Geckos on La Palma

June 23, 2017

This is a gecko (Tarentola delalandii). Geckos are quite common in the warmer parts of La Palma. They like to live in warm buildings or on sunny walls outside, and this one lives in my house. I think he must have got too close to one of my cats because his tail’s regrowing. You see, if they’re in serious danger of being eaten, their tails come off and provide a…

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Wild canaries

Wild Canary in a juniper tree, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
October 22, 2016

 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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Ferrets on La Palma

April 6, 2016

Ferrets are a common pet here. They’re mostly used for hunting wild rabbits, which are plentiful. The trouble is that occasionally they escape. Since there are plenty of wild rabbits, they do rather well, so we also have a population of wild ferrets. In fact, in 2010 scientists found that La Palma was the island with the highest number of wild ferrets in the Canaries. The scientists say that, “the…

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Tame birds

June 21, 2015

  I’ve mentioned the tame Canary chaffinches at Los Tilos forest three years ago, but they’ve got much tamer since. They were coming right up to us (as long as we didn’t move suddenly) and they’ll even eat from the hand of one of the park rangers. I also saw two other birds. The common blackbird came for bread too. But the robin was much more cautious.

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Burr Marigolds

June 7, 2015

  My father was a botanist, so he really looked forward to his first trip to La Palma. One of the plants he most hoped to find were burr marigolds – Bidens alba. But he later said he was trying not to hope too much in case he was disappointed. That made me laugh, because they’re an extremely common roadside weed. In fact they’re a right nuisance for exactly the…

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Lepidoptera humunguous

  Today is the perfect day to go and find the larvae of Lepidoptera humunguous feeding beside the roadworks in Fuencaliente. Lepidoptra is the order of insects which includes moths and butterflies. I’ve never seen the cocoons, but I believe the adult form can sometimes be seen at the airport.

April 1, 2015
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