Seeing lots of dragonflies right now. September seems to be the moment: my best dragonfly shot was taken this time last year when magnificent Epaulet Skimmer that paused on a wall for me. I’m surprised because I have only ever spotted exuvia – the somewhat creepy empty body-shell of the nymph form – in late spring. Must be missing some.
September. Millions of birds migrate from Europe to Africa. Most of them go through Spain. Of those that go through Spain most go through Malaga to cross around the Straits of Gibraltar, keeping the hazards of flight over the open sea to a minimum. That includes the birds of prey, from the giant Lammergeier, through Griffon and Black Vultures and migratory Eagles, to Black and Red Kites, and many more. Twice a year they gather in great numbers. No wonder birders also flock to the rock, to Tarifa, and everywhere between, to see what they can. As you might guess, Tarifa is on my bucket list.
Good Walk for: Staying on the flat (rare here): no steep climbs, only gentle downs, all on good track. Exposed to weather, so avoid on wild days or hot days: otherwise all year. Visiting each village. Views over the farmed valley
Distance: 7Km to Sayalonga;
Options: Detour to visit Bodegas Bentomiz, an excellent winery and restaurant (adds 0.5 Km, but worth it.
Now that it is getting cooler I’m wondering why I missed out on walking. It may seem like midsummer madness but you can hike right through July and August. You can’t just head out the door and up the nearest peak at midday – not without serious risk of sun-stroke anyway, but if you could you would miss most of the wildlife, which tends to adapt, using dawn and dusk more and midday less. Walkers adapt too.
There are lots of raptors in Malaga. Vultures, eagles, falcons, buzzards, hawks and owls. But, outside of the migration (April/May and Sept), and the area around the Straits of Gibraltar, there aren’t so many that you see in large numbers.
Pffff! horrible near miss. Not a car-crash (well, not quite). A road-bound chameleon, looking like a straw-yellow, wind-blown twig, partway into the road.
Bee-Eaters are most beautiful when perched – little living jewels. I once came out of the hospital near Velez-Malaga to be cheered by seeing a pair perched on the tramlines.
July and August and half the world heads to the beach. Even I hop over now and again, and not, really, to go wilding – too many people, cars, noise and too much heat. Still, there is life on the beach, and not just in the sea or on the jetties.
Sitting with a ice-cold beer in a beach side chiringuito you are greeted by the commonest of birds. You know it is a sparrow but is it a House Sparrow or a Spanish Sparrow? These two species are closely related and confusingly both present in the Med. Wikipedia states “Its taxonomy is greatly complicated by the “biological mix-up” but “In most of the Mediterranean, one or both of the two species occurs, with only a limited degree of hybridisation”. Very comforting. How to tell them apart? Well the male HS has a grey crown, while the male Spanish has a chestnet crown. But the females are effectively indistinguishable. So we have to stick to “Sparrow” and give them a few crumbs of bread.