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Strange Caterpillars

Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web. I’d never heard of caterpillars that make cobwebs before, but these do. Like many others caterpilars in the family of ermine moths, they form communal webs. I suppose it discourages birds from sticking their beaks in. My book on Canarian insects doesn’t mention them at all, but then they aren’t easy to find unless you know where to look. They live on the Canarian Willow,…

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Sheila Crosby setting up a telescope at Puerto Naos,

Star Parties

Last night there were star parties all over La Palma to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration, and each municipality turned off the streetlights near the star party from 10 pm to 11 pm. I took my new telescope to Puerto Naos and showed people Jupiter and its big moons, how to find the Pole Star, and which constellation is Orion. When the lights came back on at…

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A spiral rock carving, Roque de los Muchachos, Garafia, La Palma

Archaeology at the Roque de los Muchachos

For centuries, goatherds have brought their flocks to the Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point on the island of La Palma. As the lower pastures dried out in summer, they moved to fresh pastures on higher ground. These days, farmers can drive home for the night, but of course that wasn’t the case 50 years ago, much less 500 years ago. They came up some time in June, and…

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10th Anniversary of the Starlight Declaration

Next week will be the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration. Among other things, it says, An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity. Since the declaration was made on La Palma…

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Easter Processions in Santa Cruz de La Palma and Los Llanos

It’s Holy Week, and in this Catholic country, a lot of people take it very seriously. The bigger churches hold processions, which look very exotic to my English eyes. Do try to see at least one.   It’s not so much that they take the obviously-heavy statues along the street – most churches do that on the respective saint’s days. It’s the costumes. They remind me of the Klu Klux…

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The GR130 footpath from Jedey to San Nicolas, Los Llanos de Aridane

San Nicolas to Jedey

The GR 130 footpath goes right around the island between sea level and about 3,000 ft. Since the whole path is 150 km long, I’m walking along it in small, infrequent installments. Recently I hiked the part from San Nicolas to Jedey (and back, because I wasn’t organised enough to catch a bus). The beginning of the walk wasn’t too great because I had to walk through roadworks, but the…

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