Monday, 13 March 2017

Pleione Orchids

One of my interests has always been odd or unusual plants, and last year I decided to experiment with growing some of the near-hardy terrestrial orchids known as Pleione. After flowering some last year in the spring, I grew them on over the summer and have now produced a new set of flowers.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Bristol Birds: Waxwings!

Bohemian Waxwing, Bristol
The UK is currently experiencing an invasion of Waxwings. These starling-sized birds originate in Scandinavia and Siberia where they breed, but travel to the UK in the winter to feed on berries. Usually they mostly stay in Scotland and eastern England, but this year the flocks have spread much further to the southwest and are now found in the Bristol area close to where I live.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Spain 26: Butterflies

Clouded Yellow
By November the number of butterflies on the wing even in Spain. We saw very few most days, but on the trip down to the Ebro Delta we stopped for lunch in a warm spot where we caught up with a few late individuals:

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Spain 25: Horseshoe Whip Snake

Horseshoe Whip Snake
Given that the Spanish trip was in November, it is unsurprising that few reptiles were seen. Aside from a Wall Lizard, the only one was a distant view of what appeared to be a Horseshoe Whip Snake, Hemorrhois hippocrepis. The species gets its English name from the horseshoe shaped mark behind the head, and it one of four in the genus. Aside from the Iberian peninsula it is also found in north west Africa. The other species are found across north Africa and through the Middle East into central Asia.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Spain 24: Red? Squirrel

Red Squirrel - Spanish form
Once upon a time the only tree dwelling squirrel to be found across most of Europe was the Eurasian Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris. With a global range from Spain across to the Pacific coast and north to Siberia, there are currently 23 subspecies defined by size and colour of coat.