Shelter in Calpe

A strong wind had both blown over a large and very heavy parasol on our veranda and had cleared the clods from the Vall de Pop.  Actually, from what we could see of the early morning weather map courtesy of Sky TV and the BBC, the wind had cleared the clouds from pretty much the whole of Spain. We awoke to my favourite colour skies: clear blue.

Unfortunately, not only was the wind strong but it was also quite cold, even though it seemed to contain a southerly component, so it felt a little biting. One of our friends in the valley reported that Calpe, quite close on the coast, was noticeably warmer so we headed off to find some shelter from the wind.

Fishing net repairs Given the strong, cold wind, this didn’t seem like a day for scaling heights so, rather than tackling the impressive climb up Calpe’s imposing Penon de Ifach, we began by contenting ourselves with a stroll around the fishing harbour. Several boats were in and many were making essential net repairs. Upon one, a couple of crew members appeared to be gutting fish over the stern. Bizarrely, I thought, there were no gulls scavenging the off-cuts.

As we walked around the base of the Penon de Ifach, I looked up and noticed a splash of red that seemed somewhat out of place at the foot what look like a reasonably shear cliff. Clearly, somebody didn’t share our view that today was not suitable for scaling heights; two rock climbers were setting of up to the top via the hard route. As our eyes became accustomed to looking at the detail of the rock face, we started spotting other groups of figures at various positions up what were clearly several different hard routes to the top. In all, about a dozen people obviously didn’t share our view concerning the most appropriate activities on such a day.

Flocking organic starlings While staring skywards, the gulls, which are always floating casually around the Penon de Ifach, even apparently when the fishing boats are discharging fishy tidbits just below, were joined by an organic flock of starlings. I say “organic” because the entire flock seems to move like a single organism, each individual bird being a cell within it. Occasionally a break-away group forms a smaller organism but often the whole flows back together again as they whirl and flash across the sky. It’s an impressive sight that, in England at least, is an autumn phenomenon.

Our last treat, though not one that we were close enough to photograph, were flamingoes on the lagoon in Calpe. We’d heard stories of its being home to these intriguing birds but had not seen any on our previous trips. Maybe we can find a route closer to their side of the lagoon for a more detailed look.

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