Napoleão, Salgado and Archie

May 29th, 2013

Napoleão & Salgado-7604, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

It’s time I introduced you all to a new addition to the Quinta, Napoleão. He’s the little chap you see in the picture and is now Salgado’s best friend – it’s hilarious to watch them playing together every evening on the lawn.
Napoleão came from a little village, Corte Pequena, out on the Plains where we often stop for a coffee when out birding. I’ve known him for years and always asked the owner that if ever she wanted a new home for him one was available at the Quinta, and a few weeks ago she said “Yes, OK”.
His name then was Loopé, but as soon as he got here and started bossing everyone else around the name Napoleão seemed far more appropriate! He settled in amazingly quickly and is now a much loved friend and firm favourite with all guests.
While I’m here I want to do a plug for an old friend; you will have noted that I don’t do this often so this, being exceptional, must be cool …
Some of you might remember the “Bish Bosh Boys”, Tony, Keif and Vern, from way back when … well years and years ago!
Keif now has a band and they’re very good. They’re called Pimlico Road and their style is “a totally different sound, acoustic americana/country vocal harmony”. Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pimlico-Road/128770147180009?sk=app_2405167945 and their web is http://www.pimlicoroad.co.uk They’re hitting it big now with a new EP in the offing. You should have a listen and sign up for their mailing list. I especially like their song, “Juliana” which you get for free when joining. Remember you heard it here first!
And, talking of listening to stuff, I woke this morning to the song of a Nightingale. Nothing unusual about that at the Quinta, but this song sounded different, foreign somehow. Opening my eyes I realised it was Daniela listening on her computer to a link sent by a friend to us. Very poignant.

Nightingale glimpsed through dense cover photo Nightingale-0176_zpse5f72fe5.jpg

The BBC were doing a live recording of bird song from a Surrey garden on the evening of 19th May 1942 and they inadvertently picked up the sounds of a bomber raid departing. Here it is, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_MHqW5KVds
It got me thinking of all the current fuss about the UK and the EU and how in our family mine is the first generation that hasn’t been in the Forces as there has been no major European war. I put this down to the EU, the Common Market, “Europe”, call it what you will. Moreover I am married to an Austrian, we live in Portugal, we’re bringing up children of five different nationalities or “part-nationalities” and we’re able to give really wonderful holidays to people from all over the world … that is also due to the relative peace we have enjoyed over the last 60 years.
No matter how much we might dislike the idea of “losing our sovereignty” and “big brother” – and I dislike it just as much as anyone! – it’s worth bearing in mind … and being thankful for.

A field of Vipers Buglos and other wild flowers

May 11th, 2013


A field of Vipers Buglos-7317, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

I know I go on about it on this blog, but really, look at this picture and tell me you wouldn’t!
I’m just lucky enough to be able to get out there pretty well every day and appreciate them!

Athena cacti-0493

May 6th, 2013

Athena cacti-0493, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

We’ve been doing an awful lot of birding – and nature-watching in general – over the last few weeks here at the Quinta, (you can see full updates and photos on our Birdwatching site), but one owl we didn’t expect to see was this one we found in one of our local villages!

One of my favourite species!

April 28th, 2013

Collared Pratincole-5282, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The Quinta is running on “Bird Power” at the moment and I never seem to be at home, but the benefits are obvious when one gets to see beautiful species like this gorgeous Collared Pratincole we were lucky enough to be pointed towards by a friend this morning.
There’re loads more pictures and all the latest news about the natural world nearby on my birding site if you want to take a look.

Vipers Buglos, Erouca and Cork Oaks 6753

April 20th, 2013

Vipers Buglos, Erouca and Cork Oaks 6753, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

It’s a busy, busy, busy time here right now with Spring in full blast and flowers everywhere as you can see from the photo above and the two below.
I seem to be out birding every day starting at silly o’clock, but I never get bored of seeing sites like these and with the birds showing brilliantly as well and nearly all back from migration it’s never dull! There’s only two species that haven’t got in yet as far as I can tell, Golden Orioles and Melodious Warblers, but they’re both due any day now … the Rollers got in a few days ago and I’ve already been able to get a beautiful shot of one in flight which I’ll post on my birding site – so if you can’t get down here to see them in person and want to see the brilliant blues that they only show in flight, that’s the place to go!

Vipers Buglos and Camomile Daisies 6749

April 20th, 2013


Vipers Buglos and Camomile Daisies 6749, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

Lupins and Windmill 6734-2

April 20th, 2013


Lupins and Windmill 6734-2, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

New Terrace and Covered walkway-6740

April 3rd, 2013

New Terrace and Covered walkway-6740, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

In my last blag sometime in january i mentioned that we were having a lovely damp period … well, it can stop now …. PLEASE, OK? It just doesn’t seem to have stopped for the last six weeks or so …
Now, for us that live out here full time that’s OK, and even better for those of us who have the good fortune to live actually at the Quinta as we see the lake filling up, but it’s as near as dammit full now and it’s starting to interfere with our birding programs so, as I said before, please stop now.
As well as the lake filling up beautifully, Spring this year is going to be stunning and the flowers are out in force, and I’ve posted up a stunning picture of a wild flower meadow on my birding site if you want to take a look. The picture at the top of this post is of our new terrace and covered walkway – which has really come into its own with the weather we’ve been having recently!

Wetter weather is just hunky dory!

January 23rd, 2013

Fire Salamander-0366, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

For a couple of weeks now we’ve had a spell of lovely wet weather, which, though mud-inducing in the short term gives the promise of a beautiful Spring on the way.
Daniela and I have been making the most of the damp soil and clearing the footpath up Lavender Hill on the way to Cortes Pereiras so that our walkers will have an easier go of it later on.
It hasn’t been cleared for donkey’s years as fewer and fewer people need to use it, so it’s been quite a job and our hands are cut to ribbons, but we came across the Fire Salamander above this morning which was a nice surprise. They’re territorial but quite harmless and display their inedibility clearly, so the dogs kept well clear of it!
For those who are interested in the environment there’s an update on the Salgados situation on my Birding Blog.
Basically there’s going to be a public presentation of Finalgarve’s “Environmental Park” at 11.00 on 4th February in Silves Biblioteca and I urge everyone who can to be there so that we can make ourselves heard.

21,000 signatures in Lisbon-5945

January 9th, 2013


21,000 signatures in Lisbon-5945, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.