Feeding on hemlock!

There were huge numbers of Marsh Fritillary (Eurodryas aurina) butterflies flying about in Galicia (north-west Spain) when I visited the province in late April. Many of them were feeding on a white umbelliferous plant which I did not recognise at first. Only later, did I realise that what the butterflies and other insects were so attracted…

A carrot by the sea!

This attractive member of the Carrot family (Umbelliferae) grows near the sea on rocky cliffs and headlands. Perhaps it likes the views! It’s hard to imagine a more aesthetically pleasing shape than this globe of tiny white flowers! Sea carrot (Daucus carota subsp. gummifer) is a subspecies of wild carrot; the central umbel is white…

Citizen snail

An enormous amount of work has been carried out over the years to try to understand the genetics of this little snail; the brown-lipped banded snail (Cepaea nemoralis). It has been called a model organism, and has been the subject of a huge citizen science project. So lets call it citizen snail! It is highly variable,…

Northern Wheatear in northern Spain

I crept up on this Wheatear, which was sitting on a rock at Cape Bares (Punta de Estaca de Bares) in Galicia, Spain. Punta de Estaca de Bares is the northernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay). Northern Wheatears are said to be ‘rather local’ in Galicia…

Little sand digger!

I came across this little sand wasp digging its heart out in the sand dunes on Morouzos beach, Ria Ortigueira, Galicia, Spain (see previous blog, 1). The Hairy sand wasp (Podalonia hirsuta) is common and widely distributed throughout Europe, but easily overlooked as it goes about it life on the dunes. This species is similar…

Iberian mountain lizard

I came across this lizard enjoying the late afternoon sunshine at the back of the Mirador da Miranda viewing point, which is a stone balcony overlooking the Ria Ortigueira and surrounding countryside in Galicia, Spain. The lookout point must be about 500m in altitude and overlooks the Ria (or inlet) (see below). Iberian mountain lizards (L.…