Sunday 27 November 2022


First of all, my apologies for hardly any visiting done this past week. I have stayed away from my computer on doctors' orders because of several painful conditions Bursitis Elbow, and also a very painful neck and right shoulder, both of which have been caused by the repetitive movements made whilst blogging, so I will be taking a break until I am better. I am also anxious about Eva, who phoned me yesterday to say she is in an Oporto hospital with a Detached Retina, but since it is weekend can only be operated on Monday. I know this can be a serious, if not operated promptly, so I feel sick with worry. I also received word this morning that my dearest friend who is 95 has Covid and isn't expected to get through this night. I feel so sad, worried and sad. Sorry to be so downhearted, but if you can't tell your friends, who can you tell.

Thursday 17 November 2022


November weather has been unpleasantly cold, and we have had numerous thunderstorms and heavy rainfall since the beginning of this month, which is good for the garden after the draught. I have not been out, because Eva my daughter caught the Covid virus and kept her distance, until she was Covid free. Therefore, I have concentrated on nature in my garden, and what I can see from, and on, my balcony. I still have a few photos left from my visit to the nature reserve, but felt like a change, and can show them another time.

Early one morning, after the rain.

This is my favourite Camellia shrub. It is known as Camellia Sasanqua and is a lovely Autumn flowering shrub with flowers that have single soft delicate thin petals and leaves, very different than other Spring flowering Camelias in my garden. This one is planted just outside my bedroom window, in a sheltered location in acid soil.

I love these newly formed cones appearing on the conifers.


One day as I looked out of the window, I saw a flash of white
on that spindly tree in the background.

I knew whatever bird it turned out to be, would probably just be for reference, as my lens is not strong enough to capture a decent photo at that distance, but I'm sharing them anyway. 

It turned out to be a Flycatcher.

All these images are heavily cropped.

Perhaps you are wondering where the flash of white is. Unfortunately, it is not visible on these photos, as the white area is in the shade.

Midday cloud formation.

This is my simple bird bath / drinking station. It is just a plastic urn with a deepish plate on top, the kind you place under plant pots.:=) 
The birds don't mind, they go to drink and bathe regularly.

Coal Tit

This is one of the feeding stations, using the same idea, but with a heavy stone in the middle to stop the plates blowing away on windy days

The Coal Tit.

The little Firecrest keeps putting in an appearance.

Photos taken through the window

Variegated Ivy and Virginia Creeper

One day I took the plates away to wash and look what I found under the rim.

Blue Tits in the rainy weather.

The Crested Tit, stoically waiting it's turn at the feeder.

The Firecrest captured on another day.

Always a pleasure to see, the Red Squirrel

An interesting insect captured on my balcony.

Prehistoric looking insect on my balcony wall.

Raindrops on a spider's web in my garden.

It is usually whilst I'm having breakfast that I gaze out of the window, and I became most excited to see a bird in a distant tree which looked thrush size, but I knew it wasn't a thrush, and to my utter delight discovered it was a lone Redwing.

The Redwing Turdus iliacus It is a common bird, but I had never seen it before

I took lots of photos, none of which turned out very well but there again it was rather far away, but I just couldn't stop, because it was a "lifer" for me. :=))

The Redwing is in fact a bird in the thrush family.

Just three more, :=)

As the light fades, the Robin is always the last bird to visit my balcony, and the first bird I see in the early morning.

Good night, see you in the morning.

Paula sent me this sunset, so I will close this post with the setting sun.

Wednesday 9 November 2022


In the nature reserve I saw quite a few Mallards and some Egyptian Geese, which were in another pond far from the exotic Mandarin Duck. Here they are, and although they are both a more common species, I think they are very beautiful.

The Mallard duck  Anas platyrhynchos

Enlarged to get a closer look.

The Female.

The male. 

The male enjoying the sun.

The Egyption Goose  Alopochen  aegyptiaca.
The sexes of this species mate for life. They are identical in appearance 

A native of Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile. It was introduced in parks and gardens as an ornamental bird species but escaped into the wild and is successfully breeding in a feral state in many countries in Europe. 

Tuesday 1 November 2022

THE MANDARIN DUCK Aix galericulata

The week after my visit to the estuary with my daughter, Eva had two out of town appointments, so she invited me to go with her, but would drop me off at a nearby nature reserve and join me later for tea. Naturally I thought it was a splendid idea and accompanied her with the greatest of pleasure. We had an early lunch and set off at1 o'clock, arriving an hour later. It was a warm sunny day but there was a slightly cooler breeze in the air, the first of the season.I had wisely taken a warm jacket along just in case it would be needed.Eva departed with a wave and "see you later," and off I went on a leisurely stroll through the quiet nature reserve. Except for the tearoom, the reserve was almost deserted, so I had the luxury of having the park all to myself.There were many pretty flowered shrubs along the pathways which I took pleasure in photographing, and a few banana trees in the gardens, and then I saw the beautiful Mandarin Ducks, and their stunning plumage. This exotic  species native to East Asia China, Japan, Korea, and eastern Russa, have also been introduced in many countries.

Paraguay Nightshade

Same as above.


Very green bananas. I hope they ripen before the colder weather starts.

At first, I thought Rhododendron, but I am not sure.

The male Mandarin Duck in all his splendour.

Here you can see the subdued browns and greys of the female, but a white circle round her eye and white stripe makes her most attractive in my eyes.

Here you have a better view of the purple-coloured breast. The male is a fine looking fellow, but he doesn't always look like this. After the mating season his colourful plumage does not return.Instead, his feathers are made up of brown and grey making him look like his female counterpart. Often the only way to tell them apart at this time is to look at their bills. The males retain the red that females lack.

In the Fall, the male will molt again into breeding plumage to prepare for the breeding season, and dazzle with his coat of many colours once more. Look how the white encircles the eye of the female and makes the eyes stand out.

The mottled flanks, and white line circling the beak is most attractive.

I like this photo of the ducks all in a row.

Mandrin ducks are monogamous, pair bonds may continue for many seasons. They symbolize wedded happiness and fidelity in traditional Chinese lore.

Since I took more photos from under the banana leaves, I am including these two photos in this post. These pendulums are the blossom of the banana tree.


 Can you please let me know, if you are familiar with these flowers and at what stage they are ready to bloom.

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