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!

Winter Ducks and Geese

Due to recent covid-19 restrictions in Cataluna, aka gyms closed, to get my bike ride that would have been to the gym I cycled to Parc Ciutadella to see the ducks.

Cataluna for most of January closed gyms, shopping malls, restricted bar and restaurant hours amongst other covid-19 measures. As infection levels are dropping in Cataluna they’re easing restrictions this week (although I’m sure this has something to do with Catalan elections next week). I’m just happy gyms have reopened. I don’t always have the same motivation to workout at home as I do going to a gym. I’m happy too I can indoor climb again! Sometimes it was dark, other times I made it out in daylight hours to the park. Most of the time the ducks and geese were around for snacks. I was happy the park was open and I’ll for sure continue to drop by to say hi to the ducks and feed them now gyms are open!

I started around the end of December taking bread to feed them and the geese. A few geese were so polite, making sure they got front row seats with gentle sweet tiny honks asking for more. Any ducks that got close they just did a neck sweep. The ducks make a ton noise swimming across the pond as if to tell everyone there’s bread. When they get close a few chase away others but I’ve noticed the younger females are a little timid (can tell by size) and swim away if it’s too busy. I make sure to throw bread in their direction. When the seagulls are around it get crazy. Seagulls have amazing vertical aerial take off skills, are up in the air as soon as you raise your hand. They seem to know exactly where the bread is going to land, loads diving down at the same time. Both the geese and ducks close their eyes and duck out of the way as if to avoid getting stabbed in the eye. As the seagulls are so quick you can kinda fool them for a moment to give the ducks and geese an opportunity for bread by raising your hand as if to throw in one direction which the seagulls follow and then throwing it in the other direction. This only works a few times as the seagulls learn quick. 

I swear the few times I visited the ducks without food, they bitched at each other she has nothing. Both the ducks and geese turned towards each other, swam away quacking as if to say, nothing this time, puh!

Continue reading “Winter Ducks and Geese”

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!

Continue reading “Flamingos, Calpe”

Weekend Friday Favourites

I hope you’re having a great weekend! I can’t believe that we’re half way through November! While I’m in a puffer jacket and only just started layering in the evenings a jumper underneath out, the cold hasn’t started here yet. In fact it’s still a little warmer than usual. November’s usually around 16C in BCN with this year midday temps 19-20C. I’m still running in shorts!

Mid autumn fall light

Anyway this week’s Weekend Friday Favourites, things that have made me smile or caught my eye recently. 

Light

One thing I do like and perhaps the only thing I like about the chiller shorter days is the light. If you’re wrapped up warm the light’s magical.

Halloween Eve Blue Hunter Full Moon Rise

Birds Song

Catalunya from 06.00 Friday to 06.00 Monday has placed municipal weekend confinements to slow the pace of Covid-19. We’re only allowed to leave said towns and villages for work, medical, essential shopping if we can’t get in it in the said town or village, exceptional travel reasons. However we can walk, run, cycle across municipals. Stores are still open. It’s actually in effect from Thursdays 22.00 as Spain is under a nation wide curfew from 23.00-06.00 with regions able to change it an hour each side. It’s a pain at the weekends more so as the Zoo reopened this weekend and I can’t go. I can cycle around it, not visit. Monday I can! Anyway a bonus is before traffic picks up Sunday mornings you can hear birds singing. 

Hanhan Official Scrunchies

A new store opened in the centre selling Miin Cosmetics. A new Miin store I didn’t know about?! It’s in fact Miin’s sister opening her own shop, Hanhan Official selling contemporary Asian costume jewellery and accessories as well a selection of Miin Cosmetics. The large jar of scrunchies at check out caught my eye. I needed to replace mine and was after ones that wouldn’t snag my hair. The material has to be smooth enough to do so without getting tangled up and pulling out hair. These looked perfect and they were. So much so I went back and got 2 more before they sold out! 

Continue reading “Weekend Friday Favourites”

City Wildlife #1

It’s no surprise on Instagram most accounts I follow are nature based. Lots of animals, rescue centres, shelters and organisations, landscapes, the seas and oceans. I get a little envious of golden misty foggy wood scenes as I grew up in the countryside. However I equally get envious, maybe more of beautiful seas and oceans waves and shorelines. 

Get that itch! Heron

This year when out, more so at the zoo I tried to take less non zoo resident photos otherwise my photos are almost the same repeat each week. I look for the light, parrots, ducks at the park, birds flying, trees, nature cityscapes while trying to avoid taking photos of humans. Sometimes I don’t mind humans in them. If I can I like the focus on nature. She’s the star of this planet. Anyways, wildlife from July at the Barcelona Zoo, at the park: Parc de la Ciutadella , in the city.

Wrong camera speed. Wherever Mama duck went, they went. It was so cute when they started diving with their bums sticking up out the water
I think a crane nesting above an enclosure
I watched him/her land on the leaf and as soon as I said thank you silently for letting me take their photo, it flew away
Ducks at dusk
Zoo cat
Zoo cat

This summer I saw so many butterflies! Colourful ones at the zoo. White ones while running along with dragonflies. A few moths too and hardly any mosquitos!!! I think mosquitos only bite me when they’re desperate however this year the apartment was almost free of them. That doesn’t mean I didn’t escape not being bit by bugs this summer. It’s almost as if the mosquitoes knew and let the other bug have its go. On holiday I got bite by a tick which got infected, ending up in ER as it wasn’t clearing up. The night before going in the skin around it started to swell up. The doctors were closed and I didn’t want to chance it over the weekend. A course of antibiotics cleared it up and I’ll be left once the redness has gone down another white patch of non pigmented skin to join the other assorted bites and cuts white patches.

Continue reading “City Wildlife #1”