viernes, 20 de febrero de 2015

Endangered species

I know virtually nothing about birds.  Growing up in New England, our garden was always riddled with robins and an odd blue jay or cardinal, but that's about it.  I never even paid attention to birds of prey until I met my husband.  He's the type of person who will stop the car in the middle of nowhere and whip out the binoculars, sticking his head out the window to gaze upwards as other vehicles speed by.  When we were dating, he took me on a trip to Spain's Monfragüe National Park to go vulture watching.  Hundreds of buitres leonados (griffon vultures) flying overhead... every girl's dream.

Since we moved to LaMancha, however, I've become increasingly interested in the local flora and fauna, and our living room balcony is often the perfect perch (the kestrel living there thinks so, too).  While I have come to appreciate these creatures, I still have a hard time identifying them.  I rely on a Spanish gardening website for identifications, and today I've had quite a surprise.

The photos are not the best quality as it was not a clear day, but here we have two endangered species!

Águila Real (left) and Águila Imperial (right)

Love this photo of the Imperial eagle.  There are some 280 pairs left on the Iberian peninsula.

Have you identified any endangered species in your neck of the woods?

viernes, 13 de febrero de 2015

Carnaval, La Mancha Style!

Yes, it has been quite a while since my last post.  If you know me, then you know I have been very busy lately.  More on that in another post... (oh, the suspense!)

The garden right now is just like a Spanish winter - dull, grey, and without a speck of snow to make it photo-worthy.  I've just started pruning roses this week, and I still have quite a way to go.  It's always a daunting task.

When February rolls around, there is always Carnaval to look forward to.  I am not a big fan of Carnaval or Mardi Gras myself, but the kids always seem to have fun.  Certain parts of Spain are quite famous for their Carnaval costume competitions, like in the Canary Islands, or the satirical chirigota song groups in Cádiz.  Here in rural LaMancha, schools have little parades around town, and the children dress in homemade costumes.  Our local school always chooses a theme, and this year it was Don Quixote de LaMancha!

The fifth and sixth-graders were windmills, and the teacher dressed as Dulcinea.

Third and fourth-graders dressed as Don Quixote.

First and second-graders were Sancho Panza.

But it was the preschool group that stole the show!

The sweetest little Miguel de Cervantes ever, complete with quill! 

 Not bad for a four-room schoolhouse in rural Spain!  

 How do you celebrate carnaval?