Friday, April 15, 2011

The National Park of Monfragüe and Los Barruecos

Studies of Black Stork, Ciconia nigra
Graphite pencil on paper, 21 x 29'7 cm.

Last weekend, on the occasion of the opening of Cáceres exhibition, I seized the opportunity to visit the National Park of Monfragüe, a place of great environmental value and of easy access, so much so that the emblematic species of the Mediterranean forest I observed there could be seen from the road which goes through this open space.
Above these lines I show you the morphologic studies of a Black Stork which is incubating opposite "La Fresneda" observation deck. I stayed there for two hours and it only stood up once to turn over the eggs. Its partner didn´t show up.

There was another nest upper this one which offered a beautiful scene; a pity it wasn´t occupied.

Study of Griffon Vulture, Gyps fulvus
Graphite pencil on paper, 21 x 29'7 cm.

Further on, at La Portilla del Tiétar, I could watch a nervous chick of Eagle Owl, Bubo sp, and one of its parents. The cavity they use as home has a group of stones and vegetation like a balcony. It's very close to the Vulture colony at La Portilla. Here I could watch about twenty adult vultures, most of them in their nests, some of them incubating, others looking after their babies... and also some single individuals.
The resulting sketch, above this text, wasn´t as satisfactory as the ones made on the Black Stork at La Fresneda. It was a little bit difficult to concentrate on it as the visitors to the park (relatively quiet) were constantly wandering around because it was easier to watch the vultures breeding.

Studies of Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus
Graphite pencil and watercolour on paper, 21 x 29'7 cm.

The next day we went to the natural monument of Los Barruecos, in the nearby village of Malpartida de Cáceres.
Everyone who visits this place becomes fascinated with the huge granitic `domos´ and the several nests of White Storks, Ciconia sp, which topped them, ennobling them even more, but I was more attracted by the four couples of Great Crested Grebes swimming in the lake at the foot of the rocky rise. One of the couples was finishing its elaborate courtship but I could only see it once. The other couple, near the shore I was on, was breeding their chicks. I made some drawings studying the morphology of this slender and beautiful bird and then I began to think about making some bronze sculptures.
Without a doubt, a really satisfactory weekend which we´ll try to repeat shortly.