February 2022. The Long Short Month. The Second Half

The second half of February I used my mobile camera more than my camera. I’m not sure why. Maybe my camera was buried in my bag, maybe I didn’t want to seem like tourist. 

Sunrise seagull commute

Maybe I didn’t think the shot was worth my camera. I do that a lot only to later regret why I didn’t take it with my camera. My phone is just easier. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to get out my camera. Behind every photo however is a story. Be it basic as a reminder to go somewhere, a reference for later out shopping, evidence, the light, the scenery you wanted to capture forever. Even though most of the second half of February’s photos are from my mobile which in my eyes I can tell straight away they’re not as good, they have tales to tell. 

I have a thing for birds as they make me laugh and are free to do, come and go as they please
Sunbathing in the winter sun. Western Lowland Gorilla Barcelona Zoo
Seagull snacks

There are parts of Barcelona even now and then I re explore only to be reminded why I don’t go there very often. Maremàgnum Centro Comercial is one of them. A mall in Port Vell, that’s always had a weird vibe to it. Sadly this time when I went about 1/3 of the shops had closed down. I have always though liked walking around wharf side. One of my favourite views of Barcelona is the row of buildings along Passeig de Colom looking from the port.

Some of the buildings along Passeig de Colom. The one with the 2 towers is the most fanciest post office in all the lands! Correos Via Laietana. The inside has frescos and a huge glass dome roof!

Every year the boating lake in Parc de la Ciutadella gets drained for maintenance. Last year someone released goldfish in the lake. You could see them flashing orange feeding the ducks. The seagulls as the boating lake drained, were going crazy fighting mid air for fish. I think more goldfish died out of shock being dropped multiple times than being eaten. Some the gulls, black headed gulls I think were amazing divers. They jumped a little in the air to dive head first into the water only for the larger gulls to steal the fish.

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Project Light: Early-Mid January 2022

The first have of January was so sunny! That’s what I like about January. Within a week of the winter solstice you can notice the days being longer and the light changing. The promise of spring’s coming from the first week of winter! So much and so little can change within a week.

First quarter Wolf Moon
Somewhere near L’Esquirol, Vic, Catalunya

For New Year I got out the city! A little outing up to the Costa Brava for the night before heading to Monestir de Sant Pere de Casserres, an 11th century Benedictine monastery along the Riu Ter/Ter River. We didn’t go to the monastery, just the look out point, Mirador del Ter. Sadly the lookout point’s filled with rubbish from an abandoned restaurant. The path to the look out point’s a little confusing at first with overgrown pavements. Why an overgrown pavement so far away from the road along a dirt track? It all made sense at the now abandoned restaurant.

Punta de Sant Esteve, Palamos
Mirador de Ter with complete different flora to the coast a little over an hour away
Magpies

Back in the city where magpies, pigeons, ducks, wagtails, sparrows, seagulls. geese and parakeets/parrots rule the skies. Well maybe not the ducks and geese, but they rule the ponds in Parc de la Ciutadella.

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Light: December’s Winter 2021

December’s one of the hardest months for me. The days just get darker and darker, shorter and shorter. For some reason unless I’m outside after it gets dark, I shut down or just become a couch potato if I’m in after it gets dark. If I’m outside the house I have energy to do stuff. As soon as I get back all that energy and fire I have to do things when I get back literally goes as soon as I walk in the door. I grab snack, shut down. I’m forever working against to stop this. Next month’s book read’s Atomic Habits which I hoping will help break this habit. Well, that’s if I don’t crash before reading it 🙈

Common Waxbills

Honestly I don’t mind when winter finally arrives. I don’t like the cold, I like the days get longer. I can deal with that. That light the last month of the year as I mentioned in my previous Light Project post is amazing. While I b*tched about the zoo closing earlier it was actually a blessing in disguise. I got out earlier on the days I went so I got to spend more time outside and explore a bit afterwards or even get back earlier (to crash earlier!)! The zoo’s keeping the earlier closing hours until the end of March so I have loads to time to break my shut down habit. She says! 

Magpies. These are everywhere in the winter

Anyways, December’s winters light from the winter Solstice until 31st December.

Common Waxbills

I saw these birds in the summer at the zoo and never saw them again until now. They have like a Mask of Zorro bandits face/headband. They’re so tiny and noisy! After a little research they’re common waxbills native Sub Sahara which is ironic as I’ve only seen them in the Sahara exhibit! There are quite a few groups in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia in Spain.

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Winter City Birds

Happy Spring! 

Jackdaws

Catalunya’s finally easing up some covid-19 restrictions! We can now travel freely throughout all of Catalunya however only visiting other regions in Spain for work or exceptional conditions. Malls have reopened, chiringuitos beach bars, life guards are back for the summer season. Fingers crossed they don’t roll them back in a few weeks. Each Spanish region has been given powers to control the pandemic bar total home confinement, with the central government setting a curfew that’s been in place since October last year. It’s due to end the end of May but with numbers rising again, it’ll probably be in place until the end of the summer. 

Starling

Birds being as free as they are, are the lucky ones. They can come and go as they please. Only worrying about food and predators. Sometimes I wonder if people are mean to birds, killing them as they can come and go as they please as humans they can’t. They’re free to fly away from danger, they’re not subject to complex human cultures. Well the lucky ones are. Many kept for food, for sport in conditions no one would want to live in, seen as nothing more than money or a commodity (says she who would like another cat and in doing so to rescue one animal, many more will have to be killed to feed it) or persecuted for only trying to feed themselves by eating crops and plants. 

Birds, fill the skies with song, colour, pollinate plants, spread seeds, are landscapers, the clean up crews, kept wetlands in check, help play vital roles in natures delicate balance as all over their habits are shrinking due to deforestation and climate change. Did you know that veeries can predict if the Atlantic hurricane season is going to be bad just from the time they leave to migrate to Brazil (something I learnt from Netflix’s Connected)? A tiny bird can sense the weather months in advance. That’s some crazy mind blowing, amazing predictions that could be lost to climate change.

Anyway, some wild zoo birds this winter back in January and February. There’s no way I’d see them in the parks. I think they know they’re safe at the zoo (well not the pigeons the seagulls hunt). 

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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!