Category Archives: Nature

Bird song: Great Tit

Can you tell the difference between a Great Tit and a Blue Tit? No? Before we came to live here, I was hazy about them too. Sometimes it is still a bit hit and miss, but basically the Great Tit is larger and looks as if he is wearing a yellow waistcoat over a black shirt. Or alternatively, a black tie with a yellow shirt. The Blue has a plain yellow breast. Not very technical ‘birding’ language, but I hope you know what I mean. Although both types of Tit are resident here, we see mostly Greats. Its colouring is slightly stronger than the Blue, though in flight to be honest they whizz by in a flash of yellow and blue.

Found across Europe, there are thirty different races of Great Tit and there are just as many variations of Great Tit song as there are of the bird. In the spring, if you hear a bird song you can’t identify there’s a good chance there’s a Great Tit nearby. Particularly familiar is the two-tone ‘teach-er teach-er’.

Listen to the song of the Great Tit at Xeno-Canto.

5 to remember
un poco impredecible – a bit hit and miss
parece como si – looks as if
un chaleco amarillo – a yellow waistcoat
una corbata negra – a black tie
espero que sepas lo que quiero decir – I hope you know what I mean

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Grey Wagtail
Sparrowhawk
Jay

 

Our most used bird book? ‘Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe’
Amazon UK

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Great Tit? #Birds in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xH via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Gold #42

Touch it at your peril. Dried Common Thistle. July 26, 2013 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Dried thistle, golden in the summer #Plants in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2yS via @Spanish_Valley 

Bird song: Black Wheatear

If we want to find a Black Wheatear here, we look around rough, stony ground and quite often spot one at the base of sheer cliffs. This mostly black bird is often hidden in the shade of boulders and scree slopes, but is resident here and we regularly see one in the valley. Its song is a beautiful whistling ‘pewp’ and harder ‘tet-tet’, but in flight it becomes a pleasant twittering sound.

The Black Wheatear seems to prefer the ground where it leaps and hops, foraging for insects. It even nests on the ground in a grassy cup in a hole in the ground, in a vacant rabbit burrow, in a stone wall or beneath rocks on a slope. It appears mostly black, but when in flight it is possible to glimpse its large white rump and tail.

Although the Wheatear has struggled in Northern Europe, here in Spain the Black Wheatear is listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018.
Listen to the song of the Black Wheatear at Xeno-Canto.

5 to remember
a la sombra de las rocas – in the shade of boulders
una madriguera de conejo vacante – a vacant rabbit burrow
es posible vislumbrar – it is possible to glimpse
menor preocupación – least concern
especies amenazadas – threatened species

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Blackcap
Cetti’s Warbler
Robin

 

Our most used bird book? ‘Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe’
Amazon UK

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Black Wheater? #Birds in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xA via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Green #23

A fresh green wildflower growing amongst stones. A Euphorbia. March 16, 2013

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Euphorbia: a fresh green wildflower growing amongst stones #garden #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2c6

Fifty Shades of Blue #29

Wild borage is flowering at every corner of the valley. May 17, 2014 

I use this book to help identify wildflowers in the secret valley… Common Wildflowers of Spain by Austen Colwell. Amazon UK

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Wild borage = everywhere in May #Wildflowers #Andalucia https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xv via @Spanish_Valley 

Fifty Shades of White #8

White vinca, growing wild and clambering up the hillside. February 11, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
White vinca, growing wild & flowering #Gardening #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2c2