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Short-toed-Eagle-2668, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

It’s not every day that a Short toed Eagle drops in to the garden, but it’s lovely to see one so close when one does!
Short toed Eagles feed primarily on snakes and lizards – so our pet Ladder snake, below, had better keep it’s eyes peeled.


Ladder-Snake-2610, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

As the weather changes – at last! – from one of the wettest winters on record and the sun begins to shine and the days heat up, so the reptiles around here are starting to emerge again. This is a lovely Ladder snake, quite harmless, that’s taken to basking on one of the stone walls in the garden.


Bison-2552, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

This week we’ve got Archie back here from Madeira as well as Des and Ron over helping build the new Massage room, but we took a day off to go birding on the Plains … we saw plenty of birds, 60 species I think was the count for the day, but the oddest thing we bumped into was this Bison!


Ilhadasgalinhas-008, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

It’s been a cold winter in the north of Europe with snow and bitter weather making a mockery of the forecaster’s predictions at the end of last year and bringing misery to millions …. but that cold weather up north has meant that we’ve been having a soggy time down here in the south, and it seems to have rained pretty well every day since just before Christmas which the two pictures above and below, (taken from exactly the same spot), illustrate graphically. The lake in front of the Quinta has risen a good 12 mts already and it’s surely going to be full within a few days, even though all the sluices are open and they’re letting out hundreds of thousands of lts a day now.
Surprisingly – though I’m touching wood as I tap away – we’ve had no real disasters here despite the constant deluge, though I must admit we’re all becoming fed up of hauling the pontoon up the shore every morning!
However, in contrast to the north of Europe, where the snow melting brings further misery with slush and mud and then is quickly gone, the rain here during these last few months alters our lives for months and even years to come; the lake will be full again and water problems a thing of the past for the local communities, but, even better, this Spring should be absolutely stunning and the Summer … well, we’ve half the distance to go to have a swim!