Thursday 29 September 2016

Pokeberry and Echium Blooms

The Pokeberry weed, or Pokeweed berries begin to ripen in August and September, and it's at it's most colourful now, in greater or lesser stages of development, even on the same plant. It attracts many birds and insects to its berries,  and although every part of the Pokeberry is poisonous to humans,  birds and insects are imune to the poison, and some small animals, such as rats and mice are unaffected by it's toxins.

The Pokeberry  Phytolacca americana.

The Pokeberry can reach a height of 20 feet, or more,.....


the juice of the red berries has been employed as an ink, and dye,...

and  the Pokeberries, have long been thought to have medicinal value. At one time it was used to treat boils and acne,...

and Pokeweed leaves and roots have been used in folk medicine for centuries, for the treatment of chronic rheumatism.

Today, Pokeweed is being researched as a possible treatment for cancer.

The Echium candicans   (pride of Madeira) in bud form.
Mine are about seven year old, but the soft wood cuttings I took are doing well.

The showy flower spikes of this evergreen plant are a beautiful blue colour. It covers a large area, so you will need to plant it in a sunny spot with lots of space. It is drought resistant. Each plant can have as many as twenty or more blooms.
Joining Denise at Todays flowers, just click on the link to go there.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Algarve and the Stonechat.

The stonechat is a  sweet bird we encountered quite frequently on our walks in the Algarve. As it's name suggests, Stonechats utter a sharp loud call, that sounds like two stones being tapped together.

The male Stonechat.



My thanks to our gracious hosts Stewart, Eileen, Anni, and Theresa.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Algarve and the Wetlands

The "Ria de Alvor" is the most important estuary of the western Algarve, and has about 350 hectares of sandbars, silts and saltmarsh. The small rivers Odiáxere, Arao, Farelo, and Torre, flow into the Alvor estuary forming a coastal lagoon with more than 2.5kilometers in length. The Alvor estuary is a place where the river freshwater meets the salt water of the sea, creating a gradient of salinity which associated with tidal dynamics and the presence of nutrients usually supports a great biodiversity. In more protected areas of the estuary, where water does not have too much turbulence, the marshes arise. Considered the most productive areas of the planet, they accumulate nutrients for the entire river basin of the rivers and even nutrients brought by the tides.

Approaching the Estuary by car.

This is the map, right next to the beach marking the footpaths.

The beach

and another view, taken already from the footpath at the start of our walk around the lagoon.

A view of the other side of the path. We were told by residents that most of the bird had already left., and they were right,

but we had to see for ourselves, and just taking in the natural beauty of this place, was such a pleasure. 

Our first sighting of the Black-winged Stilt.







Bird calls and movements in the tall grasses told us there were birds in hiding..

Showing the path we took, starting on the left hand side of the embankment.

Our first sighting of the flamingos

If we had arrived two weeks earlier we would have seen dozens of different species, especially ducks and herons.

but we were happy to see whatever birds still remained.

They were rather far away, and these were the best shots I could get.
Click on the links below to see these great memes.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Bee, Bug, Butterflies, Berries, Bird, Frog, Fence, and Flowers.

 Sharing some of the photos taken in the garden and farm last week.

Morning Glory

A micro moth  "I would have passed it by, had I not seen it fly".

A  Bumble bee  ( Bombus Cascuorum )

A cute little bug, but I don't know the name, nor can I remember the name of the flower.

The Provençal Fritillary sunbathing on a clothes peg

 The Carpenter Bee   Xylocopa  violácea  on Beauty bush.

A  Marsh Frog  sunbathing near our water tank ...

and his friend.

Morning Glory in the fields.

The Crested Tit

A dragonfly with a black beetle snack. It's not one I know!

The Bath White butterfly

Blackberries on a fence

The Brimstone butterfly

The Agapanthus beginning to reveal it's full beauty.

Prickly Chestnut cases.

The "Judas Tree" seed pods.

The Hydrangea
My thanks to Stewart, Theresa, Eileen, Anni, and Denise, for hosting their memes. Join in the fun if you have any photos to share, or just take a look by clicking on their links. br /> WILD BIRD WEDNESDAYS
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