We rather enjoyed the new trail we had found so we decided to repeat it as the sun was shining and a lovely friend was joining us. The trail begins at Foz de Odeleite but quickly moves away from the river mouth and the village up into the hills. The views of the Guadiana across into Spain are glorious.
Our attention back in April though was on the bird life. Wherever you looked there was something to observe, no wonder our walks have to be limited to under 10miles. We are forever stopping and enjoying what is around us, if we attempted longer we would need to start at dawn. Sometimes I manage to capture our observations perfectly, other times it doesn’t quite go to plan.
All of the above, even the ones in the blurry shots (less blurry here), are regular sights on our walks in the late spring. The one below though was something different for us. It is the Wood Lark; Portuguese name Cotovia-arbórea. It is resident and common throughout Portugal, however we had not knowingly spied one before. Just look at its back toe!
It wasn’t just the birdlife which was demanding our attention at this point. The young one on the right couldn’t make his mind up if he wanted to say hello or chase us off!
One of the reasons we love this circular walk is that there are so many moments when you simply have to stop and enjoy.
We actually stopped far longer than these two photographs would suggest as the many colours, shapes and sizes of spikes and bracts of the lavender fascinated us. They looked so different suggesting perhaps different species or at least hybrids.
However all of the books I have describing wildflowers in the Iberian peninsula only refer to four species, and two sub-species;
Lavandula stoechas (French/Spanish lavender); subspecies lusitanica and pedunculata
Lavandula viridis (Green lavender)
Lavandula multifida (Cut-Leaved lavender)
There is no mention of hybrids. Yet most of these don’t seem to fit the botanical descriptions. I am sure most of them are either stoechas or pedunculata, but the variety of spikes and bracts I find confusing. The only one I feel confident about identifying is the Green Lavender.
If anyone out there is a lavender expert, I’d love to understand which is a true species, which a hybrid, and which a sub-species. Please leave a comment below. In the meanwhile let’s continue with the walk!
The second half of the walk is in the valley and takes in the third river – Riberia Foupana. Like the Guadiana and Odeleite the Foupana is tidal, consequently it can be confusing as to whether or not you are walking up or down stream, plus of course it is not unheard of to confuse the Foupana with the Odeleite when walking here. Fortunately we have walked here sufficiently to know where we were, and didn’t make the mistake of crossing the ford as we didn’t quite have time for the full circuit today. Our friend did go for a little paddle at the ford crossing!
Leaving the ford behind we followed the usual path along the eastern bank of the Foupana and then on the northern bank of the Odeleite. This section we know well and I have regularly shared posts with you on it, which is why I am only sharing a brief description today. There were a few lovely surprises.
I do hope you have enjoyed this excursion as much as I have, and if you do know anything about lavender please do get in touch! This amateur botanist would be delighted to learn. Please also drop me a line if you have an online collection of Algarvian walks. We return to the Algarve this week and so I plan to update my walking map and would be great to include links to your favourite walks too.