Save the Pitas

Bea Eaters

Bee Eaters

We understand that the authorities want to destroy the agaves (pitas) in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata where I live because they regard them as an invasive species not indigenous to the area. Our local paper has an article about this today.
Opponents of this, including myself, see the agave as a symbol of the Parque Natural and Almeria. Also, I have observed that they play an important role in supporting local birdlife. When the stems of the pitas shoot up from their spiky leaves, they produce clusters of vivid yellow-green flowers. These attract hosts of insects which, in turn, attract birds. Even when the plants have died, the woody stems offer perches for birds in what is a semi-arid and mostly treeless zone. Birds which I have seen in agaves include bee eaters, little owls, shrikes, hoopoes and great spotted cuckoos.
My pastel painting of bee eaters perched on an agave in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata illustrates my point.

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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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6 Responses to Save the Pitas

  1. Moira McRae says:

    Lovely painting Margaret and totally agree with your comments.

  2. Nick Lloyd says:

    Totally agree, Margaret. Is it possible to buy a print of that wonderful painting?

  3. jeune01 says:

    Hello Judith

    Thought you might like to see Margaret’s pastel painting of the ‘pitas’ (I have to confess, I would not have been able to name this species!)

    Early morning for me – couldn’t sleep!!……….June

  4. Callum Macfarlane says:

    This takes me back to The Plymouth Pear Tree which grew on the old railway line into Truro docks, a path i walked often from county Hall & ending up at the Old Ale house !!!!

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