Ravens on La Palma

October 4, 2017

Common Ravens live all over Europe, Asia and North America, but we have a different sub-species here. Some biologists group our raven in with the North African sub-species (Corvus corax tingitanus) and others think the Canaries have their own sub-species (Corvus corax canariensis). Like other members of the rook-and-crow family, they’ll eat whatever’s available: carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste. And they’re pretty intelligent about…

Read More >>

The Herschell dome motor

Lifting the dome shutter motor back onto the WHT, Roque de Los Muchachos observatory, La Palma island, Canaries
September 14, 2017

Today I was photographing the MAGIC when I saw a big crane beside the William Herschel Telescope. Of course I went up to look, and found the engineers were winching the dome shutter back into position after repairs. Of course it took some time. As you can see in the last photo, the motor is pretty big and heavy. I don’t know what the shutter weighs, but the rotating part…

Read More >>

La Zarza Rock Carvings

August 14, 2017

One of the best archaeological sites on La Palma is La Zarza and La Zarzita, in Garafía. You have to walk, but it’s a beautiful stroll through woods of heather and bayberry trees. Yes, heather is a tree here – see the top photo. The whole walk takes about an hour, and first bit of the path is the steepest. It’s clearly signposted. You reach La Zarza first. Here there…

Read More >>

San Antonio del Monte 2017

June 9, 2017

This weekend San Antonio del Monte in Garafía will hold the biggest livestock fair on the island. San Antonio del Monte used to be a village, but the villagers moved away. About the only thing that’s left is the church of St. Anthony and the feast day, with it’s massive fair. Apart from the animals, there’s a craft fair, and of course lots of stalls selling cheap toys, food and…

Read More >>

Archaeology at the Roque de los Muchachos

A spiral rock carving, Roque de los Muchachos, Garafia, La Palma
April 17, 2017

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…

Read More >>

Almond blossom

Almond blossom around an old barn with a dragon tree. Garafia, La Palma island
January 31, 2017

The north-west of the island is home to great many almond trees, and at this time of the year, they’re all blossoming. The trees in El Paso and Garafía are beautiful, but the best display of all is at Puntagorda. In places, the whole hillside turns pale pink. In fact Puntagorda hosts an annual almond blossom fiesta. The date varies — the Town Hall sets it a couple of weeks…

Read More >>