Summer 2021 Project Under The Med Sea. Late Spring May – Mid June

All this summer as much as I can I’ve been visiting a magical world. A world I discovered last year on holiday in Mallorca. A world whose outer bubble I see everyday but never give much thought what’s under the surface. A world I’ve only glimpsed at in photos. A world all winter I couldn’t wait to visit as summer came. A world that holds so much allure and mystery humans still haven’t explored perhaps even 1/3 of it. 

Almost every week I’ve snorkelled with a cloud of baby fish. One week they’re super tiny, the next almost teenagers

It started with P wanting me to snorkel. Mallorca is perhaps one of the best places in the Western Mediterranean to snorkel. In the summer the waters are warm, clear and rocky. Rocks perfect for fish, warm and clear perfect for humans to visit without having to suit up. Back in Barcelona I got little sad. I didn’t think I could snorkel or visit under the sea until the following summer. It’s a city beach, there’s not going to be anything hanging around in the water. That changed the day I saw a flash of silver treading water. The next day I took my googles and snorkel. A few days later so P and others would believe me there’s fish along the city beaches his old Go Pro. The Go Pro turned into an Olympus Tough 6 with this year since about late May as often as I can I’ve been in the water visiting the city fish. It might not be the best, clearest waters however it’s world I feel’s secret as few snorkel where I go. That’s changed a bit this year as Decathlon opened up in a local mall with easy access to snorkels more have been visiting, but I think most on the beach think I’m crazy. 

My friends! Saddled Sea Breams

I always believe salt water cures almost anything. Having a bad day, it’s too hot, having a good day, that cooling hug it gives as you take dip makes you forget about everything. When I watch the fish just be, everything slips away. The sea and it’s inhabitants don’t know about how your day’s been, how’s your week’s been, they don’t care if you’re happy or sad. They’re just going about eating, trying not to be prey, hunting, just being. In a crazy way I’ve made friends with a few. Okay maybe not friends, but they always say hi if they’re around. Saddled sea breams are known to be friendly but are probably just checking me out. From visiting almost daily for about 3 months I feel kinda protective of them and the rest of the fish I’ve seen travelling this summer. They don’t know about what’s happening outside of where they live. They might be noticing climate change, they might not be. They haven’t got a voice to fight back to say help like land animals can (maybe Orcas are as they’re the oceans bullies. One rogue pod has been attacking boats in the Med and Atlantic. El Pais in English who first reported it. BBC article). I don’t have to tell you their habitats are changing. For most they’ll only do something when there’s nearly no fish to eat.

Sunken treasure! A Barcelona street paving tile. As I more of less snorkel in the same area I recognise the rocks but I’ve never found this tile again

The below photos are from late May to mid June. I’d had the camera all winter only to test it out 2 minutes before going in. It’s point and shoot right? Nope. There’s a little more to it Nat hence the bad photography and for now they’re jpegs. The sea bottom back in May and June had a lot of seaweed/plants growing. Now in August there’s more peacock’s tail. Yep I got a Mediterranean marine ID book 🤓 And yes I spook myself out when the visibility’s low. When I didn’t know what was just beneath the shoreline when I swam or treaded water I didn’t freak out much. Now I know what’s under there, for every big fish, there’s an even bigger fish…

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Bumble Bees

No surprise my Easter weekend was spent taking advantage of being able to go to the zoo a few times. I could have caught the train or gone someplace else, but no where is as green tropical green, filled with wild birds that are more used to humans to pose and is free. Free for me being a member*.

One of my favourite insects were out too, bumble bees. I like bumble bees. They happily ignore everything around them apart from flowers. By design unlike honey bees, they shouldn’t be able to fly, yet they do. Happily flying flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen, pollinating plants. Growing up I used to see loads of bumbles bees, now living in a city seeing them makes me feel warm inside. Unlike honey bees, they live in a smaller colonies. Sadly like honey bees, their populations are in decline due to pesticides, habitat loss and climate change. No bees, no human food. Bees do about 80% of pollination work on cultivated crops. No human or machine can replace their work! It’s estimated without bees humans would be able to survive just 4 years. 

Reading up this could have been a queen. In the autumn fall most of the bumbles bees die leaving only the queen hibernating until the spring

There are ways you can help these gentle giants by planting wild flowers, native flowers or bee friendly flowers in gardens or on balconies. It might not be much, bumble bees might not even come, but other pollinators will. Choosing food if possible with less pesticides so the demand for reduced pesticide food goes up and prices to the consumer down, using less or even better no pesticides gardening. Buy organic food if you can (and help the price of organic food go down!) as they usually use less pesticides. Being mindful of what type of honey you buy. Some honey the bees aren’t kept in good conditions. Support local beekeepers, build homes for native bees, put out a bee bath, plant trees in gardens for bees to rest in! More ideas here

* My views on zoo’s here.

Flamingos, Calpe

I can’t believe I haven’t shared before seeing wild flamingos from a few years ago! Real life flamingos not zoo flamingos. 

This flock lives on an old Roman salt mine now a lagoon, Las Salines de Calpe a Nature Park and Reserve in Calpe, Alicante, Spain. I was surprised that weren’t as pink as I’d thought they be and by how much larger and taller they were than the ones at Barcelona Zoo. Their necks appear longer than the American and Chilean flamingos at the zoo. Sometimes I feel sad for the ones at the zoo. Their flight feathers are removed and when they try to get air I feel bad for them. It’s always different to see them free. I have spilt views on zoos here.

Please excuse the quality of the photos. They were taken a few years ago before I understood more depth of field, light etc. 

Only handful were pink. Maybe they knew the best brine shrimp, algae and larvae spots!

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City Wildlife #2

I started watching on Netflix this week a documentary film Chasing Coral. Chasing coral to witness its death. Out of sight out of mind is how the documentary describes how most people see under the oceans and seas and they want this to change. The oceans and seas are taking a massive hit from climate change by absorbing the heat trapped in our atmosphere from rising CO2 levels mostly due from burning fossil fuels. If they didn’t our surface temperature would be unbearable. The corals are the first to take the hit with bleaching as sea temperatures rise due to the heat absorption.

The bleaching occurs when the coral dies leaving only a white skeleton behind. Shortly after algae takes over leaving an underwater wispy moss like mound of shapes. If the water coral live in goes up by 2 degrees they die in mass coral bleaching. The fish which live in the coral die, people who depend on the corals are out of work. About 500 million people depend on coral reefs for food and work. I won’t lie, I cried at the corals dying in the time lapses. The magical, mysterious underwater cities gone in a few weeks or even a few days.

It’s not just corals under threat from climate change. All animals, insects, fish, crops are under threat from climate change. Even butterflies you see in the summer to birds you hear singing out. Some will adapt and thrive, others won’t survive. It’s not too late to save those we can. Little acts make a bigger impact. This winter you can set the heating not as high or the air con as low if winter is your summer. Imagine a world without polar bears who have less sea ice every year or a world without penguins, lions, elephants or parrots. It’s morbid, but it’s happening. I’m nerdy and geeky with animals. They make me smile minus the killing they do. Seeing butterflies and dragonflies make me smile, even the mice and rats who sprint across the path in front of me at night while I’m cycling make me smile.

Anyways August wildlife mostly spotted as the zoo, Parc de la Ciutadella or on holiday in Mallorca.

Mallorca sea ducks

Ducks I learnt this year sleep while floating, head tucked under a wing, are semi nocturnal and can swim in both fresh and salt water!

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World Wildlife Day

Happy World Wildlife Day!

In honour of World Wildlife Day some of my favourite wildlife photos taken this year! Can I go back to Hawaii and California please?! Seriously though, the UN’s World Wildlife Day is to raise awareness to help conserve our biodiversity. Everything is connected making Earth stable no matter how big or small. Nature likes balance and without wildlife our world would be turned upside down for the roles they play. Every little thing we can do to help conserve wild fauna and flora no matter how small. Our planet is filled with beautiful treasures if you take time to look or just be patient to see what will say hi 🙂

DSCF9394Blackbird drying off after a bath! Continue reading “World Wildlife Day”