Saturday, 27 March 2010

Last of Benidorm

Some will no doubt be pleased to hear that these will be the last of my pictures of Benidorm - for the time being!
A few more flowers to start with. The first is another familiar garden, summer bedding plant in Britain, which is to be found growing wild almost everywhere in Spain. Sweet Alison, or Alysum (Lobularia maritima) carpets this part of the country, especially near the coast - as the Latin name suggests.
Next, a larger shrub which is fairly common on the Mediterranean coast, looking like a soft-leaved version of Rosemary, this is a Germander called Teucrium pseudochamaepitys.
A bird now, and another common sight and sound in Spain. The Serin (Serinus serinus). This small, yellowish finch has the most fantastic song. Fast, high-pitched and squeaky, it has been described as sounding like glass splintering.
Next, another species new to me. The common or Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)is to be found in Britain, but I have never seen one here. In Benidorm however, there were many of them flitting around the pine trees on our way up the Sierra Helada.
This bird was a female and is rather less colourful than the male, but the main reason to be excited about this bird is the sight of it's extraordinary beak. Designed to extricate small pine seeds from the cones, it is crossed at the end so as to be able to prise the pine scales apart. Quite fascinating.
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