Red-rumped Swallow are a breeding summer visitor
Booted Eagle breed locally and are often over the garden
Scarce Swallowtail one of many regular butterfly species
Weasel the local scamp!
Iberian Wall Lizard
Serin (male) more common in the garden during winter
Algerian Sand Lizard
Turtle Dove a regular every summer's day
Painted Lady can be very common in the spring
Our Booted Eagle (dark phase) being harried by Pallid Swifts
Woodchat Shrike infrequent but common in April
Hoopoe common visitor and breeds locally
Short-toed Treecreeper a fairly regular garden visitor on our oaks
Little Owl - everyday visitor and getting closer as trust builds
Honey Buzzard migration over our garden!
Well lots more species and photos, but do not want to tire folk with the garden folio... Till next time.

4 comments:

Margaret Adamson said...

This is a wonderful post Peter. Looks like there is lots to see from your 'small patch'. yes i cannot go out without my canera now and threfore I have far to many photographs. But perhaps when I am old and cannot go out, I will still have photos to share. It is alovely area you live and lots to see. Thanks for sharing. By the way, did you ever look at the photos I sent for an ID for me? I know you re very busy. Happy Birding.

Joyce Stefancic said...

As always, Peter, beautiful thoughts and words.

Joyce Stefancic said...

As always, Peter, beautiful thoughts and words.

Joyce Stefancic said...

As always, Peter, beautiful thoughts and words.