Autumn and Spring in January: Mushrooms, berries, blossom and birdsong.

This close up could be useful for the course on botanical illustration but as yet we cannot name the beauty that is that berry!

The Finca has so many of these beautiful blue berries and they glisten in the rain and mist.However, one of the bushes was discovered with one flower beginning to blossom. See picture below. So even,on the Finca we can find signs of Autumn,Winter and Spring together! We finally discovered the name of this shrub Viburnum Tinus or more commonly Laurustinus.  Then in one of our old English newspapers we came across a lovely picture of the garden variety. It has been harder to discover the variety of mushroom but it does bear a resemblance to ones that are referred to as hallucinogenic and toxic in our Spanish Mushroom book! Very mixed weather patterns at present but not that cold.

Viburnum Tinus with the first flower seen January 28th:some berries can still be seen behind flower.
Viburnum Tinus with the first flower seen January 28th:some berries can still be seen behind flower.

Our trip to the Algarve, 100 miles away but down from our 720 metres in the Sierra to sea level,  showed that Spring is in the air. Very warm and even hot in the sun with the almond blossom, bees and birds all very busy. I will feature pictures of Portugal later as I will create a new page for our observations there and along the Ria Formosa. On the road down we did see evidence of Storks in nests and flying around. Possibly just arriving to nest. Apologies for no pics of the storks yet. Might need to update camera for that!

Meet the chestnuts: Part 1- January 2014

My first project this January is to survey all the chestnuts  on the Finca. The majority of these were planted in orchards over 100 to 200 years ago. In order to start the process I have decided to name the different parts of the Finca: Navasola East, Navasola Central, and Navasola West. Some might  prefer more romantic names rather than similarities to Hounslow on the Piccadilly Line! However, this has worked for me as I have now explored and counted all the major chestnuts of Navasola East.

Let’s meet some of these elderly but prolific producers of chestnuts.
HereAncient chestnut trunks  are some of the ancient trees or ancianos in Spanish in the field referred to as la parcela afuera de la cancela.  This is the plot of land just  outside the main gate. Many of the trees have had branches fall this winter. In the past the trees  would have been managed but in the latter part of the 20 th century  have been neglected and it is now a task for us to decide how to continue. However, the trees do their best to survive inclement weather and  produce new growth.

Many branches have fallen from these elderly chestnuts but new ones spring up too.
Many branches have fallen from these elderly chestnuts but new ones spring up too.

Each tree has a different shape and quality and sometimes very clear facial features! More of these later………. The trees can be of varying heights but many are squat with more spindly crowns of branches reaching for the sky.  In January, without the leaves, the shapes are  fascinating, and the trees create a stillness as all is sleeping within, dormant but getting ready for the spring. From May to December the trees work hard and for their age  still produce an abundance of chestnuts. The trees work to survive  and will produce new growth from what sometimes seems to be a trunk that has rotted away on the inside. More on the chestnuts of Navasola  in future  posts.


Welcome to Navasola Nature . Navasola is a small U shaped woodland valley in the Sierra Aracena, about an hour from Seville, towards the Portuguese border. The nature part of the blog is part of our aim to help us all connect more with the natural world, both scientifically, and spiritually.

This year 2014 is the beginning of a personal journey to live more closely with the world of nature. I hope to observe the changing seasons, month by month with observations and reflections.