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Wild Spain . . .

Abel Chapman, Walter John Buck



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' TWO IBEX-HUNTERS. '



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WILD SPAIN

(ESPANA AGRESTE)
RECORDS OF

SPORT WITH RIFLE, ROD, AND GUN,
NATURAL HISTORY AND EXPLORATION



ABEL CHAPMAN, F.Z.S.

AUTHOR OF '* BLRD-LIFE OF THE BORDERS "
AND

WALTER J. BUCK, CM.Z.S., of Jerez



WITH 174 ILLUSTRATIONS, MOSTLY BY THE AUTHORS



LONDON
GURNEY AND JACKSON, i, PATERNOSTER ROW

(Successors to Mr. Van Voorst)
1893



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- lovdok:

PRI2TTED BY WOODFALL AUD KI2IDER,
70 TO 76, LONG ACRE, W.C.



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PREFACE.



In ** Wild Spain " we endeavour to describe a little-
known land from a point of view hitherto almost
unoccupied — that of the sportsman-naturalist. Many
books have been written on Spain — some very good
ones : but recent volumes chiefly confine themselves to
the history, antiquities, architecture, &c., of the country,
with their authors' impressions of the Spanish people.
Such subjects find no place — save incidentally — in the
present work, which systematically avoids the beaten
track and essays to depict some of the unknown and
more remote regions.

During more than twenty years the authors have
undertaken sporting expeditions into various parts of
Spain — chiefly in Andalucia, but including, at one time
or another, nearly all the western provinces from the
Mediterranean to Biscay. A love of wild sport has
been, perhaps, the leading motive; but the study of
natural history has hardly been of secondary impor-
tance. In pursuit of these twin objects we have spared
neither time nor trouble, spending weeks — sometimes
months — at a time, in the sierras and wildernesses of
Spain, bivouacing wherever night overtook us, or the
chances of sport might dictate, and camping-out on
the glorious snow-clad cordilleras.

Our subjects are the wild-life and /era naturce of the



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Vlll PREFACE.



Peninsula — including in the latter expression, bj' a
slight stretch of the term, the brigand and the
gjTsy, with remarks on agriculture as cognate and
supplementary. As far as convenient., the sequence of
chapters follows the change of the seasons, commencing
with spring-time. Hence the earlier part of the book is
more concerned with natural history — though the pur-
suit of ibex and bustard may be followed in spring ;
while the latter half is more exclusively devoted to
sport.

Long residence in Spain has afforded opix)rtunities
whiph are not available to the casual traveller. Es-
pecially is this the case with sport, of which we have, at
times, enjoyed some of the best that Spain affords.
But it should be remarked that many of the shooting
campaigns herein described have been on private and
preserved grounds; and, while we naturally select the
more fortunate records, we pass over in silence many a
blank day and fruitless effort. Nearly all ground on
which lan/e game is found, is preserved, with the ex-
ception of remote parts of the sierras, where wild pig
and roe may be shot, and those higher mountain-ranges
which form the home of ibex and chamois ; moreover,
while indicating in general terms the distribution of the
various game- and other animals, we have in many
instances avoided naming precise localities.

In describing a foreign land, it is. impossible entirely
to avoid the use of foreign terms for which, in many
cases, no precise equivalents exist in English : but, to
minimize this drawback, we append a glossary of all
Spanish words used herein. Conversely, lest Spanish
readers should misinterpret the title of this book, we
have added a translation in the terms Espa5?a Agreste.

The illustrations consist of reproductions, either from



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PREFACE. IX

photographs or from rough sketches in pen-and-ink
and water-colours by the authors, whose only merit lies
in their essaying to represent in their native haunts
some of the least-known birds and beasts of Europe,
several of which, it is probable, have never before been
drawn from the life. If some of these sketches are not
as satisfactory as we could have wished, the difficulties
under which they were produced may serve as some
excuse. At the last moment we have had some of them
" translated " in London by Messrs. C. M. Sheldon and
A. T. Elwes, and are also indebted to Miss M. E. Craw-
hall for several sepia-drawings made by her in Spain.

It had been our intention to append a list of the birds
of Spain, with their Spanish names and short notes on
each species ; but this we find would exceed our limits,
and moreover the blanks and " missing links " still re-
main so numerous that we have abandoned — or at least
deferred — that part of our programme. This may
explain a certain want of continuity or coherence, in an
ornithological sense.

We are indebted to Lord Lilford and to Messrs. J. C.
Forster and Ralph W. Bankes for several valuable
notes and assistance, also to Admiral Sir M. Gulme-
Seymour for photographs taken in ** Wild Spain " ;
while we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to
Mr. Howard Saunders, who has in the kindest manner
gone through the proof-sheets, and whose long experi-
ence and intimate knowledge of Spain have been most
generously placed within our reach. For any serious
mistakes which may remain, the authors must be solely
responsible.

December 31«^ 1892.



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CONTENTS,



CHAPTEB I.

PAOE

An Unknown Corner of Europe.

Andalxjcia and her Mountain -barriers.

i. Introductory 1

ii. Life in the Sierras 18

iii. A night at a Posada 19

CHAPTER II.
A Boar-hunt in the Sierra 28

CHAPTER III.
The Great Bustard 88

CHAPTER IV.

Big days with Bustard.

I Jedilla 46

ii Santo Domingo — an Idyl 60

CHAPTER V.
Tauromachia.

The Fighting Bull of Spain;

Notes on his history' : his breeds and rearing : and his

life up to the encicrro — t.^., the eve of his death . 64

CHAPTER VI.

The Ba:tican Wilderness.

Spring-notes of bird-life, natiu*al history and exploration in
the marisma

Parti.—April 70



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XU CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.

PAGE

The BiETiCAN Wilderness {continued}.

Part ii— May 83

CHAPTER VIII.
Wild Camels in Europe ........ 94

CHAPTER IX.
Among the Flamingoes.

Notes on their haunts and habits, and the discovery of their

nesting-places 102

CHAPTER X.
Brigandage in Spain.

Sketches of two Robber-types.

i. Vizco el Borje 116

ii. Agaa Dnlce 124

CHAPTER XI.
The Spanish Ibex.

Notes on its natural history, haunts, habits and distribution 128

CHAPTER XII.
Ibex-shooting in Spain.

i. Sierra de Gredos (Old Castile) 140

ii Riscos de Valderejo 150

CHAPTER XIII.

Ibex-shooting in Spain (continued),

iii. Sierra Bermeja (Mediterranean) 157

iv. Nevada and the Alpujarras. Ten days in a snow-cave . 166

CHAPTER XIV.
Trout and Trouting in Spain.

i. Castile, etc 173

ii Santand^r 179

CHAPTER XV.
Trouting in the Asturias and in Leon .... 183



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CONTENTS. Xiii

CHAPTER XVI.
Experiences with Eagles.

i. Forest and plain jqq

CHAPTER XVII.
Further Experiences with Eagles and Vultures.

ii. Chiefly relating to the Sierra 206

CHAPTER XVIII.
On Spanish Agriculture.

i. Cereals, green crops, etc 220

CHAPTER XIX.
On Spanish Agriculture (continued).

ii. The olive 281

iii. Horse-breeding and live stock 288

iv. Supplement 286

CHAPTER XX.
Bird-life of the Spanish Spring-time.

i. The pinaleSf or pine-region 288

CHAPTER XXI.
Bird-Life of the Spanish Spring-time (continued).

ii. The cistus-plains and prairies 250

CHAPTER XXII.
Bird-life of the Spanish Spring-time (continued).

iii. By lake and lagoon 266



CHAPTER XXIII.
The Spanish Gypsy.

Notes on the history of the " Gitanos " . . . . 277



CHAPTER XXIV.
The Spanish Gypsy of to-day 287



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XIV CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXX.

PAGE

In Search of the Labimeroeyer.

A winter ride in the Sierras 298

CHAPTER XXVI.
The Home of the Lammergeyer 807

CHAPTER XXVII.
Ramon and the two big Rams.

An incident of Ibex-stalking 816

CHAPTER XXVni.
The Ibex-hunter*s Betrothal 820

CHAPTER XXIX.
On Viticulture in Spain and Portugal .... 325

CHAPTER XXX.
Some further Notes on the Great Bustard,

His natural history and habits 888

CHAPTER XXXI.
The Little Bustard 348

CHAPTER XXXII.
A Winter Campaign in Do nana 348

CHAPTER XXXIII.

WiLDFOWLING IN THE WILDERNESS.

i. A wet winter 371

CHAPTER XXXIV.

WiLDFOWLING IN THE WILDERNESS (continued),

ii. A dry season (flight-shootinjjf) 884

iii. An Arctic winter 392

CHAPTER XXXV.
The Stanchion-gun in Spain 396



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CONTENTS. XV

CHAPTER XXXVI.

PAGE

Deer-driving in the Pine-forests.

My first stag 405

CHAPTER XXXVII.
Winter in the Marshes.

i. Snipe-shooting 417

ii. Cranes, storks, and bitterns 420

iii. Miscellaneous marsh-birds 424

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
Deer-stalking and " Still-hunting."

On the Southern plains 428



APPENDIX.

PART I.
The Large Game of Spain and Portugal,

With notes on other Spanish Mammalia .... 487

Red Deer 437

Fallow Deer 438

The Roebuck in Spain 489

The Spanish Ibex .440

The Chamois .441

The Bear 442

Wild Boar 443

Wolf and Fox 444-5

Spanish Lynx 446

Smaller beasts 447 et seq,

PART II.
Spring-migrants to Spain,

With dates of arrival, etc., in Andalucia .... 450

PART III.

i. Spring-notes in Navarre 454

il Supplementary notes on birds (Southern Spain) . . 457



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PLATE Xa PAGE

i. Map of Spain and Portugal . . . Frontispiece

An Andaluz 3

A Granadino 4

Basque peasant 5

ii. Belies of the Moors — Buins of the Watch-tower of

Melgarejo To face 6

Fair Sevillanas 8

A choza : the home of the Andalucian peasant . . 18
iii. Pair of Civil Guards — Jerez ... To face 14

A water-seller 18

iv. Daughters of Andalucia . . . , To face 19

Dancers with castanets 20

A village posada 21

"Furniture" 25

Our quarters in the Sierra 26

A straight charge (wild boar) 80

V. " That old tusker" (wild boar) ... To face 81

A mule with trappings 82

vi. Bustards on the barrens — winter; — a first shade of

suspicion To face 88

vii. Watering the cattle — summer-time . . To face 85

Great Bustard — echando la rueda . . . .89

viii. Bustard-driving — the pack come ** well in " To face 40

Great Bustards — an April dawn 48

ix. „ „ — among the spring-corn . To fa^e 48

The Bustard-shooter — triumph I 51

X. Ancient draw-well on the plains ... To fa^e 52

xi. Bulls on the plains To face 57

xii. The mom of the Fight — Bulls in the ioril (Miura's

breed) To face 61

xiii. The Encierro To face 65

A Bull-fighter 66

A Matador 68

b



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XVlll



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



LATE 50. PAGE

Fishing-boat on the Guadalquivir .... 78

Flamingoes 74, 102 and 115

Avocets 77, 82 and 87

Stilts 70, 86 and 92

xiv. Booted Eagle To face 81

XV. Pintailed Sand-Grouse . . . , To face 85

Grey Plovers — summer-plumage .... 89
xvi. The Spanish Wild Camels — our first sight of a couple

in the marisma To face 94

xvii. Wild Camels — seen through the binoculars To face 98

Flamingoes on feed 104

A right-and-left at Flamingoes 106

Spanish L^tix 107

A toilet in the wilderness (Flamingoes ) . . . 109

Flamingoes and nests Ill

xviii. Flamingoes on their nests . . . To face 112

Civil Guards — a sketch from life . . . . 121

Draw-well at the Zmnajo, near Jerez . . . 127

Spanish Ibex, Old Ram — Sierra de Gredos . . 181

Sierra Nevada . . 138, 185, and 170

xix. On the crags of Almanz6r (Ibex) . . To face 187

Old olive-trees near Talavera 139

XX. Ibex-hunting — a sketch in the Sierra de Gredos

To face 141

Our first old Bam 145

xxi. Ibex-hunting — the two old Bams at the " Cannon-
Bock " To face 148

The peaks of Gredos 149

xxii. Our camp on the Bisoos de Yalderejo . To face 152

Ibex -hunters of Gredos — a sketch by the camp-fire . 154

Ibex, female^Biscos de Yalderejo .... 155

— Bermeja 158

xxiii. Ibex -hunting — a sketch in the Sierra Bermeja

To face 161

Forest Ibex, old Bam — Bermeja .... 164

Trout 175, 182, and 186

Chamois 179 and 442

Spanish Imperial Eagle . . . 190, 198, and 219

(Spotted stage) 198

The Eagle's swoop 262

Tawny Eagle 195

Black Vulture 201 and 202

At roost — Serpent-Eagles 204

xxiv. A Vulture's banquet .... To face 206

Griffon Vulture and nest — Puerta de Palomas . . 208

Strange neighbours (Vvdtures and Storks) . . 209



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



XIX



PLATK NO,
XXV.



xxvu.

xxviii

xxix.



XXX.

xxxi.



xxxu.
xxxiii.



xxxiv.



XXXV.



xxxvi.



xxxvu.
xxxviii



xxxix.



xl.
xli.



PACE

" Where the carcase 18 " .... To face 218

Bonelli*s Eagle (adult) .... 217 and 888

Ploughing with oxen .... To face 221

Wooden ploughshare 224

The harvest-field To face 225

Threshing corn with mares . . . To face 226

Winnowing To face 228

" Waitmg for death " (old olive-trees) ... 282

Kites and Marsh-Harriers . . . To face 242

Sand-dunes and Corra2e« of Dofiana . To face 245

Hoopoes 248

A serenade (Red-leg Partridge) 251

Azure-winged Magpies 258

Eyed Lizard and Serpent-Eagle .... 260

Black Stork 265

Mallards and Ferruginous Ducks — ^Alamillo To face 268

White-fronted Ducks— Santolalla . . To face 270

Buflf-backed Heron . . . . . 88 and 272

Marsh-Harrier — ^very old male 274

Sununer evening — Owls and Moths .... 276

Dancers at Granada — ^the Bolero . . To face 289

Gypsy lad 290

Oypsy dance 292

Lanmiergeyer — a first impression .... 295

Dance and guitar 297

Griffon Vulture (a sketch from life) .... 808

"Roses in Spain" 806

Lanmiergeyer — a sketch from life in the Sierra

Bermeja To face 809

Our quarters at Guentar del Rio .... 812

Ibex-head — Sierra de Gredos 819

Vineyard and gateway .... To face 825

Vines in March (Jerez) 826

In a Jerez Bodega To face 828

Irrigation by the noria, or water-wheel . To face 884

A vineyard at Jerez 886

Great Bustards . . . . . . 887 and 840

Little Bustards— May 845

A Spanish jungle — The Angosturas . . To face 848

Fishing-boats 849

Palacio de Dooana To face 850

Breakfast-time — DoAana .... To face 852

A royal head — Dofiana 854

Dead Ljiax 855

Group of forest-guards 857

Pannier-pony and game 858



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XX



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PLATE NO.

xlii.

xliii

xliv.
xlv.

xlvi
xlviii.

xlviL
xlix.



li.
Hi



Spanish Bed Deer — a mountain-head from Morena

860 and 430

a sta^ of thirteen points 868

Spanish wildfowlers approaching dnck with cahresto

ponies To face 865

A shot in the open (Red Deer) . . . To face 867
Wild Boar — an old tusker
Salavar — a sketch in a Spanish Mancha . To face 869
Wildfowling with cahrestos —

No. 1. The approach .

No. 2. The shot

No. 8. The result



** Anseres son / "

Greylag Geese flighting — daybreak

Grey Geese and Wigeon — midday

Marsh-Harrier (young)

" The farewell shot "

Mallards .

Grey Geese

Bedshanks (101 and)

Stilts

Little Gull and Tern

** A hundred at a shot— now or never

** The Biter and the Bit " (Harrier and Teal)

La MarismiUa — a shooting morning

Spanish guns

" The eleven -pointer ** (Red Deer) .
A fifteen-pointer (Red Deer)
" Dropped in his tracks " (Wild Boar)
Stork^s nest — The Banderas, Se\il]e

on straw-stack .

Spanish Lynx

Spanish Ibex — Five-year-old Rams .



To face
To face
To face



872
874
881
877
878
878
880
To face 882



To face



890 and
To face
896 and



To face

) . .
To face



887
891
898
404
898
400
401
405
411
418
414
416
422
459
486
440



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WILD SPAIN.

(ESPANA AGRESTE.)



CHAPTER I.

AN OLD-WORLD CORNER OF EUROPE.

Andalucia and her Mountain-barriers.

Among European countries Spain stands unique in
regard to the range of her natural and physical features.
In no other land can there be found, within a similar area,
such extremes of scene and climate as characterize the
400 by 400 miles of the Iberian Peninsula. Switzerland
has alpine regions loftier and more imposing, Bussia
vaster steppes, and Norway more arctic scenery : but no-
where else in Europe do arctic and tropic so nearly meet
as in Spain. Contrast, for example, the stern grandeur of
the Sierra Nevada, wrapped in eternal snow, with the
almost tropical luxuriance of the Mediterranean shores
which lie at its feet.

Nor is any European country so largely abandoned to
nature: nature in wildest primeval garb, untouched by
man, untamed and glorious in pristine savagery. The
immense extent of rugged sierras which intersect the
Peninsula partly explains this ; but a certain sense of in-
security and a hatred of rural life inherent in the Spanish
breast are still more potent factors. The Spanish people,
rich and poor, congregate in town or village, and vast
stretches of the '* campo," as they call it, are thus left
uninhabited, despohlados — relinquished to natural con-



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Z WILD SPAIN.

ditions, to the wild beasts of the field and the birds of the
air. Perhaps in this respect the semi-savage regions of
the far East, the provinces of the Balkans and of classic
Olympus, most nearly approach, though they cannot
rival, the splendid abandonment of rural Spain. And as
a nation, the Spanish people vary inter se in almost
the same degree. It is, in fact, that characteristic of
Iberia which is reflected in the picturesque diversity of
the Iberians.

One cause which tends to explain these divergences,
racial and physical, is the exceptionally high mean
elevation of the Peninsula above sea-level. Spain is a
highland plateau ; a huge table-mountain, intersected by
ranges of still loftier mountains, but devoid of low-land
over a large proportion of its area, save in certain river-
valleys and in the comparatively narrow strips of land, or
alluvial belts, that adjoin the sea- board — chiefly in its
southernmost province, Andalucia.

Few nations live at so great an average elevation. The
cities of London, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, all the
Scandinavian capitals, and even Lisbon, stand at, or a
little above, sea-level ; Vienna, Moscow, and Dresden have
elevations of only a few hundred feet; but Madrid is
perched at 2,384 feet, with the snow-fields of Guadarrama
overlooking the Puerta del Sol, while a large area of Cen-
tral Spain, comprising the Castiles, Aragon and Navarre,
is of even greater altitude. Thus Burgos stands at 2,873
feet ; Segovia, 2,299 ; Granada, 2,681 ; and the Escorial
at 3,686 Jeet.

These central table-lands, exposed to a tropical sun,
become torrid, tawny deserts in summer; in winter —
owing rather to rarefied air than to very low temperatures —
they are subject to a severity of cold unknown in our
more temperate clime, and to biting blasts from the Alpu-
j arras, the Guadarrama, and other mountain ranges which
intersect the uplands, and on which snow lies throughout
the year, contrasting strangely in the dog-days with the
pitiless heat of summer and the intensity of the azure
background.



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ANDALUGIA AND HER MOUNTAIN-BARRIERS. O

Of different type is the mountain region of the north
— ^the Cantabrian Highlands bordering on Biscay, the
Basque Provinces, Galicia and the Asturias, offshoots of the
Pyrenean system. There the country is almost Scandi-
navian in type, with deeply rifted valleys, rapid salmon-
rivers, and rushing mountain-torrents abounding in
trout; and an alpine fauna including the chamois and
bear, ptarmigan, hazel-grouse, and capercaillie. That
is a land of rock, snow, and mist-wreath, of birch and
pine-forest: abrupt and untilled, wind-swept and wet
as a West Highland moor, the very antithesis of the



AN ANDALUZ.



smiling province which most concerns us now — Anda-
lucia. This, more African than Africa, in spring, autumn
and winter is a paradise, the huerta of Europe, low-lying
and protected by the sierras of Nevada and Morena from
the deadly breath of the central plateau ; but in the four
summer months an infierno^ where every green thing is
burnt up by a fiery sun, where shade is not, and where
life is only endurable by discarding European habits and
adopting those of Moorish or Oriental races.

Naturally such contrasts of climate and country re-act
upon the character of the denizens — be they human or
fera nature — of a land which includes within its boun-
daries nearly all the physical conditions of Europe and

B 2



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4 WILD SPAIN.

Northern Africa. But it is the peculiar mental cast and
temperament of the Spanish race, as much as the physical
causes alluded to, that have developed those clean-cut
differences that to-day ^stingHish the various Iberian
provinces. It is the self-sufficiency, the ** provincialism,"
and careless unthinking disposition of the individual, as
much as mountain-barriers, that have separated adjacent



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