Down by the river

Nearly all of our favourite walks are in the Baixo Guadiana, but it is only very occasionally we actually get to walk beside the Wādī Ana, more commonly known as Guadiana. MrB discovered this hike, an extension to an to ‘A Window on the Guadiana‘ a few weeks before the end of our 2018/19 winter sojourn.

A Window on the Guadiana

Beginning in Azinhal it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in the area which had suffered from a fire the previous summer. It was good to see the regrowth as well as very friendly woodpecker enjoying a tree.

There were also some acrobats in the sky, although they were so energetic I never really got much more than a blurred shot!

The Beliche is I think the last of the 30 major tributaries that flow into the Guadiana, it a stunning river valley although this section probably looked far more lush before the reservoir ‘Barragem do Beliche‘ was built.

Mouth of the Beliche

By this point we had left the path we knew well, and were exploring new paths and new views. It was all rather beautiful, but as we soon discovered not a trail to attempt after rains or during a ‘spring’ tide.

The Rio Guadiana at 515miles long is the fourth longest river in the Iberian peninsula, rising in Extremadura in Spain, and flowing out into the Atlantic ocean via Gulf of Cádiz. Whilst most of the Guadiana basin lies in Spain, it is regarded as an international river as for a tiny part of its journey it separates Portugal from Spain.

down by the river

In previous centuries it was a very important trade route, although bizarrely the Romans called it the river of ducks!

We saw very few ducks on it on our hike, and most the birds we spotted were not even river birds. Although for a moment we thought the congregation that flew past were.

Cattle Egrets on Guadiana
Can you see the congregation of egrets?

They turned out however to be Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) rather than Little Egrets, and they joined us and the sheep for lunch!

We eventually dragged ourselves away from the egrets and view and commenced the hike back to Azinhal. The views on the return were not as glorious, but it meant instead I paid far more attention to what was around us.

I was fascinated by the wild carrot (daucus carota). I’ve never really noticed the centre flower before. A perfect attraction it seemed for insects.

Wild carrot

Daucos carota is native to this part of Europe, but has now also naturalised in Australia and North America, and in the latter you may know it as Queen Anne’s Lace. So named because of its lace like features, and the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace! Apparently it can easily be confused with hemlock, so unless you are 100% certain it is probably not a plant to bring home for the kitchen.

It seems so long again now when we walked this, and looking back through my album I wish we were there today. Although it is probably really hot and full of mosquitoes and midges, so maybe not! Hopefully though Jo will like it enough to include it in her next Monday walks collection which will be in three weeks rather than three days as she is away!

Guadiana and the Gulf of Cadiz
Our final view

Posted by

When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same with the addition of catching up with family, friends and organising a festival.

18 thoughts on “Down by the river

Olá!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.