Returned from a field trip to Spain. Quite a shock returning to 9 degrees in England, from nearly a fortnight at 27 degrees with lovely bright, rejuvenating sunshine. I saw the wonderful golden orioles again (last seen in 2010 from which trip ‘Canoodling in the Loquats’ (Artist Code 1107) was designed and painted). Every morning, just before dawn they sweetly sang their song. By the end of the stay I had watched a pair building a nest from start to finish and been privy to their mating upon the nest. The day before leaving, the female was stoically sitting on the nest which was being buffeted and booted about by the wind and rain, but she stood her ground. I do hope they hatch and rear their eggs and young successfully. I was also in close contact with several wild tortoises of different sizes, four snakes (which I have not yet had time to identify) which were basking in the late afternoon sun when I disturbed them – three slinked away but one stood his ground and reared up for a ‘staring’ match, and the sweet, shy European Bee eaters – lovely colourful birds which look like stiff-winged, gliding aeroplanes as they swoop about catching insects. Whilst watching the bee eaters a great flock of swifts flew so close to me that I could feel their airstream against my head and face as they flew by, and could hear the gentle rushing sound of their wings. One magnificent blue roller was also spotted sitting on a telegraph wire, as well as a recumbent little owl which did wake me during the night sometimes, but was also very vociferous during the day. As well as a single, cooing turtle dove, several Hoopoes were seen. So all in all, this field trip was a wonderful experience. I also forgot to mention the many wild flowers around. Sadly I did not see the wild boar this time, mainly I think because, as everywhere, the area is becoming more built-up each year thus shrinking their roaming grounds and forcing them to move higher up the mountains to less populated areas.