Sunday, February 24, 2008

Be quick or be dead

Hola, my hard rocking amigos. I was wandering round the countryside in Granada for reasons you don't even want to begin to understand. Spain rocks! I had a migas baby. I learnt that metal-studded leather jeans not only look fantastic, but they breathe well in Mediterranean environments, AND are fully compatible with airport security systems. I did a pretty good impression of Borat in New York. I came back with about 2 Gb of music that is bloody brilliant. Everyone was crazy, in a good way. I learnt some very specialist Spanish vocabulary, including the many levels of 'me cago en...' curses. I saw some birds!

The flight down was superb, with clear views down the west coast and on to France, though it got cloudy over Spain. It was like a birding tour of some of my greatest triumphs - went over the Isle of Man and saw the Calf of Man, then to the North Wales Coasts with a clear view down the Menai Straits, Puffin Island, Red Wharf Bay, going over the Great Orme, and my dad's house, then cut over the
Llŷn peninsula (seeing Bardsey, Ynys Enlli, at the tip), all the way down the coast (to Barmouth, and over Ynys Hir RSPB), with views of Dinas Head and Strumble head, Skomer, Swansea (ugh!), over Lundy (looking good, Lundy - actually scene of two of my greatest disasters, Ancient Murrelet x 2), hit the north Devon coast with a magnificent view all the way to Lands End and all the reservoirs reflecting orange in the sunset (speak to me Stithians!), over Brittany and... yes! Ouessant in the distance - a tick! Top hole!

Around Granada, I saw a lot of this:
Birds of poplar plantations outside Granada: a lot of European Serins - their songs were too fast and varied for Remembird to cope with. Chaffinches, European Robins, Great Tits and Winter Wrens - I took a lot of sonograms - with Grey Wagtails in the irrigation channels, and White Wagtails. A few Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Spotless Starlings and Black Redstarts around the farm buildings. One (yes one) Hoopoe. A few Common Chiffchaffs, wintering or maybe migrants, singing, including one that gave a note (captured on Remembird) that I've never seen before, this after the Ibe Chiffy paper has gone to bed, the puta. I saw a pair of Azure-winged Magpies. Black-billed Magpies v common. Common Chiffies were common enough around Granada too, and Blackcaps commonly singing in the parks too, among the House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings. A flock of Redwings in the treetops around the Alhambra Palace was weird but apparently normal. Which brings me to the Alhambra.

The Charles V Palace - symbol of Christian power and more importantly, home to a flock of 200+ Eurasian Crag Martins that roosted on the little dado ledges inside the colonnade-thingies.

Charles V Palace... here be big fire-breathing Crag Martins with nasty sharp vampire teeth.

The Alambra, from Granada

Granada, from the Alhambra

You don't buy that in B&Q

Arty bit

Main gate. Impressive.

Rather alarmed to notice I came home to a pile of bird work, so made a start on that today. Got the shakes from sudden pork and coffee withdrawal. Must go get my hit. Back in a mo. We all love Granada!

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