Showing posts from April, 2013

Spring flourishes with a memory of winter

The month is ending almost as it began with cool, overcast and wet weather (yesterday even some snow fell in southern Extremadura!), but we have enjoyed superb weather for most of April and today's rain will be passing quickly as May arrives. The photo above shows a Spanish Marbled White butterfly on French Lavander - a glimpse of the colour and life that has been so breathtaking this spring. As I write, the sound of our garden Nightingale comes pouring in through the open kitchen door. Golden Orioles and Red-necked Nightjars are sounds that we are also hearing these days, species that had not yet arrived on migration at the start of the month, and yesterday a Reed Warbler sang quietly in the garden, a bird on passage, taking a few hours rest. Over the last few days there have been other passage birds too making brief apperances in the garden or just beyond: Pied Flycatchers, Willow Warblers and a singing Wryneck. Almost all of our Extremadura breeding species have now arrived

Rewarded by colours

The reward for the relentless March arrived with a fanfare in April. Over the last week or so of blue skies and soaring temperatures, the landscape of Extremadura has rarely been so luxuriant or colourful. I have just completed several days of serious gardening, perfectly timed to weed, clean-up, plant and sow..a week earlier the ground was still too wet, a week later it may have dried-out and the parts of the vegetable garden would have become almost inaccessible. Beside me as I have hoed and raked, a Nightingale has been an almost constant companion, sometimes singing just a couple of metres from where I am working. There can be no other more exuberant, celebration of spring. The spring migrants are now up-to-date with their arrivals. I heard the first Red-necked Nightajars of the year a couple of evenings ago as the stars were starting to come out. How the passage of a few weeks brings such dramatic well as the Nightingales, the sound of Golden Orioles and Bee-eater