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The Wonderful Wildlife of Southern Spain
Seventy... seventy-one... seventy-two...
I am trying to count the griffon vultures as they glide effortlessly on their 2m. wingspan over the top of the mountains opposite my home.
Earlier I was checking the damage to our vegetable patch as the wild boar were here again last night and they seem to have taken a shine to my husband's carrots!
I glance up as I hear the screech of a Booted Eagle letting his mate know she has nothing to fear from the carrion eating vultures as their constant circling takes them further and further down the valley searching no doubt for some unfortunate Ibex or goat who tried one leap too many.
The wildlife here is phenomenal and the variety of birds seems never-ending. Last night we could hear the hooting of the European eagle owl at the valley bottom and at the same time were lulled back to sleep by the beautiful singing of a nightingale perched somewhere outside our bedroom window.
After living here for over 14 years I am still amazed by the diversity of wildlife. I am still in awe at the glimpse of a yellow flash through the undergrowth as a
golden oriole goes about its business. I love to watch the comic hoopoe hopping frantically about chasing insects and the sound that I can only describe as gunfire as the many varieties of woodpeckers seek out grubs. I am especially intrigued by the vast array of birds of prey soaring effortlesly over our home, many of which I still can't identify.
The setting is one of wooded valleys and majestic mountains with large swathes of wild flowers in the spring and many varieties of fruits and nuts in the summer, autumn and winter.
I find a net and remove an unwanted guest (a salamander) from the pool and then put on my bathers and have a dip.
Where is this paradise I hear you ask? Well it might surprise you to know that at the weekends I travel 20 minutes with my husband and all his Karaoke equipment to the bustling bars of the Costa del Sol where he works.
Yes, we live in Andalucia, the real Spain. Fewer people, less traffic and over 70% of all European wildlife - a veritable paradise indeed.
This article was written by Ruth Polak who is the owner of Costadelsol Vacation Rentals, a website specializing in holiday villas and apartments rural Andalucia.