La Carlota 2017

Asociacion Nacional Club Amigos Del Canario Lizard De Espana + Que Amigos—Una Gran Familia.

Show report by Joe Coakley

This year I was Privileged to be invited to judge the Lizards of Spain. I had seen the Spanish Lizard at the World Show in Almeria and left with mixed reservations regarding the birds on display, but as always when judging I went with a clear fresh mind.

Each year Club Amigos show is within a different region of Spain , normally where a prominent member or members reside making use of that breeders local club facilities and staging a very clever concept. This allows for none of the transportation and other time consuming roles, allowing the members to concentrate on the finer points of this all Lizard show.

It was difficult to know who was actually in charge of running the Show being such a relaxed format. Every one joins in to a very well organised show based around a central hotel, where all the Judges exhibitors families stay during the 2 day event. Birds arrive on the Friday afternoon in preparation for the judgment on Saturday. Every thing is catered for as soon as you arrive; a welcome lunch on arrival, evening meal where old aquantainces are re–newed between friends and familiy members who have travelled from different regions. Here I was introduced to my Judging companions Ernesto Gracia (Gibraltar), Jose Escarabjal (Spain).

Wives, children and even Grandparents are catered for within the Amigos Family on the day of the Show with a pre arranged sight – seeing  retail therapy visit to the regions capital Cardoba. Whilst all the breeders visit the Show and watch in the seated area behind the Judgement of their birds.

The big day arrived, every one was up early for a traditional Spanish breakfast of strong coffee, crusty, toasted rolls covered in olive oil with fresh pureed tomatoes. The weather was warm but a mild 20 degrees. Myself being utterly British, a jumper came in handy.

Arriving at the venue it was clean, clinical and vibrant. The white staging/audience seating along with the continental cardboard throw away show cages, gave it that elegants of importance when you walked in, the show was controlled by a Maestro steward who kept the audience and show calm.

My first class, Silver Broken Cap 15 placed on the Judges staging to ajudicate 1 -7. As I went through  the birds I asked the steward how many in the class, he replied ‘cuatro seis’ quickly realising what he had said I needed to stop to adjust my format as there were 46 still on the bench to come before me.

My style differred from that of my counterparts who were looking for a Lizard with good Spangling. If this is not there within a short space of time the bird is discarded. With respect they are not looking for the finer points of the Lizard that only a specialist judge would be looking for. My problem was my UK style, studying the birds to standard which is time consuming.Giving every bird the opportunity to display its qualities, speeding through the classes and centering around one point is just not my style which would probably be my failure judging to points. I want to know I have worked hard at my selections knowing I am comfortable I have chosen the correct birds on merit and the breeders have a respect for the time I have given to their subjects.

61 judged and 7 chosen I had now found my momentum ready for the day ahead. How wrong was I? We were stopping to go for coffee and mid morning breakfast at the Local Cafe this knocked me all out of sorts – it was unexpected another twist in this family orientated club.

On our return, the temperature outside was rising 27 degrees in the show hall. The jumper had to come off. The heat was starting to play a part in the performance of the birds, I therefore had to concentrate more in a heat that I was not used to and had not judged in before.

Next class 63 broken cap gold I really had to work hard on this class, spending time getting the birds to display themselves. This was when the cardboard cage threw me. It is much wider than the normal Uk/European cage and difficult to get one hand round to hold up for a closer inpection of the bird. Again I had to adjust my style using the staging to its full potential by utilising all rows and moving the birds a lot more than I would normally prefer.

All of the Normal classes were large 20 being the lowest entry. Entrants were as follows:

Clear Cap Gold 39, Non Cap Gold 24, Broken Cap Gold 63, Clear Cap Silver 44, Broken Cap Silver 61, Non Cap Silver 20.

There were Colour fed, Blue and Ocelados Classes and 22 Teams of Stams: 4 Gold, 9 Silver, 4 Blue, 4 Intense Red, 1 Nevado Red.

Winners on the day were:

Best Gold Lizard, Jesus Carrilero Copete.

Best Silver Lizard, Pascual Gomez Escarabajal.

Best Blue Lizard, Jose Manuel Lopez Souto.

Best Red Lizard, Alberto Navarro Jaramillo.

Best Stam, Pascual Gomez Escarabajal.

Best Lizard  Pascual Gomez Escarabajal, Non Cap Silver Hen.

Pascual’s bird was probably the Best on the day but still greatly lacked in ground colour. (Note in the pictures supplied.)

For me one of the highlights of the show was Alberto Navarro Jaramillo who, when the rossette was placed on his winning colour fed bird embraced one of his fellow breeders in a bear hug fashion whilst jumping up and down around the hall. Such a wonderful sight.

Once all the Judging is complete, all the Families join together for a veritable feast of cold meats, cheese specialist Spanish dishes and wine with the birds open to viewing.

It is then on to the prize giving presentation of trophies and some very emotional speeches.

My thoughts on the Spanish Lizard were that they differred from that I had seen in Almeria and I hope my observations will be taken as contructive to improve and develop the Lizard in Spain.

The overiding factor where the birds are failing is ground colour. Many birds, although having lineage, did not show well on a dull smokey back ground colour in Silvers without Melanin and a dull washed out grey in Golds. Almost to the point of being unable to distinguish between the bird being Gold or Silver.

There were too many raky thin birds with no width of shoulder to show off the Spangling. Birds were unsteady to judge and needed more time training. Something that is apparent at most European shows.

My comments cannot be taken as pure negative. There are breeders that you can see are trying to improve their birds, it is noticeable amongst the winning birds.

I believe with guidance and perserverence the Spanish Lizard can improve immensely over the coming years for the enthusiasm of the club is second to none I have visited. I just hope they do not lose sight of the Lizards qualities in favour of producing the Ocealados!

The show is finished off with a wonderful Saturday gala evening with all the families, Judges/breeders.

These are grass roots, down to earth breeders and there is a real family warmth surrounding this show. They may not have the best Lizards but they have spirit. I am grateful to Ernesto Gracia for his kindness in translations and support during my visit.

To the breeders of Spain/Gibraltar and their families, thank you for their invitation. I look forward to joining you again in Seville 2018.

Truly you are:

The National Association Club Friends of the Canary Lizard of Spain and a big family.

Joe Coakley


  • My thanks to Joe for his excellent report and photographs.  I hope his advice will be heeded.
  • As ever with the gallery of photos, just click on an image to see at a larger size.

8 thoughts on “La Carlota 2017

  1. Congratulations Joe, a most comprehensive show report in all respects, vividly capturing that very healthy, special and unique “family’ experience of this wonderful club and, at the same time, offering a most honest and objective technical critique of the lizards on show – with which, as co-judge and long-time ‘observer’ of the lizard canary in Spain, I cannot but wholeheartedly agree. I am sure that all members, friends and family of this club will well appreciate and value Joe’s report. (… and with Joe’s and Huw’s permission, I volunteer to translate the report and pass on to the Club’s Committee.)

    However, on a personal note, with respect too, and as Joe’s main counterpart on the judging day, I totally disagree with Joe’s comment:

    “My style differed from that of my counterparts who were looking for a Lizard with good Spangling. If this is not there within a short space of time the bird is discarded. With respect they are not looking for the finer points of the Lizard that only a specialist judge would be looking for.”

    Evidently, we ALL look for a Lizard with good spangling and I dare say that it would indeed be difficult to reward a show Lizard Canary that did not display best spangling. Still, I must speak for myself.

    I have a reputation in Spain, where I undertake most of my judging, for being a “slow” judge, because, as rumour has it, I “spend too much time looking at the bird”. Couple my supposed “slowness” in assessing the bird with the added chore of filling in the scoresheet and yes, I am not the fastest!!…but then judging is not a race.

    In practically every article that I have written on any particular Type Canary, or any presentation I have given, or any relevant conversation in which I have been engaged, I go to great lengths to explain that much as each breed has its key and unique characteristics (those allocated greater number of points), and of utmost importance as these naturally are for the breed, the bird should always be assessed as a whole and in corresponding balance (every single concept of it) – better achieved, to my mind, by comparative judging (UK style) than by strict adherence to scoresheet assessment. But then, it is my contention that all judging is done by comparison, with the scoresheet, where used, constituting the justification/evidence of the assessment. But such a subject/debate best left for another day…

    And Joe, I too very much look forward to joining you again in Archena (Murcia) 2018…Sevilla?!!

  2. Thank you Ernesto,

    I have a great respect for you beyond difficult conversation. Of course we can learn a lot from Transcript where we do not see eye to eye but we both talk rationally and listen thus building a foundation for these times when we might disagree.

    Onwards to Sevilla!

    Kind Regards


  3. Not being fluent in Span-glais………. “There were Colour fed, Blue and Ocelados Classes” & “not lose sight of the Lizards qualities in favour of producing the Ocealados!”….what is/are “Ocelados” Lizards ?

    Are the colour fed birds Red Ground as is common in many countries with a Latin influence or colour fed ‘green ground’ birds like ours? The tendency to ‘cross-breed’ with Red Factor birds is a more injurious practice than even ‘working’ to create white ground, with Type varieties because of the variety of the endemic mutations carried in red stock.

  4. Thanks Huw – that explains why there is an image of an ‘odd’ Lizard in the Report – I thought it was a ‘colour canary variant’, but Brown from ‘Type’ is as bad. The sex-linked gene is insidious by virtue of it’s ability to ‘hide’ within a blood-line for many generations, as you well know and will become endemic, if as appears to be the case, it is legitimised by being encouraged by Lizard clubs.

    As has happened before in so much livestock, permitting an injurious practice in the name of friendship and being friendly to all may be good for the Fancier/s, but is hardly good for the breed.
    A very great shame in my traditionalist view, but reminds me why I no longer have my birds.

  5. Perfecto, amigo Joe! …e capisco!!
    Onto our next duo act…only I do not think it is in Seviila but Archena, in Murcia!!


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