This subspecies, which is resident all year round in Portugal and Spain, can be thankful it is not a migrant; that it does not have to brave all the hunters and trappers on islands like Malta and Cyprus; and unlike some of its passerine cousins, it can avoid the slaughter that goes on in the Lebanon every year; it does not have to negotiate the miles of nets being set in countries like Egypt to trap millions of migratory birds for food. And finally, it does not have to navigate the huge natural obstacle called the Sahara desert! Like many of us, it is lucky to live in Europe.
I am a retired entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.