Archive for the ‘Montados’ Category

Southern Gatekeeper-5653

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Southern Gatekeeper-5653, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The weather this Spring has been gorgeous, hot sunny days interspersed with a few rainy ones here and there. Wetter than normal and the rain seems to have lasted a great deal later than usual which has kept everything green and fresh.
Loads of food around for all of nature to take advantage of and we’ve had great fun observing it all.
One of the nicest places around the Quinta is the little Cortebrique Valley about three miles away, and I’ve spent many happy hours there during the past few months. It has a mixture of habitats from scrub to grassy meadows to kitchen gardens and fields of maize and wheat to patches of cork oaks and woodland. I’ve posted quite a few pictures of birds I’ve seen there on the Quinta’s Birding website, and it’s sometimes difficult to know where that blog ends and this one begins - or vice versa - but this beautiful Southern Gatekeeper belongs here I think.
There were quite a few of them yesterday in a small patch of wood, flitting about early on in the morning warming up; this is a male.
He’s smaller than the female, (only about 15mm wide rather than 20mm), who lacks that beautiful pattern on the top forewing shown above. The pattern is actually scent glands called androconia that are used in attracting the female. They feed on grasses and like it hot with dappled shade, so the Cortebrique Valley suits them right down to the ground. They fly in one brood from June onwards throughout the summer, extending from Portugal eastwards to Turkey and along the north African shore, though apparently absent from the eastern Mediterranean.
I got most of the above information, including the original id, from Matt Rowlings and his excellent website, so “Thanks, Matt!”. If you’re interested in butterflys I can heartily recommend a visit.

Spanish-Festoon-0019

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Spanish-Festoon-0019, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The warm days of Spring have produced a truly wonderful brood of butterflies this year, and these Spanish Festoons are some of the best. Everything seems to be buzzing at the moment and with the streams all still flowing it really is the most perfect setting for long lazy walks nearby.

It’s that time of year again …

Friday, November 20th, 2009


Daniela-Mushrooming-0622, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

Though we haven’t had any rain to speak of yet - we’ve had one thunderstorm and two days drizzle since May - it’s just damp enough to produce a lovely early crop of mushrooms and we’ve been busy little bunnies making the most of them. A fantastic bonanza of Caesar’s mushrooms, (like the basket-full Daniela has in the picture above), as well as Parasols a-plenty … Wonderful to be able to get out and about in such clean air, warm sunshine and beautiful countryside with the kids and the dogs and grab dinner from amongst the cork oaks!

Red-Deer-20090908

Thursday, September 10th, 2009


Red-Deer-20090908, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

We drove back through a part of Extramadura in Spain, just keeping our eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary, and one of the sights was the above.
Now, before anyone starts having a go at me about the subject being out of focus … take a look through his horns. The wonders of camouflage, eh?!

At the Birdfair

Friday, September 4th, 2009


Bird Fair 09, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The Montados Talk

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I’ve been asked by several people for a copy of the talk I gave at the Birding fair in Rutland last week, and I said that I would post it up here …. but even a précis goes on for ever, and on a blog that’s normally made up of snippets it’ll look wildly untidy, so please, if you’re waiting for it to appear, wait no longer as it ain’t going to happen! Just email me through this site and I’ll send it to you.

Thanks to everyone who came to hear me; some of you traveled immense distances and your efforts of support were much appreciated; next time you’re out here, the drinks, (wine of course), are on me!

At the Birdfair …

Monday, August 17th, 2009

OK, for everyone who reads this blog or who may stumble upon it by accident please note that I’m going to be in the UK next week, principally at the British Birdwatching Fair. I’m going to have the same stand as always, Marquee 4 Stand 97, and sincerely hope to see you there!

I’m also going to be giving a lecture on the Threat to the Montados and what we can all do to save it, (Sunday 23rd August 15.30, Lecture Marquee 2), so I also hope that some of you will be able to make it to that also! I haven’t posted a picture of this as there’re plenty on this blog already, but please come along and have a chat at the Birdfair; see you there!

Little-Owl-(Athena-noctua)-20090609

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Little-Owl-(Athena-noctua)-20090609, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

I wasn’t going to put this picture up on this blog …. I posted it on my birding blog and was going to leave it at that … I mean I see these Little Owls every other day, they’re not that special, but ever since I put it up on to my Flickr Photostream I’ve been inundated with comments so hey, what the heck, if it’s that good I’ll post it here as well! I hope you enjoy it!

The Quinta’s choice of wines June ‘09

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

The Quinta’s choice of wines June ‘09, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

…. the Quinta’s wine choice as organised by Heather! Our ethos here is that all our wines are Portuguese, all of them have real corks, and …. all of them have a bird either on the label or in the name! This third point is very important!
Seriously though, Portuguese wines are gorgeous and we are very insistent that all of ours must have real corks so that we do our bit to keep the Montados alive, which is an absolutely vital industry in our area.