Winter City Parakeets

No one knows the origin of Barcelona’s parakeet population. Some say they were stowaways on boats arriving in Barcelona Port in the 1970’s, others say they’re descended from Barcelona Zoo or house pet escapees, or house pets released when the owners couldn’t deal with them anymore pre 2013 when it was legal to trade Monk and Collared parakeets, just 2 of the 4 types of ‘Spanish’ parakeets.

Some like me love watching a streak of green as they fly by, listening into their cheeky chatter, watching how they use roads as their own flight paths. Other people regard them as pests that have now travelled further outside the city ruining crops. Some say their nests are dangerous due to how much they weigh if they fell on someone. Barcelona isn’t the only city in Spain with parakeets. Madrid and Valencia are just a few Spanish cites with their own populations. 

To be honest, they’re pretty kinda cool birds, happy to share with the pigeons, sparrow, starlings and blackbirds for snacks. The other day I think Parc de la Ciutadella had been closed for most of the day. Only one entrance gate open with a temporally closed sign everybody was ignoring. I had bread for the ducks, my new thing with the covid restrictions so I get my bike ride to a green place which I’m aiming to still do now restrictions are slowing being eased. I wasn’t going to go seeing all the people, but thought the ducks and geese would be extra hungry without their usual snack feeders, which I‘m not one as you can tell the ones that are. A few parakeets lined the pond railing waiting for bread pieces so nobody got fed much that day. Even the seagulls were out hungry. Knowing they wouldn’t stand a chance with pigeons that also wanted in, I placed a few pieces on the railing. Some almost took a piece out my hand, others a little more shy waiting until I wasn’t looking. While I like feeding the ducks and geese, parakeets accepting my bread made me feel extra special! Now the zoo’s back open I’ve been seeing them more relaxed than in the park. Less people around, more trees to nest in. Seeing them too as I cycle flying along streets and ramblas with twigs twice as long as them up into the trees for their nests. That flash of green and cheeky squark lights up my day 🙂

Snacks!

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!

Continue reading “City Wildlife #2”

Parc de la Ciutadella #2

Back in June I shared photos from my morning phasing out of lockdown time slotted freedom bike rides to Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona’s most famous city park and my favourite park.

When the lockdown down ended, my gym still wasn’t open. To make up the distance there and back and to get some greenery and wildlife I cycled to the park after the beach in the afternoons (afternoon in Spain ends around 8-9pm)/early evenings. When my gym, climbing gym and zoo reopened I tried to make the park a few times a week. While I miss the quietness of the mornings the park’s back to being less busy in the afternoons now everybody’s at the beach, work or still staying at home. The early evenings during lockdown freedom hours it was the bar and pub replacement local hangout. It has now a different kind of quietness to the mornings. Ducks and geese are getting ready to nap with the water less busy. I’ve only just learnt ducks can sleep on the water, head tucked under a wing and are diurnal being active at night. I’ve even seen some rats climb up and run along railings.

Last morning lockdown ride to the park

Sadly the nights are getting shorter and soon my rides to the park becoming less as gyms have reopened after the 2nd lockdown (recommended to stay at home) ended. I still try to get there once a week to cycle around now around dusk for greenery, hearing birds sing, watching the ducks and geese, cycling with the bats (yep, nerdy!). Beach is first if I can get there before the sun sinks behind buildings. I can’t go before 15.30 even at the weekends as the sun’s too strong. I’ve now started snorkelling (In the sea, not in this mini lake! I’d get arrested! I wouldn’t want to anyway. It gets so dirty they have to empty it every now and then and refill). I get to see what the ducks, seagulls, cormorants see when they dive.

Most of the photos were taken in June and July when the light was nice and bright and of the boating lake. I used to like watching out for the ducklings checking the Mamas didn’t loose any. I don’t think they did! As usual, I’m a sh*t editor posting way too many photos. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Parc de la Ciutadella #2”

Mr AJ aka Angelous

Today would have been Mr AJ aka Angelous’s 18th birthday. It’s been a year and 3 months since he crossed the rainbow bridge and you’d think I’d be okay. The tears still flow. I miss that boy. I miss his brother Diesel or D just as equally and as much.

AJ was the runt of the litter but he was a huge cat. 7kg. A colleague at work asked if we’d like a kitten. I was against it as I knew it’d would be a lot of work. P was yes. End of June we picked him up. I think his dad was a rolling stone, all black. His mama was a slender ginger and white cute little thing. He fitted in the palm of my hands coming back in the car. A year later he was massive!

His first 3 years were spent in London. He always wanted to be outside. He worked out how to open the back door climbing on top of the old spin dryer my Mum got me. We had foxes at the end of the garden in an old shed I swear he was friends with. Some nights he wouldn’t come back no matter how much I called for him. The following morning opening the back door, he’d sprint down the path from the shed to walk inside like nothing happened scary that night. I remember one snowy evening looking out from upstairs along the line of terraced garden fences. There was a fox going under the gaps under the fences with AJ hot on his tail jumping them!

I gave up on collars with him. Every other week for about 4 months I was buying one. He’d come back with it missing. I gave up and let him be collarless. The same expression all grown up!

Right from the start he was never a lap cat. He never sat voluntarily on my lap. But that wasn’t to say I was not his. I remember the first evening I knew I was his hoomin. I’d let him in one night and carried on with what I was doing writing my list. He wouldn’t stop pawing at my pen. I looked at him and he had some other cats ‘dead skin’ claw by his eye! He knew who to ask to help! The first time I was ill with him around, he slept by my side when he could have gone out. He once gave me a present of a half alive massive spider all proud. I screamed and he never gave me presents again! 

Well, he did. One brunch he decided the litter tray wasn’t clean and started to scrabble around in the paper recycling. We were WTF’s he doing. A big poo!!! He fell down the toilet too. I was outside in the garden and heard a crash. Thought nothing of it or a slightly wet cat until I went to use the toilet and found water around it. He loved to balance on the x shaped washing line and run along fences. 

He never slept on the bed in London apart from when you were ill or out.  He preferred a chair. He got the 3 year old tom crystals in his bladder. He hid it until it was almost too late. He had to stay in cat hospital for a week. I went to visit him and left a confused cat. But I think he understood. He understood a lot of situations. Mama upset, unhappy or crying, a gentle head butt and walk around me. He did that until his later years when he let D take over. I think he was himself in too much pain which I didn’t see. He was also a cat flu carrier but that didn’t stop him. He had 2 bouts of it came out fine.

His, it’s hot pose

Just before moving to Spain, he made a friend with next doors cat. He’d let her in the house and I’d find them snuggling on the sofa! She use to make a run for it, but I knew he liked her! He had an issue peeing on the hall rug I think a seagrass rug. I don’t know if he was marking his territory or he though the rug was better as litter rug. 

The day the pet courier can to take him for Spain was the worst. The noise he made as the guy put him in the box a cry I’ll never forget. Confusion and a look on his face what you doing to me? I’ve done nothing wrong! We had no time to say goodbye, no it’ll be okay. 2 days later after I arrived in Spain I went to pick him up from the airport. He came in his new big box on the back of a forklift truck like nothing happened! 

He hid for a while in the new place until the boxes arrived from London. He settled as they smelt right. He help me unpack getting in all the boxes. He found hiding places up in the kitchen cupboards from the vacuum. 

I knew he was missing his girlfriend so we decided to get another cat, Mr D! I swear he knew. The night before he sat next to me on the sofa arm by my head. Something he never did. Continue reading “Mr AJ aka Angelous”

Early Spring

While many of us are watching spring from our windows this year and celebrated the official first day of spring inside, nature doesn’t do dates. She does arrivals. Spring started saying hello at the end of February back when we were allowed out in freedom. While summer holds a place in my heart as my favourite season, spring is very close second by a fraction. Watching everything wake up after winter gives a warm feeling of longer warmer days ahead.

The sun come the end of winter has a warmth to it. The light’s bright, trees start getting dressed, people and animals start to hang out more in the sunshine thanks to the longer days. Finding a sunny sheltered spot out of the wind is heaven! Anyways, early spring photos at the zoo and running errands. Apologies if there’s too many or if you’ve seen here them before.

Cherry blossom’s always spring. This is all the blossom I saw this yearThe same for Jasmine one of my favourite flowers and scents. All the jasmine I saw this year Plane trees starting to get dressed while shedding seed pods. Continue reading “Early Spring”