Sunday, May 09, 2010

Cats and wildlife

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It is a fact that La Pasera as a natural space has been affected and changed since we came to live here and introduced Gawber and Wentworth, our two cats. Both are very good hunters and there are many times we are presented with a variety of prizes such as lizards, shrews, slow worms, birds and mice to mention few. In spite of the changes imposed by the presence of predators such as the cats, we are experiencing an increase in the numbers and variety of wildlife that we find at La Pasera. We recently discovered tiny toads that are a good indicator that the garden is a good environment for them to reproduce. As the garden matures, the bird population is also becoming more visible. Generally speaking, Asturias is a region where you can hear a wealth of songbirds but they are often difficult to spot amongst the hedges and lush vegetation, however we are hearing and seeing many more birds than what we used to, especially since we created the wildlife pond.

With the cats, we have adopted a "no intervention" policy other than in very few cases. One example is the time when the cats were in the workshop and after noticing a young family of fledging blue tits we kept them there until the young birds had left the garden.
Another example was the other day when a beautiful green lizard was seen in the garden for the first time, unfortunately Gawber discovered it and would have had it if I have not picked it up and put safely away from his eager claws.

I was unable to take a photograph but the following day while on a short walk, I had the opportunity to take these photographs It seems the lizards were warming themselves with the residual heat from the stones when the weather suddenly changed and become overcast and cooler with the north wind. Since we have noticed the lizard is now resident in and around the pond area and bog garden.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Spring showers


Lately we are experiencing typical Spring, and variable weather with some hot and sunny days to contrast with others when we experience a drop in temperatures and some rain.
Today was one of the warm and cloudy days with passing light showers. I decided to have and afternoon walk. Armed with an umbrella, I made my way to the coast to sit for a while in my favourite spot on the cliffs. It is a while since I last was there - it was was very relaxing and peaceful to sit at the edge of the cliffs with such wonderful views, the sound of the crashing waves below me and no other soul around other than a small flock of sheep grazing nearby . As always, the views of the coast are very impressive from this vantage point and as you can appreciate from the following photographs the wild flowers and lichens on the limestone cliffs are wonderful at this time of the year.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Walking in Asturias 3


Asturias is a great walking area and there are many nice walks without setting off into the mountains or the Picos National Park. One of these walks is very near home and it starts in Ribadesella by Tito Bustillo caves with some wanderfull prehistoric cave paintings. The walk is locally known as "the water mills path". After leaving the car outside the caves, you walk along the river Sella and its estuary towards the nice village of Cueva which you can only access by walking or driving through a cave, about 200 m long, with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. As you cross the village, there are several horreos (Asturias wooden granaries on wooden or stone columns) and some traditional old houses for you to see. As you leave the village you pass an organic kiwi farm and start the beautiful walk up the river and along numerous water mills in different stages of disrepair.

The flora and fauna are abundant along the way. You may de lucky enough to see an otter along the river Sella, the raptors are easily spotted in the sky and there are deer and wild boar in the woods. The woodland wild flowers provide a colourful carpet if you do the walk in the Spring.
Eventually you reach the village of Tresmonte, with only an elderly couple living there, before you continue up a very quiet road to a viewing point with fabulous views of Ribadesella town, the river Sella´s estuary and the coast.