Sunday, 28 October 2012

 24th Oct
  Well this is the first full day back home after our trip to the deep south and what do we get, a strong cold northerly and snow showers ! Winter is just around the corner.

  The trip south took two days including overnight on the Northlink and a night in Cardross to visit one of Catriona's relations. We left Unst on the Saturday lunch time and arrived in Tolox, southern Spain at around 9.30pm Monday, local time.

  The house where we stayed was high up on a south facing hillside but with views also to the other 3 points of the compass. For most of the week we stayed around the house and pool, with the occasional walk back from Tolox or had a lift in to either Tolox or Coin ( pronounced Coeeen - or something like that). The weather was mostly clear, sunny, and by Shetland standards, very warm at around  23c - 28c.

  All around the hillsides I could hear Crested Lark, Woodlark, Sardinian Warbler and Cirl Bunting. Daily over head I saw a number of raptors including Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle and a probable Bonelli's Eagle. Most mornings there was a passage of birds along the hillside made up of small flocks of finches (Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch etc) and also Hirundines such as Swallows, House Martins, one Red-rumped Swallow and quite a few Crag Martins. Both Great Tit and Blue Tits were fairly numerous. Other birds from the garden included Firecrest, Crossbill, Little Egret, Redlegged Partridge, Blackcap and Little Owl. During the spring and breeding season I would think there would be a lot more raptors, hirundines and warblers around.

  There were a few obvious insects around including grasshoppers, carpenter bees, a swallow-tailed butterfly and a small praying mantis that ended up in the pool (which survived after been fished out with a net).

   Much of the surrounding landcsape was dominated by olive groves and also almond, orange and lemon trees. Ther only thick vegetation really was down in the river valleys or in some of the small gorges that would have water in in them after any substantial rainfall.

  Below are a few pics from the week.......

Looking north towards the house (arrowed in white)

Looking roughly south from above the house (again arrowed)

From the same viewpoint looking north

A couple of shots of the house after dark

Olive trees

Freshly picked olives that are going to be made into oil

 Female Sardinian Warbler



 Little Egret

 Praying Mantis

 Crested Lark

Swallow-tailed Butterfly

  The villa belongs to a friend of mine who I've known for many years and is available to rent for holidays. For more information click the link here


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