Archive for May, 2009

Collserola: maquia ignites

Written by Lucy Brzoska

There’s a moment in every good firework display when, after a steady build-up, all the remaining ammunition gets simultaneously used up in a single relentless climax, leaving spectators gaping in awe.  That’s what’s happening on Collserola’s hill-sides at the moment.

From a distance you can already see the golden broom lighting up the slopes – Thorny (Calicotome spinosa) and Spanish (Spartium junceum). Honeysuckle (Lonicera implexa) weaves into the sky, inflated pink tentacles turning into white flowers. Lavender petals crinkle like crepe paper flames.  Rock roses fire off flowers faster than the fragile petals are shed.

All this exuberance has shrunk the paths and you brush your way through, smothered in fragrance and pollen.  A Southern white admiral (Limenitis reducta) was resting in the shade.  Like a magpie, it looks black and white in flight, but, depending on the light, can suddenly turn deep blue.

Painted Ladies streamed up the hill, as well as Marsh Fritillaries (Euphydryas aurinia), whose markings seem drawn by hand.

All this splendour has a soundtrack of nightingales, singing their extensive repertoire.  They stay undercover but don’t object if you stand near by and listen.

Collserola: guided walks