Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Au revoir time again....

This morning we said our final au revoirs to Glen and Pete, our boating friends from St. Jean de Losne.  It has been a great trip this time and we have spent many happy days together, walking, birdwatching, just generally "hanging around" together,  meeting up and parting quite frequently in a haphazard manner! However, they are moving back east along the Algarve to meet up with some other friends before heading back mid March to their boat in Bourgogne whilst we are heading up the west coast of the Algarve to visit another few of our favourite beaches. Then we plan to see another couple of places we've not been before, after which we will head North East for a quick dash through Spain and France and back through the tunnel on 10th March.

We're on a little campsite at the moment. very pleasant and basic run by a French couple. We've spent the majority of our time "wild camping" near beaches and by lagoons of which we have several favourite spots. We have heard though that the Portuguese police are clamping down on this and randomly turning up at 2.30 am where lots of vans gather and moving them on. One Dutch couple told us they were fined 200€ at one spot, moved on at 3 am but still went back the next day anyway! Must have more money than sense. We've been lucky so far, touch wood!

Dash going nowhere fast!

The birdwatching has been so good this time and we have continued to extend our list. We are not twitchers by any means but we like to look at and for birds whilst doing other things. Any we do see are a bonus like this booted eagle who soared over our heads this  morning.

Booted eagle.....what a beauty

Every Thursday at A Rocha, between Alvor and Lagos a couple of kilometres from our lagoon spot there is an open morning where there are various conservation talks and bird ringing takes place. We went along last week and saw some of their work and listened to a talk about moths. We saw some birds being checked, they had already been ringed previously so were checked for weight and muscle condition. It was an interesting and different way to spend a morning and after tea and cake we pottered on back to our motorhomes. The next day the weather changed and became wet and stormy. On Saturday we had such a downpour, so we headed for the campsite for a hook up and wifi. It meant saying goodbye to our favourite wild camping spot where each morning we looked out of the window to see flamingoes, spoonbills and black winged stilts. Two avocets put in an appearance on some days too. 

Not a bad bedroom view!

Female blackcap just about
to be released
Greenfinch being weighed!
Not very dignified!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Oh no, only five weeks left!!!!

The end of January brought home the fact that we're over half way through our winter in Portugal and what a delight it's been! We often wonder how on earth we used to manage with a two week holiday when we were both working! (I know, I know, we're now spoilt I admit but we were wage slaves for over 40 years!!!). We've booked our return tunnel crossing for 10th March! 

One of our favourite spots and this is
where we are right now!
Praia Boca do Rio 

We haven't driven far since my last update, just backwards and forwards around the same area on the western Algarve. We have found several new places to stay, mostly wild spots which we love not just because they are "free" but because we enjoy the views and the carefree way of life they allow.

Sunrise over "our" lagoon

We've met up with Glen and Pete again occasionally and keep in touch via whats app with them on an almost daily basis; like twitchers we let each other know what birds we have seen. The birding has been a highlight of this trip, we've seen quite a few "new to us" species, helped enormously by the good weather and fantastic light. Species we've never seen before include waxbills and bluethroat both of which we were thrilled to see. 

Birdwatching with Glen and Pete,
the telescope is focussed on an osprey

Clifftop walk overlooking Salema beach
We're back to being able to walk the dogs together again, occasionally it's Old Man Dash (now 12) who gets left behind as he suffers from sore paws and arthritis so he needs a day off now and again.

Pleasant walk over the hillside
at Ingrina

The weather has been mostly fine, we've had a lot of sunny days with temperatures in the high teens, if one can get out of the wind then it's lovely to sit with kindle or audiobook and enjoy the sun and the view. Our new solar panels have worked well keeping our batteries topped up admirably. We've had a few wet/cloudy days when we've needed a hook up or managed being frugal with use of electricity.

Praia do Baranco

Here be flamingoes, spoonbills and avocets 

Breakfast with Glen and Pete in Alvor