A colossus in our mountains! With a wingspan of 2.8 metres and weighing 8 kilos, that’s 9 foot and 17lbs in old money, Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus is our largest resident raptor here in the Serranía de Ronda and Sierra de Grazalema.
Essentially a specialist carrion eater, this enormous bird is spectacular and the most easily seen raptor in our mountains. Throughout Spain, this species has increased steadily over the past 15 years by the provision of feeding stations, the last official census carried out to ascertain the number of breeding birds put the population at 17,000 pairs.
Why not take a day out with Wildside Holidays to discover the wildlife of the Sierra de Grazalema
Continue reading Griffon Vulture of the Serranía
Dotted around the mountains of Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves, and also in the city of Ronda itself, the observant visitor will occasionally run across a type of evergreen fir that looks different from others.
This is Abies pinsapo, the national tree of Andalucía, and one of a very few species that survived through the last major ice age into the modern era. That alone gives the tree special significance, and sadly Abies pinsapo is endangered. Reforestation efforts seem to be working, but the tree is often found in zones that have a high risk of fire. Continue reading The Spanish Fir, Abies pinsapo
Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) master of our skies.
If you were to search for an emblematic species which would define the importance of the Serranía de Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema for wildlife, then the Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) would be the definitive and unequivocal choice.
Among the rarest species of raptor in Europe, the Bonelli’s Eagle has perhaps, for the moment, its highest breeding density in the world right here in the Serranía de Ronda!
Continue reading Bonelli’s Eagle, Icon of the Serranía
The mandragora autumnalis is an autumn and winter flowering beauty here in Andalucia and is a plant totally surrounded in myth and folklore. The mandrake belongs to the Solanaceae or Potato family and has been mentioned over the centuries many times, even in the Bible it was noted as an aphrodisiac.
From September to March it can be seen in olive groves, in fields or even along the verges growing as a large clump of enormous dark green leaves. If you take a closer look you will see the wonderful lilac-pink crocus like flowers, often 10-30 on a single plant and after flowering there are enormous yellow/orange seedpods. Continue reading The Autumn Mandrake
I guess the first impressions you get from seeing a Hoopoe for the first time is a mixture of the comical as well as the beautiful! With its striking colours and very distinct black and white wing pattern the Hoopoe is a favourite among even the most casual observer.
The Hoopoe is a one-off polytypic species and is distributed widely throughout the Western Paleartic, but is only a resident in southern Spain, northern Africa, Egypt and the Lebanon. It is one of those birds whose presence during the winter months can more than make-up for the cooler temperatures.
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Continue reading Hoopoe – Upupa Epops (Abubilla) in the Serranía de Ronda