Nature notes – 8th May

Scolia erythrocephala (the wasps)

The rather splendid purple thistles which grow around the house have recently come into flower and are attracting a great many interesting insects. The most striking of these are the giant scolia wasps – Scolia erythrocephala to be precise – which might alarm some but are in fact quite harmless. The females have orange heads and rusty-red wings tipped with iridescent blue. I never saw these wasps when we lived in Granada, but I understand that they are usually found in Valencia and, obviously, here in this part of Almeria.

Bee eaters on agave outside our home

The presence of so many insects is attracting bee eaters and all day long we can hear their trilling song and see them darting and swooping after flying insects.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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