A bit about the blog and me
Noticing what is happening around me in the natural world has always been important to me and I am fascinated by what shares my space, or should that be who’s space I share? I love to write and to take photographs and have kept wildlife journals for years.
It doesn’t take much to please me, as you’ll see if you get around to reading anything I’ve written, practically everything in the natural world fascinates me and I believe is worth notice. To me there is no such thing as an ‘ordinary’ garden bird or a weed and I wouldn’t dream of squashing an insect or a spider on purpose, much to people’s horror sometimes, I have to say.
The main areas covered by the blog
I lived in Cadíz province, located in the far South of Spain for almost 11 years, from 2002 almost to the end of 2011. Two years were spent living on a hillside near Estepona with a glorious ‘wild garden’ populated with and visited by all manner of indigenous plants, birds and insects. Following that we moved to Sotogrande where there are a diversity of habitats to wander in.
Why the blog?
Since the day I knew we would be moving there from South Wales, I began to research as much as I could about the wildlife I hoped to encounter, but there’s just such an abundance and such a diverse variety of habitats to support it, I realised quickly I would have to wait and learn ‘in situ’.
I also realised quite early on that identifying what I was seeing was going to be a challenge too. There are some excellent identification books out there, but of necessity they tend to cover much wider areas than those I was interested in and at first I confused species, or thought I’d got them, then learnt they only grow in Corsica or Turkey! But over time and through hours spent wandering around my local areas I came to recognise the everyday and regularly occurring wildlife and started the blog to record my ‘finds’, both as a record for myself and to share with others on similar journeys of discovery.
I struggled to identify much of what I have come across, particularly when I first moved here, so I put together identification guides to some of the regularly encountered wildlife based on what I’ve discovered myself, which I will continue to update as I go through my photographs.
Ongoing aims for the blog
Sad to leave Spain, I decided to carry on with the blog to maintain a link with this amazing country that still holds a piece of my heart. Besides which, I have hundreds of photographs and years worths of journals to refer back to and what better way to keep the connection alive than to share them here?
I would like to present a different view of this particular part of Spain – it is truly beautiful and relatively unspoiled. Cadíz province alone is a vast and diverse area and information on where to go to see what you’re interested in is limited; for that reason I’d like to present anyone who visits, or intends to visit with some ideas about where to go to explore the wilder parts of the Cadíz area, and the best time to visit and what they might see, based on visits I’ve made myself.
About the blog name
We moved to our home in Sotogrande in the winter of 2004 and the following spring I began to hear a bird singing from the Cork Oak trees just a few metres away from my terrace. I was entranced but had no idea what it was. Soon afterwards, while out walking with some friends we heard a similar song and they immediately called ‘Nightingale’. I was delighted, as I had never heard one before and felt very privileged to have my own personal serenader so close to home. Now recognising the song I began to hear it frequently and in many of the places we walk, so Nightingale Trails seemed appropriate. (I am claiming a little ‘poetic licence’, as the birds are actually only here to breed from the end of March/April till June.)