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Andalucia Wildlife

Andalucia in early summer is a beautiful place to enjoy the colour and wealth of wildlife on offer. The fact that this, Spain’s largest region has the best climate in Europe, helps. On the whole, long hot summers are often followed by mild and often short, acceptable winters. Heavy rains often occur in the winter months which are very welcome. Once the short winter has passed spring explodes with a beautiful show of flowers. Rains from the winter ensure the flowers are now in profusion. Olive groves are covered by bright yellow Daisies. The Blood Red Poppy flourishes on the roadside verges and amongst annual crop fields. From the vivid colour of the Purple Iris down to the delicate Saxifrages, there is a wide diversity of wildflowers on show, especially in the early summer months.

Wherever flowers grow you often find Butterflies to go with them. Andalucia offers a good and varied selection of these colourful insects. You get a Mediterranean and also a small North African influence in this part of Spain. It is the only permanent place in Europe to find the well known Monarch butterfly. Well known for it’s amazing migration patterns in Central and North America, this butterfly is resident in small colonies in coastal districts and present on Gibraltar. The Two-tailed Pasha is another large and colourful species which occurs here. Look out for it’s dark brown and bright orange colours. It is fond of taking wine and rotten fruit and may be observed for long periods on the ground, while doing this.

With this climate, butterflies are virtually on the wing all year round. Obviously the warmer, summer months hold the greatest numbers and selection of butterflies on offer. Blues, Skippers, Fritillaries and Browns are all well represented. It is also possible to find butterflies here that are not recorded anywhere else in Europe. Species like the beautiful ‘orange’ Aetherie Fritillary and Desert Orange Tip are butterflies which are widespread in nearby Morocco.

Birdlife too is exceptional in this area. The Gibraltar Straight is a well known crossing point for thousands of migrating birds. This point where Africa moves to Europe is a good reason why Andalucia offers so much to the bird watcher. Birds not only can be seen in huge numbers, either passing over or resting off, but also use the area for breeding sites. The Greater Flamingo is the only species of the Flamingoes to breed in Europe and it does so at the well known Laguna de Fuenta Piedra site in Andalucia.

A walk in the countryside seems to be filled with the endless chorus of birdsong. The Nightingale is always heard but is so hard to catch sight of. The birds of prey feature heavily here and it is an amazing sight to see the huge numbers of these birds massing together in migration in springtime.

There is so much more wildlife on offer in Andalucia than I have mentioned here. It does though give a brief insight to the delights that one can encounter in this rich area of Spain. One only needs to move a few miles inland from the Costa del Sol, to uncover the ‘other side’ to this region. From White washed villages and the magic of historic Ronda to the sounds and style of Seville. There really is something for everyone here.

Clive Burrows, clive@cliveburrows.wanadoo.co.uk

Clive Burrows has given permission for this article to be published here, for which I thank him very much. The article is copyright to Clive Burrows, and his permission should be sought before it is reproduced elsewhere; this article is presented here in HTML format, and may either be read on-line or downloaded for later perusal


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