Burr Marigolds

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 same…

June 6, 2013
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The Partridge Family on La Palma

I’ve seen lots more partridges near the Roque de Los Muchachos than last year. They mostly seem to live in the higher reaches of the pine forest, where they wander out onto the road sometimes. Earlier in the summer, I often saw families which all disappeared into the bushes before I could get my camera out. That makes it all the nicer to have caught this family before they flew…

September 8, 2011
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The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re something…

August 10, 2011
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Burr Marigolds

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 same…

June 11, 2008
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Giant Lizards

Gallotia auaritae, the giant Palmeran lizard
February 16, 2008

  Yesterday I clean forgot that in December last year they found out that the giant Canarian lizard, Gallotia auaritae, isn’t extinct after all. José Antonio Mateo, a reptile expert, only found the one, but he believes there must be a colony within a kilometre of the one he found. In this case, “giant” means 30 cm (one foot) long. Extinct specimens are larger. Twenty-five years ago, they thought Gallotia…

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