Showing posts from June, 2012

Heat from Africa

For the best part of a week a southerly airflow has brought in the highest temperatures of the year so far. We live nestled beside a gentle hill, surrounded by trees in an area locally acknowledged as having its own moderate microclimate, always a few degrees cooler than the town of Trujillo, just a few kilometres away. That being said, the mercury in the thermometer in the shade just outside the kitchen door has been hitting 38 degrees Celsius most afternoons over the last few days. With Patrick's school term now finished, we are now in full summer mode! In more exposed areas, the temperature has been reaching 40 Celsius and what many people do not realize, the temperature here hits the highest point for the day in the summer at about 6 or 7 pm. The early morning (sunrise here is just before 7 am at the moment) offers perfect conditions to be out, but inexorably the heat builds up. By early afternoon one is driven indoors. This is when we are glad of the local vernacular arch

Snug beneath the brambles

The brambles were starting to spread out from the shade of the quince tree towards the row of onions in our small vegetable garden, so armed with pruning shears I set out to tidy them up. A distinctive high pitched alarm call was coming from a few metres away, a Nightingale. I had heard this on previous days on my routine visits to tend the vegetables. As I moved the brambles away, a slight movement caught my eye. I looked more closely and to my astonishment there was a neat grassy cup on the ground, amongst dead leaves, tilted slightly and containg four tiny naked, blind nestlings. It was the first time I had seen a Nightingales's nest and what was more surprising was it was no more than a couple of metres from the water tank, the focus of my daily visits since the vegetables now need watering every day. Unseen by me, the Nightingales had built the nest, laid a clutch and sat and incubated them. The brambles had provided excellent cover. I gathered the cut bramble and placed