Spring in the Eastern Algarve: pretty or prickly , big or small

The beach and fort area by Cabanas seems to be teeming with bird life and emerging plants and flowers. The old pines have taken a battering from the elements but this seems to be unmanaged land and there seem to be no plans to replace them

The big and beautiful old pines by the fort,. Hoopoes and goldfinches seen around them.
The big and beautiful old pines by the fort,. Hoopoes and goldfinches seen aroundBermuda buttercups in the almond orchards with egrets. Bermuda buttercups in the almond orchards with egrets. 

In the almond orchards there are beautiful yellow flowers but these are not natural and  are resistant to pesticides, possibly a Well done to the plant world but these beauties are poisonous to livestock. Although called buttercups they belong to the oxalis family and can poison grazing animals. Therefore NOT the livestock farmer’s friend.

Prickly pears and white broom: lygos
Prickly pears and white broom: lygos
Parasitic broomrape  just emerging on the beach and looking for a host.
Parasitic broomrape just emerging on the beach and looking for a host.
Some waders, possibly whimbrels
Some waders, possibly whimbrels
Big birdd feet on the beach, possibly curlew, also seen and much bigger than the whimbrel .
Big bird feet on the beach, possibly curlew, also seen and much bigger than the whimbrel .

Portugal: the eastern Algarve in January and February

Fortaleza in Cabanas with Almonds
3 weeks later, no blossom but look for the almonds. It might take till September for them to ripen though!
Almond blossoms around the fort; January in Cabanas de Tavira
Almond blossoms around the fort; January in Cabanas de Tavira

Here as promised are some of the photos taken recently on short vacations to Cabanas de Tavira on the Eastern Algarve  along the estuary and  lagoons of the Ria Formosa. The area is a protected national park along the sand dunes and beaches but unfortunately some of the cliff side walks are privately owned.
We enjoy an escape to warmer weather and an earlier spring than in the Sierra Aracena even if it is only about 100 miles away from Navasola it is at sea level. Although it is the Atlantic Ocean it is warmer here because of the Gulf Stream and the climate is more Mediterranean.

Walking around the old fort in January I came across this almond blossom tree full of blossom and teeming with bees. It was very noisy as well as beautiful. 3 weeks later in February the blossom had gone and you can just see in the photo of the same tree the beginnings of the almonds.

More rain in Spain

The rocks are so green, with a carpet of moss and lichen.
The rocks are so green, with a carpet of moss and lichen.

How can we complain about the rain when it is filling our well and the pond. Will we be able to be self sufficient in water? It has to be the most essential part of our life here as there is no municipal water supply. That means the only body that can cut off our water supply is Mother Nature.

Here are some photos of the Finca dripping wet in February.

]Dripping trees

Not sure what we do about the mimosa tree and all the suckers it produces. Not a native species?

Our next post will be about our escape to the Algarve and a walk around the fort at the edge of the town of Cabanas. It is our favourite place for bird watching and although only about 100 miles from the Sierra Aracena spring is in full bloom and the swallows have arrived.

Wild in Spain and Spanish: wild violets and really wild birds

These tiny flowers were seen near the well in the very damp ground.
These tiny flowers were seen near the well in the very damp ground.

February on the Finca has seen the rain fall almost continuously for a week. However, on Sunday there was a little sunshine and wild violets were spotted. Thanks to the rain I have finally finished reading Macfarlane’s book about his journeys to wild places around the British Isles. Wild is a special word for him but as he ends up describing many different kinds of experiences of the wild it is interesting to think more about our own relationships with the wild. Here for February are two small wild things; the violet and the chaffinch. The birds in the woodland are so wild and wary I was delighted that even just one came to my table! In Spanish there are two words for wild : wild animals are ‘salvaje’ and wild plants are ‘sylvestre’. How might this division of meaning affect attitudes to the wild?

There really is one chaffinch enjoying some sunflower seeds in the rain.
There really is one chaffinch enjoying some sunflower seeds in the rain.