Awake early to catch the morning sun entering the valley, first striking the mountain ridge above the far off white village of Algatocin, a rocky outcrop ignited a fierce red.
The growing light moves to engulf the villages on this east face as steam rises from the valley depths, like primordial wisps of cloud, burnt off by the sun as it gains its summer momentum.
Early morning brings with it the hammering of greater spotted wood peckers, cuckoo’s and cackling partridges.
Catch flashes of yellow amongst the canopy tops & hear the distinctive “weeliwoo” of the Golden Oriole’s, and the chattering of Bee Eaters on the wing.
The sun creeps on and the temperature rises, cicadas screech reaching fever pitch by mid day.
Take shade under a large cork oak, and view a scene from a spaghetti western as the huge Griffon Vultures circle high above on the days thermals.
Lizards dart on the dry leaf litter while giant ants busy themselves with leaves & insect highways.
The searing heat beats down by mid afternoon and the world takes refuge in shady spots to doze off that Spanish lunch.
Later, cool off with iced Mojitos as the western sun reluctantly creeps over the very same rocky outcrop it fiercely lit earlier that morning.
Bats move in to encircle the camp, working hard to clear the air of insects.
Dusk comes quickly now, its blanket of unknown changes the familiar, lights of the nearby villages twinkle and the night sky unleashes a blanket of stars.
By midnight the Milky Way rains down light from a million densely packed stars.
The forest by night is a very different place, the hoots of owls and barks of deer are heard above the gentle whistle of crickets.
If you’re lucky you might hear the rustle of wild boar snuffling close by, busy on their nightly earth worm excursions.
Dramatic evening autumn storms saturate the sun parched ground & unleash new life, fire salamanders with their distinct black & yellow dance in the rain, while baby toads that have been hiding out since spring hop about in seeming bewilderment.
Later come the fungi, spectacular variations & colours, from the deadly reds to the giant & delicious parasols reaching 30cm in diameter.
Rising clouds of steam through the valley give it a truly Oriental feel, breathtaking rainbows strike out huge arcs, while bolts of lightening thunder down overhead.
Here is a valley of seasonal contrast, hidden deep in the mountains of Andalucia.
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