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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Crag Martins to Vultures

We parted company with the  Rio Douro at Barca d'Alva and climbed up on to the
planalto - tableland - of the Beira Alto. This area of Portugal is strewn with boulders and feels remote, the wildflowers are amazing and fill the air with their aroma.
Pigeon houses are spread all over the landscape.They have been used since ancient times to produce Pigeons for their meat and manure, the "pombino." The International Douro Natural Park has been renovating them in recent years, with over one hundred of these important buildings already completed.


Pigeon houses.


Castelo Rodrigo, dating back as far as 500BC, today it has been extensively renovated, under the Historic villages scheme.


A lucky moment, "some may not think so," a Mule has died in a field, the arrival of Vultures must have started yesterday! judging by what was left at that early hour. More circled overhead, this one was very alert but we managed to get close enough to photograph it.



The Reserva natural Serra da Malcata.


From the dam, we are able to observe the delicate Crag Martins searching for nesting materials.


They must be using their find, as a nest lining, the main nest is made of small mud balls.




Occasionally birds were having to protect their finds from plundering comrades.


As we passed Southwards, heading for Alcantara in Spain, the fields were amazing, filled with wild flowers.


It had been raining all day, small water courses were running fast.


Walking a dirt track, we found these Tadpoles in the puddles, hopefully, it continued to rain for them!


It may have been a wet day, nonetheless, it was still full of color and beauty!

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