Spring Birds and Wildlife in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains
We have just returned from a three week break at our mountain smallholding high on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Although we had several forays out mountaineering, rock climbing and walking, much of the time was spent working on the land. Which inevitably brings you close to nature. Spring in this part of Spain sees the return or just passing of many birds returning to Europe from Africa where they spent the winter and this trip was to reward us with sightings of several birds including the Wheatear visiting our garden daily and an Egyptian Vulture circling overhead on several occasions.
The other daily sight is the local goatherd passing beside our land as they forage and browse their way around the mountainside. It’s always been obvious to us that when we are not around the farmer is not so careful about keeping them off our land because of the nibbled trees and plants. Whilst we are there the farmer tends to keep the goats in order by shouting at them and throwing rocks towards them (his dogs being useless at rounding them up).
The one in the picture here has snuck around the back of our house where there are new almonds growing. Proof if it were needed that goats will do there own thing and without fencing we will always loose a proportion of our plants.
Mind you, it’s not just the goats causing damage. On our land we have rabbits, wild boar and “Cabra de Monte” (Iberian Ibex). Because we have plenty of water running through a barranco that borders our land and we have let a fair portion of this land go over to briar and willow, we have a great habitat not just for birds but somewhere safe for the cabra and boar to hold up during the day.
On this last trip we were visited each evening by a young fox. The water channels that we have dug across the land distributing our excess water attract frogs and toads and we saw the fox stalking them on several occasions.
International Mountain Leaders are trained not only to lead and keep you safe in the mountains, but also in environmental interpretation. The guides at Sierra Nevada Guides are all qualified International Mountain Leaders. Never book with a guide who claims to be "experienced" make sure they are fully qualified, your life may depend on it!