Spring has definitely sprung now here in the Sierra de la Culebra from the first barn swallow seen at Cional on 3rd March through various sightings of golden eagle,great spotted cuckoo, hoopoe, grey and white wagtail, black kite, harriers and the sound of drumming from great spotted woodpeckers and persistent cuckoo calls.Cold, frosty morning watches have generally given way to warm, clear days, where meals are enjoyed al fresco watching our garden birds forget their inhibitions in attempts to be noticed by potential mates.
Reptiles are more noticeable now. John had his first ocellated lizard of the year last week.
The wolves have also been vocal this month as they fortify territorial rights and pack structure. March is when wolves mate here in the Sierra de la Culebra. I heard two wolves howling early one evening from my garden seat, and John caught this scene of tail wagging and pack interaction on video on 10th March. This was in an area where red deer have been showing recently in fantastic numbers; John counted 96 one morning this month, so plenty of prey evident here!
This Spring there seems to be an increase in numbers of roe deer in the reserve,with some splendid examples.
On one morning this month, John was able to record a lucky escape as a wolf trots down the track to eventually disappear into the heather ,but just watch as the video scans down to rest upon a red deer stag totally motionless in a successful attempt to be ignored.
Friend Roberto did not enjoy such pleasant weather as he was unlucky to be here during the coldest, dampest days of this month, but such privations were forgotten when,along with sister Bea and friends Agustin and Louis,they relished wonderful sights of four wolves on the morning of 19th March. These wolves provided lengthy sightings moving through the heather and indeed coming out into full view on the track.
Residents were excited to be able to view this wonderful fox at such close quarters. It regularly appears during dinner in the grounds of the hotel!
The weekend of 21st/22nd March was the annual Donkey Fair held in nearby San Vitero and the weather settled for the traditional walking of the boundaries. Everyone was in good spirits for this traditional welcome to Spring; infants, donkeys and visitors alike.
Last week, John had wolf sightings on four consecutive days, a pattern that will hopefully continue for the encroaching spring and summer!