Geckos on La Palma

June 30, 2018

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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Portuguese Men o’ War

March 16, 2018

A Portuguese Man O’ War (Physalia physalis), isn’t a jellyfish, but it looks a lot like one. It’s actually something called a siphonophore,and it’s a collection of tiny animals living together. Another difference from jellyfish is that it’s got a gas-filled bag so that it floats. You occasionally see lots of the washed up on the beach after a storm. They can be blue, purple, pink or mauve, and they…

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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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Wildlife in the Caldera

Little Perez's frog in the Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
October 2, 2016

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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Los Tilos Waterfall

June 4, 2016

Canarian waterfalls aren’t common. There are lots of temporary waterfalls after heavy rain, but they tend to be very short-lived. But La Palma has two, pretty much year round. This one is in the Los Tilos biosphere reserve. From the visitor centre, you follow either the ravine or the water channel upstream. (If you follow the ravine, be prepared for some scrambling. If you follow the channel, bring a torch…

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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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