Tuesday 30 August 2016

Algarve and the Little Owl.

I hope you will forgive my indulgence in showing you photos of the same owl, in very similar poses. I was just so elated to see the Little Owl, when we were traveling the dirt roads of the Alvor Estuary. We were in the car, when I saw something dark fly up into what I thought must be a tree, as our vision was obscured by some tall bushes, and it was still some distance away. With care I walked slowly to where I thought it must have landed, but saw nothing, and then as I looked towards an old Pylon, there in the darkness of a small recess sat the owl. He was looking at me, with those large eyes, and  I took these shots as quickly as I could, for fear he would fly away.

The Little Owl   Athene noctua

This little Owl is about the same size as a thrush.

It hunts at dusk but can be seen perched on fence posts, or high wires etc during daylight.

his penetrating stare was so intense,....

as his piercing eyes met mine...

but he is just so adorable and..

it was a lucky encounter that...

I will never forget!

Thursday 25 August 2016

Algarve and Horses, for Good Fences.

On our evening walks, we came across several horse farms, and stopped to watch and admire this small herd. There was no green grass for them to eat, but they seemed well cared for, not under weight, and had very shiny coats.











Just click on the link Good Fences to see more fences, gates, and railings, and join in the fun if you have any photos to share. Thank you Theresa for hosting.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Algarve, Bird Ringing at "A ROCHA"

One of the many highlights of this holiday was an impromptu visit to my first bird ringing session. One Thursday morning we were enjoying a country walk, on a narrow dirt road near the Alvor - Estuary, when we encountered a lovely Quinta with various messages pinned to a notice board at the gate. One read, Birds Seen This Week, with an impressive list of birds I had never heard of, but the message that really caught my full attention was an invitation to see a bird ringing demonstration every Thursday, throughout the year, at (10.00 - 12.30). I looked at my watch, it was 10.30 am, and as there was another sign which indicated that dogs were not allowed, Americo said go darling, I'll look after Mel.

The adult female Blue Rock Thrush  Monticola  solitarius

It's  a long-bodied,  tapered, thrush-like bird, with a long bill, and dark brown above, and dusky buff below, with close dark bars.

The Serin   Serinus serinus.  We see plenty of these little birds on the farm.  It's a greenish/yellowish, streaky finch.


If my memory serves me correctly, this is a juvenile  Goldfinch.

 I can't remember the name of this camera shy bird., but I'm leaning towards some kind of Warbler! I have since been reliably informed that it is indeed a Warbler called the Whitethroat.

The Waxbill  Estrida astrid

It's only a small bird but very pretty, and I managed to photograph some in the wild during our stay.

 Another Goldfinch picture.

"A Rocha" is an international Christian organization which cares for the environment, and is represented in twenty countries. If you would like to know more about it, here is the link www.arocha.pt  click EN to read in English, and see the video.

As a late comer, I had to wait until the bird ringing demo had finished to meet some of the team, and a dozen or so other people who had gone to see the demonstration. Tea, coffee, and cakes were served, and everyone was very friendly, and I had a very warm welcome from some of the team members. Here, you can see a gentleman giving a donation of 2 thousand euros to organize group bus trips for school children, so that they too can see a bird ringing sessions, as many schools just cant afford to do this. They would also be able see the exhibition room where nature lectures take place, and also learn more about how to help the environment. Starting at an early age to appreciate and care for our planet is essential. I had a lovely time and as I left the gate and made my way to the car, hubby was all smiles, when he saw me grinning at him from ear to ear.

 Another shot of image number 5,  the Whitethroat. My thanks to Phil Slade for the ID.
 Linking up with Wild bird Wednesday, Saturdays Critters and I'd Rather B Birdin. br /> WILD BIRD WEDNESDAYS

Friday 19 August 2016

Algarve and Butterflies

It had been years since I had seen a Monarch Butterfly.We used to see them in September about the time of the grape harvest, but in many a year, there had been no sign of them, so a Monarch butterfly was also on my list to look out for. I know that most butterflies are attracted to the Lantana flowers, so that is where I looked for them, and eventually found just one, so here are a few captures, together with a few more butterflies and two moths.  

The Monarch,  Danaus plexippus


I had hoped to get a shot of their beautiful wings wide open, but no such luck.


The female Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus  (Lycaenidae)

The  Swallowtail  Papilio machaon  (Papilionidae)

The Swallowtail   papilio machaon  (Papilionidae)

The Scarce Swallowtail  Iphiclides  podalirius  ( Papilionidae)

The Sloe Hairstreak   Satyrium acaciae   (Lycaenidae)

Hummingbird Hawk moth in repose.

A closer look at this moth.

Scarce Swallowtail

The Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Click on the link if you would like to see more critters. A big thank you to Eileen for hosting her fun meme Saturday's Critters. SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Algarve, and Walks along the Cliff Tops

The days were hot, at 38 degrees Centigrade, which in fahrenheit is 100.4 degrees, and on some days the temperature rose to 40 degrees, which for us was almost unbearable. Mel was eager for exercise, although she had been in the garden, so early morning walks when the temperature was lower, became a pleasant ritual. As dogs are not allowed on the beach, we walked instead along the sandy pathways on the cliff tops, and here are some photos, (quite a lot) of what we saw on these walks.

This is what the path looks like most of the time, but there are also a number of "Villas" on the cliff tops.

There was a soft breeze coming from the sea most mornings, and we took a litre each of water with us.

Collared Doves in the "Agave American cactus". It's common name is century plant.

Although it is called the Century plant, it lives only 30 years, and near the end of it's life, it sends up a tall, branched stalk laden with yellowish blossoms, that may reach a total height of 25-30 foot. It flowers only once at the end of it's long life, and then dies. It's a good place for the doves to perch, taking advantage of the shade, and it makes a pretty picture.

When we are in Vau in October / November, Mel loves to walk along the sandy shore, and I love to collect shells.

The Yellow-Legged Gull.

The Algarve beaches never get crowded

Three more  shots of the Yellow-Legged Gull standing on the Villa roofs



Entrance gate to one of the Villas on the cliff top...

 called Three Palm Tree House.
My thanks to our gracious hosts, Stewart, Eileen, Anni and Theresa.
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