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,…

April 26, 2017
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Star Parties

Sheila Crosby setting up a telescope at Puerto Naos,
April 22, 2017

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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10th Anniversary of the Starlight Declaration

April 14, 2017

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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The Seer’s Stone

March 29, 2017

Twelve adventures for children under La Palma’s amazing starry sky. by Sheila Crosby (Children’s fiction, paperback, 148 pages, A5) Take a journey through La Palma’s turbulent past, into its present and out into the exciting future. Chedey will tell you how his world collapsed when the Spanish conquered the Island in 1493, Althay will explain what happened when the volcano erupted, Daida shares her visit from an extraterrestrial and Leyre…

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Palmeran Sow Thistles (Sonchus palmensis)

Sow thistles look rather like a dandelion gone ballistic. That is, the individual flowers look much like dandelions, but they’re growing on a shrub anything up to 2 m (6 ft) tall. And now they’re flowing all over the island, especially on the east, up to about 1,000 ft. Like so many other plants here, La Palma has a different species from everywhere else – Sonchus palmensis. The local names…

March 27, 2017
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San Jose Wheelbarrow Race

March 18, 2017

San Jose is Spanish for St Joseph, and St Joseph was Jeses’s earthly father, so Spanish father’s day is held on St Joseph’s day (March 17th) and the village of San José has a fiesta. On the Sunday after the 17th, they have a wheelbarrow race. Each couple gets timed as they hop in sacks to the wheelbarrows; …slalom to the first stand where they put lipstick on each other…

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