WITH the coming of this warmer weather there is much activity among the birds out here.
The ecologic areas where we live are huge and one of the greatest protected natural habitats for wild birds and animals in Europe. It’s popular with naturalists and birdwatchers alike.
Back in Linthwaite where I lived prior to the move, I never saw much of our feathered friends.
Of course there was the coughing of the starlings in the morning when I set off to work and the bombing runs of the feathered rats around St George’s Square whenever I took the car through town, but anything exotic was down to maybe the odd robin or two at Christmas tugging on the bacon rind.
Don’t you just hate opening the fridge door to find one of them depleting your rashers of Danish!
Out here there are so many varieties of both naturalised birds and immigrants passing through.
Over the winter we have been treated to the sight and antics of magnificent black and white Storks.
Apparently the same pair fly back to the same nest every year and they have one or two chicks each year.
The birds are huge and so are the nests. Both are protected.
The nests are most common on the top of wooden telegraph or electricity poles and must be really heavy.
Not only that, but they catch the wind and the poles end up with quite a list – and not for shopping. Eventually the tops are secured by cables to the ground to stop them toppling and also to prevent the disconnection of phone line or power to whoever lives at the other end of the cable.
It’s so spectacular to see them swooping around, feeding from the land and the marshy areas.
As the chicks grow, the nests begin to look very crowded and they move towards learning to fly the nest. This is the best thing to observe if you’re lucky and patient enough. The whole family is usually gone by the end of May.
As for us here we have swallows, swifts, larks and tits and house martins who ‘do what it says on the tin’ by building their nests in any and every nook and cranny and undefended chimney.
We have European bee-eaters, hoopoes (who make a sound like their name sounds), red legged partridges, the white ibis who do us a favour by feeding on worms and bugs along with many others to numerous to mention.
There are also so many birds of prey from different species of owls through hawks and buzzards up to eagles, all winging their majestic routes over the campo in search of food.
By the way, did you know bird watchers are not ‘twitchers’ any more? I guess too much twitching must’ve scared the birds off!
They are now ‘birders’ and we do get quite a number out here. I did mention to r’lass I was going down The Algarve birding, but she went and hid my car keys!
Graham Denby’s email is Alcaria.Alta@ gmail.com