Flora and Fauna in Almeria.
This spider is known as the Lobed Argiope (latin name: Argiope lobata) and is both pretty common in Andalucia and harmless.
Its 'sister' species is called the Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi) and although that has now got as far north as southern England, I don't think The Lobed has made its way further north than the Med.... yet!
(Thanks to J. Walsh for supplying the information about this little beauty).
Here is a little something that decided to drop into our apartment where we are living at the moment.
We know it's an Owl, but does anyone know what type of Owl? Sorry about poor quality pictures.
We have released it back into it's natural surroundings, after giving it a drink.
Well thanks to my boss we now know these little darlings are called cucows (I think it's spelt right) by the Spanish meaning ugly little owl, the superstition goes that if you find one of these on your window ledge or in your house, somebody in your family will die. Morbid hey.
They are actually called the small day owl and you can see them all over the place, usually perched on overhead wires.
They also known as the 'Little Owl' (Thanks J. Walsh).
These are called Processionary Caterpillars (Thaumetopoea Pityocampa) and are probably the most dangerous of the flora and fauna in Spain, if you see their nests in the pine trees, steer clear. Especially keep your children away.
You can see why they are called processionary, because they follow each other when they forage for food. They build their nests in the branches of pine trees which look just like a ball of cotton wool. We have been told the best way to eradicate them from a nest is to place a plastic bag over the nest, being very careful not to touch or disturb it. Tie the bag up and then cut the branch from the tree, open the bag slightly and spray WD40 on the nest and then set it on fire.
One of the staple forms of agriculture here is the growing of Olive trees. Producing olives for oil and for preserving.
Olives are usually picked anytime between the end of November through to the beginning of February.
the average tree can produce anything between 1 - 4 litres of oil per year, obviously this can be much more dependent upon the harvest..
Usually farmers gather the crops and take them to the local community press, whereupon the press will either pay for all your oil, take payment for pressing your olives from the oil it would produce or you can pay them for all the oil your olives would produce.
You don't necessarily get oil from your olives, unless you have a lot to be pressed.
Here are some of the more common wild flowers found Almeria:
Dwarf Convoluulus, Pink Convoluulus, Sea Lavender, Italian Sainfoin, Crown Daisy, Purple Vipors, Bugloss, Prickley Pear, Barbary Fig, Star Thistle, Wild Gladiolis, Broom, Spiny Broom, Honeysuckle, Sage, Grey leaved Cistus, Bishops weed, Milk Thistle.
The most common wild animals found in Almeria:
Doe Deer / Corzo
Muflon (Ovis musimon) This species was introduced, it is an ancestor of our domestic sheep and an acorn-loving creature of the sierra. In the autumn, males fight with their large horns to determine who will father the next generation.
Royal Owl / Buho bobo In the evening it is possible to hear the royal owl.
Almond trees (Prunus dulcis) are an important crop in Almeria. Their blossoms of pink and white brighten up the countryside in Spring. The nuts are ready to harvest at the beginning of September. Once harvested the farmers take them to the companies than strip them of their shells and sell them on to food manufacturers, either for food additives, whole as packet salted eating nuts or they crushed for their sought after oil.
The Carob tree Algarrobo (Ceratonia siliqua) grows all over Almeria and can be found almost anywhere on the campo near our house.
The Evergreen Oak / Encina (Quercus ilex) is found all over the Mediterranean and is quite common in and around Almeria. This is another tree that can be found whilst walking on the campo near our house.
Fig trees (Ficus carica) are very common in Almeria and are always seen in the gardens of the local Spanish. The fruit in my opinion are best frozen. Take them from the freezer, leave for 5 minutes and then eat with a teaspoon. It's just like eating a Fig sorbet.
Lemon / Limón (Citrus limon) trees are found throughout Almeria and are an important crop for the agricultural community. The tree is full of sharp thorns, so think again if you have young children.
The Orange / Naranjo (Citrus sinensis) tree is widely found throughout Almeria, just like the lemon tree it is very important to the agricultural community. The aromatic blossoms fill the air in April and November, yes they flower and fruit twice a year.
Prickly Pear Cactus