It’s been an incredible few days in Gran Canaria with my son. We’ve laughed and smiled at so many great experiences. The people have been warm and friendly, the weather pleasant and the food exceptional.
I’ll hold these views in my heart forever and keep them ready, to recall them whenever life seems awful. Here’s Roque Bentayga with Mount Teide of Tenerife in the distance.
There are beautiful mountain villages to explore along impossibly narrow s-bend roads which cling to slopes amongst the forest. Here’s a wonderful green roof in Fontanales:
It’s an epic landscape of great grandeur, with evidence of the Earth’s troubled past everywhere. Volcanic peaks, deep, blue-shadowed ravines and tottering boulders perched precariously on endless cliffs surrounded us as we travelled roads small and smaller.
There were familiar species, like this Great Spotted Woodpecker, hidden in the canopy of a Canary Island Pine above:
There were species I’d seen before like this Slant-Headed Grasshopper. Can you see it?
They’re easier to see when they’re on your windscreen:
A quick stop in a passing or parking-place yielded tiny thrills. Here’s a selection of the long lichens similar to those I’ve seen on Dartmoor at Wistman’s Wood, together with an unexpected roadside foraging feast:
There’s another bird I’ve seen before; the Sardinian Warbler. This one’s a male. I’ve seen one in Italy where their name is Occhiocotto, which means ‘cooked-eye’. It’s a perfect name for them, if a little unromantic. Being an Italian name, it’s bound to reference food, isn’t it? The Spanish name is Curruca cabecinegra. Apart from negra meaning black I’m not sure of the etymology. Their scientific name is Sylvia melanocephala. Sylvia means ‘spirit of the woods’ and melanocephala means ‘black head’. It’s the black-headed spirit of the woods. A fine name:
Over coffee, which is better than English coffee and worse than Italian (but nothing is better than Italian coffee), we spot a decorative tree with beautiful fruit. I’ve been unable to identify it so far. It reminds me of a Cherimoya or Sour-sop. It’s so ripe it’s erupting with magenta-red seeds.
One bird I’d never seen before was the African Blue Tit. It’s a different species from the usual Blue Tit I’m used to. It’s Cyanistes teneriffae, subspecies hedwigii. It’s the photograph I’m most disappointed with from my whole trip. I’d have loved more time to track some through the Laurel forest and get one pleasantly posed in beautiful light. Oh well.
Hedwigii is such a great subspecies name, isn’t it?
There are butterflies here which I haven’t had time to photograph. I did get a nice view of this Painted Lady:
They never manage to survive the British winter. Here, that’s not so much of a problem.
Finally, here’s a domestic cat. It’s such a neat self-possessed animal and an incredible predator.
Gran Canaria, I’ll miss you.