The RSPB and SPEA both support our petition!

July 4th, 2012

Flamingos, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The petition gathers momentum!

Today we managed to get both SPEA, (Sociedade Portuguesa para Protecção das Aves), and it’s better known counterpart the RSPB, to both publish articles with the petition link on their websites. SPEA’s is here and the RSPB’s here.

The petition’s numbers are climbing steadily; 4,320 now, and we should have breached the 5,000 mark by this time tomorrow – so let’s head for 10,000! And after that 20,000! Let’s really show these politicians and property developers that it’s OUR land too!

What next? I’m trying to get the Audubon Society involved and have written to and rung all their Press officers and editors. Does anyone have any contacts?

Also, does anyone have any UK media contacts? If so can you write to them – or if you haven’t got the time to, can you introduce me and I’ll do it? If we can get some Big Hitters involved … any help you can give us would be very gratefully appreciated.

See you the other side of 5 grand!

Avocets at Salgados

June 30th, 2012

Avocets at Salgados-2868, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The Avocets above are regularly admired at Salgados and it’d be disaster if the development as planned went ahead and we lost them there …
Our petition has passed the 2,000 mark already, so awareness is growing of the dire threat that faces Salgados.

This awareness has begun hitting the headlines and various articles have been published already, such as those in the Algarve Daily News, (here), and The Resident, (here), and Birdwatch Magazine who have also written about it (here).

Almargem has also complained officially to the EC; here’s a rough translation of it. There’s even been a Facebook page specially created.
Meanwhile here at the Quinta Daniela and I are writing emails to hundreds of nature-based organisations and publications and all our friends and posting blog entries on our Birding site and Facebook page, so please join us in doing the same if you haven’t already – every little helps and we really are starting to make a difference!

Salgado

June 27th, 2012

Salgado-3655, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

Readers of this blog might remember the sad demise of Sideways a few months ago, and ever since his passing Life here really hasn’t felt the same, especially for the rest of the crowd – Meiktila in particular was missing a friend – so the other day Daniela thought she’d surprise us all with a new puppy, and here he is.
Then came the inevitable, “What shall we call him?” The children were predictably inventive, and when he started munching on water melon rinds the suggestion was “Tudo” as in “Come tudo” or “Eat anything”, but Daniela didn’t like that one.
I of course wanted to continue the tradition of a battlefield name and fought hard, (but with not as much success as real life I’m afraid), for “Kohima” or “Kima” for short, but nobody else liked it.
Finally, yesterday evening over dinner we had a brainwave … with the threat facing one of our favourite birding spots, Salgados, at the moment, we should call him Salgado – just in case we’re unsuccessful in this battle! At least we’ll have a name to remember the area we love now – and hope to continue to be able to do so for years to come too, so if you haven’t already signed our petition to save Salgados – or Péra Marsh as it’s sometimes known – please do so by clicking on the link attached and share on your Facebook page and Twitter as well.
We started this petition 36 hours ago and are just shy of 1,000 signatures already so let’s all get aboard and save this unique and valued area – for us and our children just as much as for the birds, butterflies, dragonflies, moths and mammals for whom it is vital.

Flamingos at Salgados-0471

June 25th, 2012

The picture above was taken at a unique and Internationally recognized wetland Bird Sanctuary called Salgados.

To Portugal’s shame, short-sighted politicians have just reached an “agreement” with a property developer currently facing corruption charges to destroy it entirely by building yet more unwanted hotels – as if the Algarve didn’t have enough already!

I just created a new petition and I hope you can sign — it’s called: Save Salgados, a unique internationally recognized birding sanctuary, from being destroyed!

This issue is very important to us all, and together we can do something about it! If you sign and then share with your friends and contacts, we’ll soon reach our goal of 40,000 signatures and build pressure to get this agreement rescinded.

Click here to read more about it and sign:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Salgados_a_unique_internationally_recognized_birding_sanctuary_from_being_destroyed/?launch

Great Spotted Woodpecker at nest with juvenile 3594

June 15th, 2012


Great Spotted Woodpecker at nest with juvenile 3594, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

A wonderful find down the Secret Valley a few days ago was this Great Spotted Woodpecker nest with nearly mature chicks. Spent a few hours down there now and managed to get this lovely shot.

25 years on …

May 12th, 2012


File0097-straightened, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

Our home, Quinta do Barranco da Estrada, better known as “Paradise in Portugal” has now been running successfully for 25 years.
We started off with pretty well nothing but a few wooden shacks, a dream and some dry, barren land as the picture above shows.
For the past month or so as the date’s drawn nearer we’ve been racking our brains for some way to celebrate this achievement and finally have it!
We’re offering a 25% promotion for any stay of four nights or longer during the three weeks around the 25th week of the year, i.e. anytime between 11th June and 1st July.
Thus a double room will cost a mere 82.50 euros, (approx £66), rather than 110, (approx £88), including, of course, all the standard extras like the boats, sauna and wifi etc.. In these days of austerity we thought that this would be the most appreciated way of celebration!
If you’d like to take this offer up please drop us an email as soon as possible quoting this promotion as we expect the vacancies we still have available to fill quite quickly.
Looking forward to seeing you out here!

Sideways RIP

May 3rd, 2012


Sideways 1 for web, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

I seem to always post good news here, and not surprising really as the Quinta’s a pretty good place to be, but occasionally my natural exuberance takes a hit.
I have to say this last week is one of the worst where that’s concerned as one of my favourite friends passed away suddenly a few days ago after a short illness.
We will miss him here, as I am sure will everyone who ever had the good fortune to meet him. He was the friendliest and most intelligent dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.
We buried him here in the garden he loved and have planted a cyprus tree to mark his grave.
Rest in Peace Sideways; I count myself honoured to have had the chance to know you for so long.

The Jasmine and Wisteria entrance to the Quinta

April 23rd, 2012

Jasmine-and-Wisteria-approach-to-bar-2529, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

This time of year is always in my mind the best here at the Quinta, the last two weeks of April and the first two of May. OK, so it’s not as hot as later on in the year and the lake’s not so warm either, but everything seems to be buzzing with Life, and especially so the entrance to the Quinta as you can see above with the Jasmine and Wisteria in full bloom. It makes it a shame to have to leave it to go out birding sometimes!
We’ve just been written about in another French magazine, this time this week’s edition of “Madame Figaro”, so we seem to be becoming known to our Gallic cousins and I can see I’ll have to polish up my French.
What I also have to polish up is my nursing skills, as Daniela is highly unimpressed with them; she managed to put a knife through her arm yesterday and now has nine stitches holding her together. The Health Centre in Odemira was mercifully empty when we pitched up there yesterday so we were in and out in a jiffy; what wasn’t so impressive was a complete absence of Betadine anti-septic … I hope it’s just a one-off and not a cost-cutting exercise, but I must remember to take our own bottle in there next time to be on the safe side …

Carolina by Antonio Cruz

April 21st, 2012

Carolina-by-Antonio-Cruz-1809, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

It’s a first I think for me to post a photo on either of my blogs that i didn’t take myself, but this is an exception as it’s such a fantastic shot of Carolina.
It’s one of the many ways that we’re lucky here in that the Quinta attracts more and more fantastic photographers to stay and take advantage of the subjects, light and clarity we enjoy.
During the last two weeks we’ve had two such photographers here, Antonio Cruz and Ben Cherry; have a look at their stuff.
Now all I have to save up for is a 1D Mk 4 and a nice little wide-angle ….

Clouds across the lake 0955

April 19th, 2012

Clouds across the lake 0955, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

After one of the driest winters I can remember – we only had 15 minutes rain between August and April – we’ve been blessed with some Spring showers the last few weeks, and the countryside has recovered incredibly fast. The flowers are out, the birds are singing fit to bust and everywhere nature seems to be making up for lost time.
Of course it wont be anything like the Spring we had last year, but it’ll be a hell of a lot better than we were dreading it was going to be.
Obviously we’re very sorry for those unfortunate enough to have booked their holiday here during this unsettled weather, but for those staying during the coming weeks this rain, though not enough to make up for the drought during the winter, has at least salvaged the majority of the flowers – and the cloud formations like the above that we’ve enjoyed during the last fortnight have been stunning!
For those interested in the natural world, remember that all the latest birding news is posted on our birding website.