Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fun’n'games

Monday, August 13th, 2012

IMG_4614-2, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

I’m off to the Birdfair tomorrow so just thought I’d leave on a high - and what could be higher than mucking around over the lake in a Microlight, courtesy of Dave and Karen from the Algarve Airsports Centre based down in Lagos.
They regularly pop up to take our guests out for a spin here and there’s really no better way of seeing just how large the lake is, so if you fancy getting up there with the birds drop us a line!
Talking of the Birdfair, it runs next Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Rutland. I’ll be on Stand 93 in Marquee 4, “Birding in Portugal“, and’ll be giving a lecture about Salgados on Friday at 17.00 so if you want to find out the current state of affairs and have a chat, it’d be great to see you there!

Mosquitoes Rule!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I saw a great quote the other day on Facebook; it went, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”.
It’s so appropriate right now I quote it again, as our little petition to try to save Salgados has had the most amazing effect!
We started the petition because we thought someone had to stand up and say “ENOUGH!” and if no-one else was going to, well, it might as well be us, but we never thought that it’d be as successful as it has been. It’s gone right around the world – and then some – continues to grow and grow and has had really great consequences.
First of all, it’s raised awareness of the issue and put Salgados on the map as far as a groundswell of opinion against further development of this fragile area is concerned, but it’s done much, much more.
The water levels at the lagoon are rising to where they should be at last, (though unfortunately too late for this year’s breeding success as a great number of birds didn’t make it), and as far as rockets under “competent authorities” backsides are concerned, it’s been as great a success as any I’ve ever known. APA, the Portuguese Environment Agency, put out a press release the other day in an attempt at Damage Control, blaming the water loss on a single farmer … this was quickly picked up by the press and shown to be a fabrication and distortion of facts. APA’s already dubious competency took yet another knock. It also became common knowledge that, notwithstanding an agreement of management having been signed with SPEA and the RSPB over four years ago, they have yet to even install a meter for the neighbouring golf course – so have no way of knowing how much water has been taken by that entity, despite saying that they have taken 30% less water this year than last. The publicity engendered by the petition has shown APA in a very bad light indeed, and I sincerely hope that lessons will have been learnt.
Another good thing to have come out of the petition is a letter from the Ramsar Convention to the Portuguese Government. This is really quite an achievement and has been generated uniquely by the raised awareness granted by the petition.

There have been some organisations that have really helped the petition along the road, principally of course Avaaz themselves, (so if you haven’t joined their organisation I suggest you do), but notably also the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust that have pulled out all the stops to grant it more publicity, so a very big thank you to them and to SPEA too who are right there and have been since the beginning.

We had a meeting last night chaired by Almargem and there were representatives from Quercus, the LPN and SPEA as well as several concerned individuals like myself and members of the local press. Amongst other actions, we’re going to invite the Portuguese President, who’s coming on holiday just down the road in a few week’s time,  for a quick view of Salgados itself and the neighbouring, empty and derelict resort … I wonder whether he’ll reply!

So, what happens now?

Well, the effort continues, so if you have friends who haven’t yet signed the petition, beat them around the head until they do, that’s the first thing! Only with the petition growing steadily but surely can we give the NGOs the tool with which to fight for greater protection of the site and a rescindment of the building permission already granted. This is seriously important.
Next, if you’re in Portugal come along to Salgados on the 6th August at 14.00 and join our protest – the more the merrier. We’ll be at the Dunas Café on the western edge – and if you know any members of the press do tell them about it!
Now I have to do just that, so see you there!

Female Montagu’s Harrier in early morning sunlight

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Female Montagu’s Harrier in early morning sunlight-4360, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

The Save Salgados Petition has had to take a little bit of a back seat during the last few days as I was already booked as a Birding Guide pretty well solid this last week.
The petition hit 10,000 yesterday evening just three weeks after it was started and the response has been terrific; thank you all so much for signing and sharing.
I wish I could have shared this beautiful Montagu’s Harrier with you as a better way of expressing our gratitude, but here’s a picture of it anyway.
We also had amazing views of a family of Bee-eaters feeding their chicks and I’ve posted up some piccies on my Birding Blog if you want to see them.

Salgados 6.7.2012.jpg

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

IMG_0262.jpg, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

This is Salgados right now … officially “protected” as a Wetland Bird Sanctuary of prime importance, but in fact completely dry! Just sun-baked earth … no Life at all.

If this is what full protection means now, what hope have we if the “development” of the area goes ahead as planned?
It’s a disgrace that Portugal is currently promoting itself as a location for Nature-based holidays while allowing the degradation of a unique area like this to be despoiled in an erroneous grab for tourist dollars.
Please sign and share our petition to help the NGOs concerned get proper protection for this vital area … once it’s developed it’ll be gone for ever …

The Quinta is awarded another Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2012, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

We’re very proud to be awarded the above, but thankful too to all of our past guests who have taken the time to let Tripadvisor know what they think, so a very BIG “Thank you” to all of you!
We hope to see you back here soon!

The RSPB and SPEA both support our petition!

Wednesday, 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

Saturday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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.