Wednesday 26 April 2023


Alentejo is the only region in Portugal  chosen as a winter destination by the cranes of Northern Europe.They spend winter in Alentejo, in dense Holm Oak forests, wet areas, with little slopes and torrential streams. Here the food is plentiful and they can better prepare themselves for breeding a few months later when they return home in March to April. Here are a few photos from the archives taken in the Alentejo  some ten years ago, but I only discovered them when I found the stork post. Unfortunately I remember that the sky was grey on the day, and the images are quite dark, which is a pity because they are elegant large birds with beautiful plumage.


Cranes are one meter tall, with blue grey plumage, and a red spot on the head. I was well hidden behind a large Holm Oak tree when I took these photos and they are well cropped, but I was very lucky to get a photo of this Crane when it moved nearer to the tree.

Wednesday 12 April 2023


On scrolling through my photographs I came upon a post I had meant to share a few years ago of White Storks in the Algarve. I have posted about storks before, but not with these photos. Here they are with more information. 

After we arrived in Vau, we set out to purchase some provisions from the nearest supermarket. As we travelled from Vau to Portimão we saw storks perched on almost every lamppost by the road side. I can't imagine why they perch on such a busy road with heavy traffic.

It seemed so odd to see them. These photos were taken from a moving car

White Storks have made the Algarve their permanent home. Storks from all over Europe that used to migrate to Africa, flock to the Algarve and stay here all year.

Storks nest on high chimneys of the regions former factories. These factories are protected, and it is unlawful to knock any down.

Their nests are enormous and besides chimney's the Storks build their nests on telephone poles, church towers, and trees.

Portuguese law protects the nests, which are made of sticks, twigs, branches,and grass. Storks are faithful to their spouse and to their dwellings.The same nests are used year after year.

This is the same tower as in the three previous images, but just enlarged a little. Here you can see just one chick, I'm not quite sure what is happening in the first image! There seems to be at least four White Storks in the nest. 

Another chimney, and another nest.

Another chimney and a lopsided nest.

Another closer look at the stork which is mute from birth. Storks communicates by body language, and clapping their beaks, bill clattering.

Here they have built a large nest on a light fixture.

I took this shot from the other side of the nest, which was in the centre of a roundabout.

In April the female usually lays five eggs. Both parents share the task of sitting on the eggs,  feeding the babies, and protecting them from danger. 

We were driving past this field full of storks in their nests, when I quickly took a shot through the window. Although blurred you can, see them. 

We later went in search of the field, and I took many photos, which I shared in an older post, but I did not share this one taken in the field.

I was surprised to see a Stork on the beach, it somehow didn't look as if it belonged there, however they now nest among coastal cliffs. and you can see them on the western cliffs of the Algarve. This behaviour is a relatively recent adaptation, and Portugal is the only known country that harbours White Storks at sea.

Friday 7 April 2023


This week the men who work on the farm came to cut down my bougainvillea. It had been a showy shrub of great beauty until last year, when I first noticed a ghastly fungus that spread rapidly over the summer months, and the once radiant bougainvillea began to show signs of deterioration, with only a few flowers, and no new growth. With regret I knew that this once beautiful shrub  had to be cut down this year.

I still have to find out what kind of fungus killed my Bougainvillea.

It took my foreman an hour and 30 mins to chainsaw through the thick trunk where he started to cut it down, and the wires holding it in place.  It was difficult to saw through the wood, and sawdust was flying everywhere. That is why there are no photos of this procedure as I stayed away to protect my eyes

There were a lot of branches and debris, and because of the lethal thorns, they had to be handled with care, however both my foreman and his helper got injured, and the thorns drew blood. 

The men came early morning to do this job, as the afternoon temperature is now 40 degrees. Stifling heat with not a breath of wind, which I am not yet fully prepared for. The sudden change makes me feel lethargic,.. 24 degrees is more to my liking.

They pulled and tugged to pull the branches at the top, but they were tightly bound together and only began to move when they attached a rope to the tractor and my foreman accelerated with force, until it all fell down. 

This is how it used to look two years ago.

It grew so large, and covered another wall. I will miss my lovely bougainvillea when in it's prime, in good health just two years ago.

Meanwhile the flowers on my balcony are thriving.

The birds bring me joy.

These Dianthus flowers always give a good show every year.

The Great tit enjoys the sunflower seeds.

Just one Lily so far.

I love this splash of orange in the corner of my balcony..

I place some peanuts inside the planters for the squirrels to find them....

and the Robin flies down to the tiled floor to eat the chopped nuts and cake crumbs. It will also eat the sunflower seeds, but these are inside a planter, so that the husks fall inside, and don't make a mess on the floor.

This is the naughty rascal that stole the base of my feeder. I can differentiate this particular squirrel from the others because of its large tufts that tilt backwards. They look like the wind is blowing them, but it's not so, as they grow naturally this way.

Another Squirrel, just arriving

I didn't prepare an Easter post, but because this Sunday is Easter Sunday, I'm including the Passion Flower, as a reminder of the Crucifixion. I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family. Blessings to one and all.

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