Spikes And Buds
HAVING had enough of computer work today and having read on another nature blog that the Ophrys tenthredinifera has started blooming in Doñana, I decided to escape for a quick walk today to see what´s going on in our cooler climate in the Grazalema Park.
There were plenty of spikes of different orchids and other plants out but no buds or flowers on the orchid spikes. Obviously we have to wait a bit longer, as every year.
There are buds and leaves of many plants about and it is good fun to try to locate familiar plants before they fully develop. A process which is not always successful…
The Common Asphodel has well-developed buds now and peony plants are peeking out of the ground. Some plants choose quite unusual, but well-sheltered places to grow.
More and more Erodium and Romulea flowers pepper the meadows and there is a gentle buzz of insects in the air.
There was a very loud and beautiful Woodlark (Lulula arborea) song. Common Chaffinches whistled in alarm all around and I was startled by the rattling call of a Mistle Thrush which told me exactly what the bird thought of me invading the little patch which (obviously) didn´t belong to me.No matter how quiet one tries to be, some birds will take the task of letting everyone know you are there!
I watched several Honey bees busy pollinating the blooming gorse.
Water, frost and wind have eroded many of the limestone rocks and created fantasmagorical shapes: little pools where rainwater gathers, holes which go right through the rock or… perfect eye sockets.
On the way back I played the usual game of Spot the Little Owl (Athene noctua) with the local pair of birds. They gave me me a good run for my money by not perching in any of the usual places. Then I spotted the male… perched on top of a rock in the most visible place possible.
Then I was lucky to see a couple of Blue Rock Thrush males which I thought were getting a bit more blue, actually a happy thing if you are a Blue Rock Thrush, mating season is getting closer.
As the sun was going down, a bright Large Tortoisheshell visited a nearby rock; a first close-up sighting for me this year. The afternoon was very warm, about 14 º at 4.30 pm but as I was getting back at 6 the temperature has already dropped a couple degrees and continued dropping rapidly.
The Griffon Vultures were making quite a bit of noise at the nesting site, fussing and shuffling on the rock shelves. The beautiful golden light and the smell of thyme made the outing a very happy one.