Asian hornet in Galicia

At the end of last month (on 28th August) I sat on a hillside in Galicia, Spain, next to a beautiful bush of flowering bell heather, photographing the wasps which were gorging themselves on the pollen and nectar. They were covered in pollen (below). They were very calm and non-aggressive and I sat right next…

Bocage’s Wall Lizard

Bocage’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei) is only found in the NW corner of the Iberian Peninsula, including Galicia, Spain. It is a small lizard which is often seen on wooden broad-walks, where it pops up to bask in the sunshine. They quickly disappear beneath the planks when heavy footed humans get near! The sexes are differently coloured:…

Shiny bronze beetle

I came across this attractive ground beetle in Galicia, Spain. It was quite large, over an inch long (at c. 27 mm), with an attractive bronze sheen (1). Its taxonomic name is Carabus (Ctenocarabus) melancholicus costatus Germar, 1824, and occurs in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula (2). Further south in Spain, there are two other subspecies: R. m.…

A young turnstone

I came across this turnstone on the edge of the Ria Ortigueira. It was busily feeding – yes they really do turn over stones! – looking for invertebrates (insects, crustaceans, molluscs) along the shoreline. It looked young, and was extremely ‘confiding’ as bird watchers say. Almost fool hardy in fact; not flying or moving away…

Heron food

  I watched this Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) feeding in the Ria Ortigueira, Galicia, Spain,one evening this week.  It suddenly picked up what looked like a ‘beakful’ of seaweed and algae from the shallow water. After a series of deft manoeuvres, it managed to dislodge the vegetation, whilst still retaining its prey, which was probably…

Sea Spurge

Sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is a common plant on dunes and sandy beaches, from the British Isles down to the Mediterranean. The stems are slightly fleshy and glaucous – nice word – meaning bluish-grey or green. They do however, turn a reddish colour with age, giving a pleasing two-tone effect which contrasts attractively with the sand,…

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…