• The Seer’s Stone
  • The Dodo Dragon and other stories
  • About Sheila Crosby
  • A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

The Inauguration of the LST

  The Large Sized Telescope was inaugurated on Wednesday October 10th. I didn’t get chance to take many photos, because I was working. My part in the inauguration was to look after a group of 42 Japanese scientists and engineers for the day, showing them around GTC and the Roque before the speeches and ribbon cutting. The VIPs incuded Pedro Duque the science minister, and Takaaki Kajita Nobel Prize winner and director of…

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Wild Canary in a juniper tree, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma

Wild canaries

 For some time I’ve been trying to identify the birds twittering in a Canary Islands juniper tree (Juniperus cedrus) at the Roque. It’s been frustrating because although you can frequently hear a whole flock of them twittering, they tend to stay deep inside the tree and it’s very hard to catch a glimpse of one. It’s even harder to get a photograph in order to identify them. As you can…

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Strawberry tree, or Arbutus canariensis

Golden Apples

The Canary Islands Strawberry Tree, Arbutus canariensis, known in Spanish as madroño canario is a tree native to the Canary Islands. Surprisingly, it’s in the same family as heather. Well I was surprised. Heather leaves are tiny little needles, while strawberry trees have broad leaves. Tehre aer several growing outside the Caldera visitor centre. As you can see, the fruits are bright orange, and they look a lot like kumquats,…

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Little Perez's frog in the Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma

Wildlife in the Caldera

La Palma popped up out of the ocean only 3 million years ago, so the wildlife either flew here by itself, floated here by itself, or hitched a lift with humans. Consequently there are no bears or wolves or deer. For all that, there are some interesting insects in the Caldera. For example, there are the blue dragonflies, pictured above. They’re really quite common, although they zip around so fast…

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Montaña Quemada, El Paso, La Palma, Canary Islands

The Scenic route over the ridge

Los Llanos del Jable, with El Paso behind The main roads on La Palma form a rough figure 8, with the main east-west road being the LP2 from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos, through the tunnel. But whenever I’ve got time, I like to take the scenic route, the LP203. This winds up through the heather and bayberry forest, then pine forest, past the barbecue and picnic areas at Pared…

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La Glorieta square: Looking south, from the stage.

La Glorieta Square, El Paso

There’s a lovely little square at La Glorieta. The whole floor is covered in mosaics, as are the benches. The plants are all local ones. Most of the vertical walls are made from the local volcanic stone, as is the back of the little fountain of a mosaic chameleon. The whole lot was designed and made by a local artists, Luis Morerea . To get there take the road from…

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