Friday, 29 June 2018

Newsletter April 2018

Newsletter April 2018.

The stormy weather slipped through into April from such a wintry end of March and Spring seemed to have missed most of Europe out. The normally pleasant weather conditions typical of Andujar during this month were replaced by heavy rain and wind storms which made wildlife viewing almost impossible. Despite such difficulties, time was spent locating Daubenton's, Greater Mouse-eared and Schreiber's bats roosting in a cave and in a welcome break in the poor weather, John was able to video this Spanish ibex for our clients Mike and Meredith who had travelled from Pennsylvania. 

  .

                                                                          
  Fallow and red deer were also spotted plus moufflon.















A chance of an Iberian lynx sighting was uppermost on their itinerary but the constant rain and wind storms in their first two days seemed determined to hamper these efforts.  However on the third day the storms abated and calmer weather meant that John, Mike and Meredith set out for a morning lynx watch full of optimism. The views just kept on getting better and better, beginning with a solo, male Iberian lynx walking up a track in clear view, to everyone's congratulations after such disappointing weather conditions.



But this was just the beginning and the trio went on to watch some tremendous views of a female Iberian lynx at rest, at one time with tiny cubs probably just out of the den for the first time. In the following video taken by John the female arises from repose, stretches and sets off to hunt after a well-earned rest



Bird sightings were impressive despite the weather, beginning with a lovely, little owl sitting on a rock on the first evening and being spotted there every day of the tour. Certainly the changeable weather conditions provided some excellent photographic opportunities as with this shot at sunrise after a heavy shower had subsided.















During the tour watches Mike spotted a singing Sardinian warbler and Meredith noticed a golden oriole, also in full throat. All three were treated to magnificent views of Spanish Imperial eagles calling and flying low over the valley, plus golden and short-toed eagles.




Black vulture could also be seen plus the fabulous sight of griffon vulture soaring just above head height. Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Eurasian kestrel were also seen, and I list here merely a selection of sightings recorded by John, Mike and Meredith; raven, azure-winged magpie, hoopoe, Iberian green woodpecker, red-billed chough, mistle thrush, cattle egret, nuthatch, spotless starling, bee-eater, crag martin, house martin, red-rumped swallow, barn swallow, rock bunting, common cuckoo, white wagtail, grey wagtail, red-legged partridge and a glimpse of kingfisher on the peaceful Rio Jandular.

Wild boar sightings were plentiful from day three when the weather allowed John, Mike and Meredith good views of this family party of wild boar, with piglets running in the welcome sunshine.


A flock of magpies were also active showing their symbiotic relationship with the wild boar.



Mike and Meredith  were able to return to Pennsylvania with excellent memories of their superb .sightings of the Iberian lynx, acknowledging that it had been well worth the journey.


The tranquillity of the Sierra de la Culebra was the perfect antidote to  the stresses and demands of a busy life in UK for Vanessa and straightaway on the first morning Vanessa and John were getting good views of crested tit and cuckoo, a bird so rarely seen or heard now in England, The proliferation of pine processionary moth caterpillars provide a plentiful food source for cuckoos here. Red and roe deer were out in good numbers too. During the tracking activities on the first day Vanessa saw clear, recent wolftracks and scat along with views and sounds of black redstart, booted eagle, white stork, crested lark, wheatear, siskin, goldfinch, black kite and red kite plus getting as close as is advisable to some mastines guarding the sheep. The second day Vanessa was able to follow the movements of a large number of red deer including a light-coloured hind. Birds spotted and enjoyed included rock bunting, coal tit, woodlark, stonechat, Bonelli's warbler, stonechat and booted eagle. On the Monday morning John and Vanessa took time out to locate a nightingale  - Vanessa's first - and the obliging bird sang and displayed admirably, along with Dartford warbler.





The trip to Villafafila offered tremendous views of great bustard both in flight and lekking, plus bee-eater, griffon vulture, honey buzzard, red kite, black kite, and marsh harrier while a stop over at the serene Rio Esla garnered wonderful views of two otters plus great white egret, purple heron and raven.











The tour seemed to come to an end just far too soon and Vanessa made her way to the hotel room to pack, intriguingly armed with a strong pair of bolt-cutters. The journey back to Asturias airport was stunning as ever and we trust that a little piece of the Culebra calmess now resides in Somerset!

Wolf sightings continued right up until the last watch of the month during which time John was fortunate enough to film this amazing footage of seven wolves preparing for and subsequerntly hunting a small party of red deer. I finish this month's newsletter with a small piece of this amazing video.




Margaret . May 2018.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Newsletter January, February, March 2018.

Newsletter January, February, March 2018.




The photo says it all! 




It has been a cold, snowy start to the year here in the Sierra de la Culebra, as indeed in many other parts of Europe, and the storks must have wondered just what they had come back to.


                                                                                                                                                              We have welcomed a greater number of species to our bird table this winter; this is especially rewarding because garden birds are not usually fed in these parts, so there is a natural reticence to feed from hanging devices which blow in the wind. However, the wintry conditions gave us a chance to see great tit, blue tit, brambling, woodlark, serin, chaffinch and sparrow feeding on our birdtable with great spotted woodpecker landing on our apple tree to feed.


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John encountered a frosty roe deer one morning in February near our home.
















We spent some time watching a large dog otter swimming and fishing in clear morning light; certainly no heat haze to contend with here!

Paul did not have the best of weather conditions when he arranged some guiding with John and certainly thick mist hampered viewing but on Monday 12th February the mist cleared and Paul and John seized the opportunity for some better viewing chances, with great success! In the valley the wolf came to devour a red deer killed earlier, and Paul was able to see his first wolf, after trying in several other countries. It fed for a long time and John and Paul watched until it slipped into the surrounding heather. That morning Paul had also been able to see eight roe deer and two foxes so a memorable morning indeed. The evening watch also brought success as John and Paul watched a different wolf move slowly along a track, stopping momentarily to look back, then moving on in unhurried, undisturbed fashion.. Such a wonderful day for Paul, and opportunity well taken as the mists folded in the next day and viewing was tricky once more.



The weather forecast was very promising for the week when Sam and Becky were joining us for their extended Watching for Wolves tour and although cold, the days were clear and generally sunny; just perfect viewing conditions. The first couple of wolf watches were useful exercises in locating red deer through the telescopes and this proved useful for the wolfwatch on the evening of day two, Wednesday 21st March, when a wolf appeared within a few minutes of John, Sam and Becky setting up their scopes and all three were able to see this magnificent creature.




It was a superb watch that evening as two separate wolves were able to be watched at different times throughout the dusk and the wolf was still there when it was obviously time to pack up the scopes as the light had faded for that evening. As well as the wolves, we had our first sighting for this year of short-toed eagle and black kite during the watch, along with several griffon vultures, red kite and red and roe deer. During the day Sam and Becky had enjoyed finding fresh tracks and scat and now the real thing had appeared with this excellent evening of wolf views.

Sam and Becky also encountered an antidote to wolf predation as used in the Sierra de la Culebra generally with success, namely the large Spanish Mastine, who seemed hungry when introduced to our clients!


Eurasian otter proved elusive on this occasion, but Sam and Becky's patience was rewarded with excellent views of two golden eagles, several black kites and red kites, ten great white egrets and a little egret, plus about 300 cormorants. All this was en route to Villafafila where the great bustards were putting on their amazing lekking display, whiskers blowing out in the wind. Marsh harrier was also noted.












A keen photographer, Becky was delighted with her results from the Douro Gorge, with griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures plus golden eagles presenting excellent opportunities.






Becky also discovered a new talent - pottery - as our friends in the local pottery shop let Becky make her own pot, without too much help from the experts!














Signs of Spring are here, with the arrival of the cuckoo this week, and the welcome sight of butterflies during Sam and Becky's tour. John caught a comma and a peacock on camera.


               "Just wanted to thank you both for such a wonderful trip! It is such a lovely area and we enjoyed everything, even the cold!"

                                                         Becky March 2018.

The final days of March have indeed been extremely cold with snow squalls over this Easter weekend, but the weather never deters John from being out every possible day to track and watch for the wolves in the Sierra de la Culebra thereby ensuring a comprehensive knowledge of their movements and possible sightings for all our clients. I am delighted to share with you this superb video taken by John this week here near our home, where the wild Iberian wolves roam freely and where we are occasionally lucky enough to be granted such insights into their natural behaviour.

Margaret. March 2018.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Newsletter October/November/December 2017

Newsletter October/November/December 2017.



This has been a tremendous period for wolf watching and I know that many of you will have kept abreast of these wonderful moments via the Wild Wolf Experience Facebook page, where John manages to post some of his sighting results just about as they happen. Alison arrived for her Watching for Wolves tour on 3rd October with John having had excellent views for the first two days of the month and so hopes were high. Morning mist hampered viewing on Alison's first wolf watch but she enjoyed watching red and roe deer in such atmospheric surroundings. A black vulture added to the excitement and the obvious wolf presence noted by scat and tracks during daytime walks merely served to heighten excitement and desire for a sighting.



The wolf when it showed could not have been better for Alison. At the beginning of the evening wolf-watch on a beautiful 5th October evening with visibility calm and clear with the promise of a huge harvest moon, John had just set up Alison's scope and was tending to mine, when Alison whispered breathlessly " Wolf!" and a lone wolf was watched by a transfixed Alison as it walked down the firebreak in front of our viewpoint only to pause and raise its head as if to acknowledge her presence before turning to the left to move soundlessly through the undergrowth eventually to be lost in the taller heather. It was an emotionally-charged moment during a day which held great personal significance for Alison and it could not have been bettered.Every time we see wolf it is special and exciting but occasionally we realise the lifetime memories we are giving so many of our clients and then we know why these tours are so special. Many of Alison's photographs and memories of this tour are to be found  at http://www.travelcounsellors.com/alison.kent.


In mid-month John was delighted to show Loraine fantastic views of seven wolves interacting for most of her watch, making her 70th birthday Spanish/Portuguese tour even more special. Again, memorable moments.


Iain, Rohanne, Alex and Isaac were very excited for their first ever visit to Northern Spain and they all quickly became proficient in using the telescopes, pointing out red and roe deer, vultures and wild boar during their watches, while seeing Iberian hare on two separate occasions. They had seen plenty of wolfscat and wolf evidence during daytime tracking expeditions, but the true infectious enthusiasm was when they were able to watch four wolves playing, running and generally interacting; an experience which was repeated the following morning.  The whole family entered into each watch experience whole-heartedly and gained much enjoyment through all the aspects of their time here in the Sierra de la Culebra.




Full of enthusiasm,Iain, Rohanne, Alex and Isaac left us on 27th October, exclaiming that this would not be their last visit, and we certainly look forward to seeing them again.













Just a couple of days later John collected Ian and Liz for their Watching for Wolves tour beginning on 30th October. Their first day was spent tracking and searching for signs of wolf and Ian and Liz were interested to find plenty of examples of fresh wolf tracks and scat in the mountains. This was exciting indeed but a tremendous first day was brought to a climax with the appearance of two wolves separately during the evening wolf watch. Each wolf had distinctively different colouring and they were moving about the area independently of each other; this was a treat indeed!



Liz in particular was overjoyed to achieve her aim of seeing wolf in the wild but the views just kept on getting better as on the following morning John, Ian and Liz were treated to an epic watch of eight wolves for a total of 2 1/2 hours! At one point, Ian had black vulture, red kite and wolf in his scope at the one time! The evening watch of 1st November was also fascinating with all of us watching the interplay between two wolves as they greeted each other on the plain in front of our viewpoint. Ian and Liz watched with determination during every wolf watch and even during some fairly squally weather when the Sierra de la Culebra experienced the first rain since May, they were not to be put off their watch, and this admirable attitude paid off when John, Ian and Liz were delightedly watching 7 wolves within minutes of setting up their scopes on a very rainy Friday 3rd November. Certainly they were the only wolf watchers there in such inclement weather, and this just made the experience all the more special. Liz was a happy lady to have achieved her aim of seeing a wolf in the wild and moments such as these make it very special for John and me too at Wild Wolf Experience.





Ian was keen to find certain birds too during this tour acknowledging that it is not the most productive time of year for birds here in the Sierra de la Culebra.  However he was delighted to notch up over 75 species during his tour with us.





Notable amongst these sightings were over 80 griffon vultures very close during their time at the Douro Gorge plus golden eagle, red kite, crag martin, sparrowhawk, crested lark, woodlark, rock bunting, rock sparrow, common buzzard and approximately 50 azure-winged magpies during that day visit. Time in Sanabria garnered siskin, great crested grebe, song thrush and red kite. Kingfisher, gadwall, potchard, mallard, teal,little grebe and great white egret were seen on the Rio Esla, and at Villafafila Ian, Liz and John watched a red fox stalking the waterfowl plus enjoying views which included great bustard, common crane, red kite, marsh harrier, hen harrier, common buzzard and Eurasian kestrel. Certainly Ian and Liz felt their time here with us had been so worthwhile and I know they have since enjoyed following the antics on Facebook of the young wolves they had been so fortunate to be able to see during their extended Watching for Wolves tour with us.


By now we were well into November and many of you will have been amazed at the fantastic videos John has posted on our Wild Wolf Experience Facebook page; wolves adult, sub-adult and youngster being totally undisturbed by our careful, unobtrusive watching and we have all delighted in their pack interaction, greeting, playing, hunting large prey such as stags or small fry like voles; all in all it has been a fabulous time with some very special wolf action to be privileged to view and share.




So it was with high hopes that we greeted Mike at Asturias airport who was spending time with us on a Watching for Wolves tour having previously searched for wolf in Romania, Poland and Canada with little success. An experienced wildlife watcher, Mike was wanting to dispel the image of the wolf as his " bogey-animal"! So it was on the evening of the 29th November that Mike had his first watch which was interesting with its large number of red and roe deer, plus hen harrier and griffon vulture, but no wolf appearances. However, the first morning of Mike's tour, 30th November, was just tremendous!


In clear bright sunlight, Job and Mike were able to see three adult wolves  as they hunted on the plain in front of them,. One wolf sat down at one point and seemed to be watching for further signs while the other two adult wolves moved down the hillside, spreading out in their hunt over the frosty heatherland. Then 6 further wolves appeared, this time youngsters, who moved steadily and clearly through the vegetation and John was able to catch this movement as they fanned out over the hillside with the morning sun casting their strong, long shadows across the vegetation. The sight of a golden eagle atop a small pine tree was almost ignored in the excitement. Each day of Mike's tour gave wolf sightings, with the mornings having the best results. John and Mike spent the early daylight hours of 1st December watching and filming two young wolves interact and play, totally relaxed with each other whereas the following morning of 2nd December this number was swelled to seven wolves over a long time in superb clear light with no heat haze; just perfect viewing conditions.


The final wolf watch on 3rd December did not disappoint with a briefer view of wolf plus many red deer offering interest and excitement, and we were all pleased that Mike's dogged determination to see wolf in the wild had eventually paid off, with dividends.

Day visits enjoyed included good close views of griffon vultures galore at the scenic Douro gorge plus 2 golden eagles.  A special sight was that of black-shouldered kite on the return journey from Portugal.



The lagoons were incredibly dry at Villafafila where John and Mike watched several great bustards plus  hundreds of over-wintering cranes, filmed against a strong wind. Mammals seen included a red fox which was spotted stalking the waterfowl.They also enjoyed good sights of marsh harriers, numerous red kites, kestrels  at Villafafila plus kingfisher, two great white egrets and lovely grey wagtail on the Rio Esla.









Mike is a keen photographer, displaying and selling his photos; they are well worth a look.









"Hi Margaret and john

great trip - loved the wolves and the villages

Thinking about your offer of referencing my pictures on your blog sound a good idea

internet - etsy uk

my shop name is   mrexplorer     (all one word)

I will see you again to watch for Lynx - prob Jan 2019

have fun

Mike"






Reports of severe snowfalls in Asturias added a frisson of excitement as we prepared for our early morning road trip to Asturias airport on the final morning of Mike's tour, but really we did not need anything to create excitement as the events of this Watching for Wolves tour had been thrilling enough for all of us. However, just as John and I left our home village of Cional to collect Mike from the hotel at 5:50 on that morning of 4th December, we had a close encounter with a wolf as it ran alongside our road to turn left towards the lake! Each day something exciting to report!

The sightings have continued to thrill us here in this most special of Spanish settings, and I hope you have all enjoyed reading and seeing just some of these results over the past year.




John and I wish you all a very happy Christmas and look forward to sharing even more of our adventures here during 2018.




Margaret.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Newsletter August / September 2017

Newsletter August / September 2017.







August is usually the month of fiestas with small communities working together to produce spectacular entertainment, sport and family fun ensuring that the more mundane matters of everyday life are swept aside in  a positive tsunami of celebration







The incredibly dry spring and summer resulted in several forest fires in the region but fortunately the areas where our local wolf packs are have remained safe from this ever-present threat. A nearby fire in a neighbouring valley was quickly controlled by the amazingly brave, hard-working bomberos ( firemen).




The brave firefighters flying right into the heart of the fires





We enjoyed an abundance of passing migrants including several pied and spotted flycatchers on our woodland walks this month.







Part of August was spent with returning clients Paul and Zoe who decided to try a Browsing for Bears tour after their very successful Watching for Wolves tour a couple of years ago.















The weather was kind and the bear viewing was tremendous, with eight individuals showing at various viewpoints over the time of their Browsing for Bears tour.



Two separate females with two cubs each could be watched as they fed on the hazelnuts.This year because of the cold early June and the ensuing dry summer the fruits of Alpine buckthorn have been in very short supply. A young sub-adult and a young male bear were also seen on different occasions.




During walks in the beautiful scenery of Asturias and in wonderful walking weather, John, Paul and Zoe had excellent views of Egyptian and griffon vultures along with birds which included nuthatch and red-billed chough. John captured some footage of a short-toed eagle on video, just losing the bird when it gathered speed to swoop down and snatch a snake right in front of them!





Here we can see the Egyptian vulture as it flew in the air close to Paul, Zoe and John's heads.




















 A roe deer with two young fawns was a lovely sight to watch and added to the good views of red deer and chamois which occurred each day in the stunning surroundings of this incredibly scenic area of Spain.









In September Olivier and Natalie from Switzerland found the views and wide vistas at the viewing areas very photogenic and they were delighted to capture much of this atmosphere in their tour photographs, in between watching wolves which showed every day of their tour!
















After a rewarding time at Villafafila spotting over thirty great bustards both in flight and on the ground, plus booted eagle, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, marsh harrier, hen harrier, Montague's harrier and common buzzard, the first wolf watch that evening offered an enjoyable time watching two wolves interacting with each other in superb evening light, to be capped by the sight and sound of a lone wolf throwing back its head and uttering a howl. An enchanting evening to begin their Watching for Wolves tour!




The views just kept coming each day for Olivier and Natalie as on the second day they first  watched five wolves and a young Bonelli's eagle, to be followed after a day of tracking and seeing much lupine evidence by a truly memorable evening watching  the progress of a female wolf  organising the six cubs of the pack to travel together to the river to drink.  All this was seen by us and was tremendous. The day visit to the Douro Gorge with its rugged beauty provided Olivier and Natalie with good views of black vulture and griffon vulture plus golden eagle and crag martins aplenty. The Roman settlement is being examined in an archaeological dig and this gave the viewpoint added meaning as the history of the area was being literally unearthed.


Later in September John and I were delighted to welcome Linda back on her fourth Watching for Wolves tour.






Each tour provides Linda with good wolf views plus the thrill of the stag rut, and yet there is always something and somewhere new to experience as well.







The sun sets on yet another successful evening's wolf watch.  Photo by Linda.

At the beginning of Linda's tour several griffon and black vultures plus ravens were noticed and sure enough it was not long before Linda and John were watching two wolves at a red deer kill.  As the vultures and ravens jostled hungrily and impatiently on the ground and in the trees while the kill was being devoured by two wolves to the background sound of the increasingly insistent stag rut, we knew we were watching a scene which had been enacted over centuries.
Here we watched the youngsters of the pack as they played and tussled  under the watchful gaze of a pack adult.


Linda was becoming increasing adept at her telescope skills and she was delighted to pick out a black vulture on the morning of 20th September plus being able to view six wolf cubs and two adults that morning too! The previous day John and Linda had found much evidence of otter activity by our village lake and they were amazed at the number of house martins clinging to the bridge soaking up the warmth and gaining strength before their autumnal migration.


The journey back to Asturias airport is a beautiful one and Linda appreciated the journey. Although it meant the end of her tour we could all look back on another most successful week of wonderful Iberian wolves in this most enthralling of regions.Margaret. Oct. 2017.



Thank you Linda for this photo...we so rarely get on the same shot together!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Newsletter June/July 2017

Newsletter June/July 2017.


The sweltering heat experienced during these summer months could have made wolf sightings even more difficult but on the contrary we have enjoyed some fantastic views recently, many of which John has put on the Facebook page almost as they happen!

Our first wolf sighting of June/July was on Monday 5th July with John spotting a wolf in the heather after noting the panic behaviour of two roe deer. The same viewpoint gave up excellent wolf views the next day, 6th June. Former clients and now firm friends, Ros and Terry, came to their adopted second home, the Sierra de la Culebra, mid-June for a month and the wolf sightings they enjoyed were indeed tremendous too. One large dark male wolf standing sniffing the air and then trotting across a freshly-cut field, his dark silhouette standing out against the yellow stubble, was a wonderful sight midway through their stay and this was capped by another good view of wolf plus five wild boar on their penultimate night in this area they have so grown to enjoy.

John with friends Ros and Terry.

The heat built up to temperatures in the upper thirties for Lynn's Watching for Wolves tour. Lynn was fascinated to experience this unique area of Spain as she works with grey wolves in captive situations in UK. Smoke from some tremendously damaging and indeed fatal forest fires in Portugal actually hampered viewing for our first wolf watch on 19th June but all the other watches were in much clearer conditions. I have recently been sent an article from The Telegraph quoting the convoluted argument being put forward by some French farmers that wolves are to blame for the forest fires in France this week; it professes via quite a circuitous route to eventually reach this conclusion. Even the most unbiased reader would surely think reason was being unduly stretched to blame this already much maligned species with the damage from such events which happen each year in such tinder-try, baking hot areas of forested Europe, with or without wolves.



During the wolf watches Lynn could enjoy good views of Egyptian vulture, many griffon vultures,  black kite, common buzzard, Montague's harrier, turtle dove, rock bunting, bee-eater and booted eagle.




Lynn found the walks around the local villages fascinating as she could experience the way the communities here live alongside this apex predator. Several wild boar were seen during the morning and evening watches along with regular red and roe deer sightings and Lynn also saw Iberian hare, rabbit, red fox and Iberian wall lizard.






At 08:45 on 23rd June Lynn got her scope onto a light-coloured shape, spotted fleetingly as it loped through the undergrowth.  Sightings of a light-coloured wolf, corroborated by video, in the same area as Linda's had been seen, suggest that she possibly had indeed seen her first wild Iberian wolf.







Vlad arrived from New South Wales, Australia and almost as his aircraft dropped down to land, so did the temperatures and there were some cold early morning watches for Vlad and John during the first half of his Watching for Wolves tour. But the cooler times reaped success with some excellent sightings of three wolves interacting for over 45 minutes on the morning of 30th June.


Good views of black vulture, Dartford warbler, bee-eater and dunnock all contributed to make this morning special.

That Friday was also memorable owing to the co-incidence of two Vladimirs discussing the respective merits of Czech beers in their native language while standing in the churchyard at Villardeciervos, as our client Vlad became acquainted with Vlad the village priest! Quite a surreal moment, and topped by a very special opportunity to photograph the local multiple storks' nests from the top of the church bell tower!

The previous day Vlad - our client not the priest -  had enjoyed his first ever sightings of great bustard, about 20 in total, along with booted eagle, lesser kestrel, marsh harrier, short-toed eagle and black kite plus the distressing sight of one mink inspecting and trying to protect the body of another mink which had obviously been recently run over by a vehicle. Rather bad luck in an area so empty of traffic.

Vlad enjoyed a pleasant hike in the hills around the local villages, spotting booted eagle and raven but generally just appreciating the ambiance of the whole area he had traveled so far to experience. During an atmospheric evening watch on 1st July, Vlad and John spent some time concentrating on a stag which seemed to indicate that wolf was present. After standing stock still staring at some ground ahead, the stag then turned, whereupon John noticed a wolf beginning to gain pace in the heather where the stag had been originally focusing. The stag needed no further prompting as it hurtled off into deeper undergrowth.





Wolf was seen by Vlad and John at 08:00 the next morning 2nd July and this was an excellent start of a full day with the visit over the border to Portugal offering sights of alpine swift, red-billed chough, griffin vulture and crag martin to name but a few, against stunning scenery. During some interesting day hikes, Vlad recorded this fresh wolf-scat and found an excellent wolf track by a pool where Iberian water frogs could be seen and heard.






The wolf sightings just kept happening - right up to the weekend watch on the last weekend of July with Tinette and her family from the Netherlands who were all able to enjoy their first views of Iberian wolf on three occasions during their first watch with John on 29th July.  As well as excellent wolf views they also were treated to good sightings of large wild boar, several red deer, bee-eater, black kite and Dartford warbler plus a close view of red squirrel



John and I enjoyed a wonderful time relaxing with family too during July when the calm atmosphere of this special part of Spain helped my daughter Eva complete her Master's dissertation and her twin brother Iain continued his run of exceptional good wildlife viewing with a fantastic morning watching a wolf stalk, chase and kill a roe deer in an unforgettable wildlife episode. Here the wolf can be seen dragging the prey.



The next morning we could watch the wolf returning to its kill to feed and then carry it away.



Interesting wildlife sights abound in this area every month. On 29th July, while walking near Linarejos after an excellent lunch, John and I were delighted to video this young gallipato, a type of salamander which is greatly under threat in several areas of Spain owing to the invasive presence of the American crayfish.  We appreciated the time spent watching this fascinating creature in a crystal clear pool hidden away in a secluded part of this peaceful valley and I am happy to share such a lucky view with you all here.


Friends from the Basque region, Ixi and Jon, arrived for the final weekend in July and could only manage one wolf watch which was interesting but without wolf. However their return journey delivered astounding views of a lone wolf against a stunning night skyand they were able to snap some shots from their car window one of which I reproduce below. Wherever you go, at whatever time of day or night, it is always an interesting journey here in the Sierra de la Culebra!

Margaret.

A lucky snapshot from the car window! Thanks to Ixi and Jon.