Standing beside the sunlit vineyard after the storm, the other day, I noticed a few bugs floating by on the slight breeze. Lovely day. I’m at work, talking away (politely) to clients and trying not to drift off into watching the kestrel floating down the valley, or the Sardinian warblers bickering in the olive tree. Now I find that, as I look over into the vineyard I can see plumes of insects rising from it, the wings catching the light. It looks bright and hopeful to see them drifting up into the air. I wonder what they are. One of my clients yelps and bats at something floating onto his ear, knocking it down. “Don’t worry,” I say hastily, “Only a flying ant.”
We think of autumn, we think of autumn colours. And in spite of non-stop sunshine and warm summery days, plantlife in Málaga is also thinking of autumn. The poplars and larches are turning yellow, the vine-leaves are turning red and brown, the seedheads are nodding on the verges, attracting a world of noisy finches.
I see our resident Crag Martins all year. They are the only martins I’ve seen here in the winter – I tend to spot them when walking in fallow land or on the edge of the natural park in rocky … well, craggy … places doing wonderful displays of aerobatics. Walking up the back road to Santa Ana in Canillas de Albaida, looking out over the valley towards La Maroma is a favourite spot – I think they roost in the unclad stonework of the old chapel.
You may know a hawk from a handsaw. But do you know it from a falcon?
Roughly speaking hawks are broader but shorter winged, have a hooked and a longish tail. They typically kill with their talons in the strike as they land on their prey.
That’s not quite the full story, though. In taxonomy “true” Hawks are members of the Accipitrinae subfamily, of the Accipitridae family. The main family is big and includes birds such as buzzards and harriers as well. Oh yes, and Eagles. Too many. I think I will stick to true hawks!
Took this shot of a snail while out on Tuesday. This snail is still in “aestivation” the state of dormancy snails here use to outlast the heat. Slugs and snails are not ones to appreciate a really hot summer, so they skip the whole thing, sealing themselves into their shell with a thick mucuous membrane.
Last week another Keeled Skimmer buzzing frantically against the big closed window, bashing itself recklessly against the invisible glass. Hand-caught to take outside into the sunshine.
September can be a great month here, with the rain coming back and bringing new growth and life. Canillas de Albaida’s Fabrica de la Luz is one of the best places to enjoy this, and river and trees are beautiful. It’s a great place to start and end a walk.
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.