On Tuesday, our main walking day, we decided to return to our favourite section of the Ribeira de Odeleite. The weather was looking superb for a short hike, and whilst half of me is worried about the continued lack of rain here and the impact this is having on the reservoirs and environment, the selfish half was delighted by the glorious blue skies and sunshine. It was warm enough for Tshirts by the end of the walk.
It turned out to be fantastic for birding too. Usually in the hills we lose sight of the birds with milliseconds of them landing in the trees, but on Tuesday the camera and I were in our element. Everything came together, and I managed to take a couple of great shots. Others were less great but I include for our birding memories. Do click on the gallery for names and to see the pictures properly.
One of our joys of returning to the same hike again and again is that we can take the time to notice the changes, and as a lovely friend discovered on her own recent mindfulness stroll you can also spot things you have not seen before.
And don’t forget to listen too! It was like a spring day on Tuesday, and every living thing seemed to be rejoicing. You may need the sound turned up for the final ten seconds to properly hear the bees.
And yes you can hear the beeping of a machine during the second video, it was over a mile away on the other side of the river. They are creating terraces, hopefully not for avocados or oranges but who knows.
Unsurprisingly given the sounds and the sights it took us ages to reach the halfway point, but Moinho das Pernadas also happens to be the perfect picnic spot so it was probably a good job we had taken so long to get here. MrB was more than happy to stop for lunch. The mill was renovated in 2011 but we have never seen it open and it is beginning to look a bit tired these days. EU monies may have restored the mill but unfortunately it would appear there is no long term funding for ongoing maintenance. I think they missed a trick not turning it into a self catering lodge!
We sat here for ages listening to the birds around us and watching the Cattle Egrets on the far bank and a Dab Chick on the river. All adding to the 20 ish species of birds we would identify on the hike, and there were a few more which we couldn’t positively identify. No wonder we had to drag ourselves away from this spot to continue our 6 mile circular hike. Almost immediately we were joined by a buzzard, and the ravens also returned to challenge my camera.
They were not the only birds I photographed on our return, I caught some fabulous ones of cormorants posing with a grey heron and also observed a fascinating territorial battle over a metre of river bank between two common sandpipers. You’re going to have to wait though for another post for those!
Nearly all of our hikes in the Baixo Guadiana are ones we have created using the superb Instituto Geográfico do Exército 1:25000 map series, and we’d certainly recommend this as an approach for regular walkers here. However if you are visiting for the first time or prefer to use guide markers use this site. It has everything you could possibly want to know about the Baixo Guadiana including details of excellent trail walks.