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Wildlife of Almería

Teresa Farino
05/03/2010 08:49:24

Fancy escaping from the British winter? There are still a few places left on IWT’s forthcoming week-long tour to south-eastern Spain (15 – 22 April 2010).

Posted in: Flora, Butterflies and Moths, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Other Invertebrates, Reptiles, Birds | Andalusia | Mainland Spain, Southern Spain

Collared Pratincole - Glareola pratincola © Teresa FarinoCollared Pratincole
Glareola pratincola
© Teresa Farino
Renowned as being one of the hotspots of Western Europe, both climatically and for all manner of flora and fauna, Almería is the perfect destination for the all-round naturalist. Around 140 species of birds are regularly seen during the course of this week-long tour, including Greater Flamingo, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Collared Pratincole and six species of tern in wetland areas, plus Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Roller, Rufous Bush Robin, Black and Black-eared Wheatears, Southern Grey and Woodchat Shrikes and Trumpeter Finch in terrestrial habitats. Apart from Bee-eaters and Golden Orioles galore, plus myriad herons, waders and warblers, there is also a good chance of spotting one of the last Bonelli’s Eagles of the region.

a.Sooty Orange Tip - Zegris eupheme © Teresa FarinoSooty Orange Tip
Zegris eupheme
© Teresa Farino
The commonest reptiles of these arid lands are Spiny-footed Lizards, Large Psammodromus and the greyish, southern Iberian race of Ocellated Lizard, while spring butterflies include such charismatic species as Sage Skipper, Common Tiger and Panoptes Blues and Sooty Orange Tip. Other notable fauna includes dragonflies such as Violet Dropwing, the endangered endemic Royal Oil Beetle, scorpions and several species of burnet moth.

Antirrhinum charidemi © Teresa FarinoAntirrhinum charidemi© Teresa FarinoWe will be exploring habitats as diverse as coastal sand-dunes, cliffs and ancient salt-pans, arid badlands – including the only true desert in Europe – and seasonal watercourses, and the volcanic crags of the Sierra de Cabo de Gata, as well as making excursions inland to the Sierras of Gádor, Alhamilla and Los Filabres. Each of these habitats is endowed with its own botanical assemblage, and that of the lowlands is undoubtedly at its most colourful and diverse at this time of year.

The province of Almería harbours around 2,900 species of vascular plant, including a wealth of regional endemics, most notably the shrubby snapdragon Antirrhinum charidemi. Other floristic highlights include Cynomorium, Cistanche, the cactus-like Caralluma europaea and a whole host of colourful Mediterranean flowers and arable weeds, including several very attractive sea-lavenders.

Leaders Teresa Farino and James Parry would be delighted if you could join their group to discover the exceptional range of wildlife on offer in this corner of Spain in April.

Click here for more information.

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