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Showing posts from March, 2014

As March unfolds

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There is unanimity, even amongst those of my neighbours who are shepherds or casual farm workers and can normally be relied upon, by default, to have some issue with the weather, that this spring has been a wonder so far. Until the last couple of days of fresh northerly winds, our recompense for the rain and gales that challenged all of us during the late winter has been an intensity of green in the landscape, set off against blue skies, sunshine and touches of warmth. The countryside has been a jewel, as the photo of my beloved Almonte shows, with the swathes of water crowfoot bordering the mirror-like river.

The sequence of spring colours has commenced, the yellows dominating the pastures, with marigolds and crucifers forming a sheen across the meadows, set off with the vivid splashes of Hoop Petticoat Narcissus, usually like a shower of bright sunny yellow, but sometimes too in the densest of groups, like a fanfare of trumpets.

Walks across the countryside now in Extremadura becom…

Largely about larks

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It is probably almost impossible to be out in open country in Extremadura, at any time of the year, and not to see and hear larks. Indeed, the choice of those two sensory verbs is too restricting, because larks are more like constant companions: there are times when it is much more than seeing and hearing, suggesting the successful outcome of a search, larks actually embrace one. They enter moments of solitude, gently drawing one out of introspection, like messengers of life itself. Many times a lark will be singing from flight, so high above that it can take minutes to track the circling bird against the blue sky, and all of the time we hope that it will choose to continue its song, to give us a chance to detect it before it vanishes from view.

Particularly in the traditionally-farmed plains, larks are common birds in Extremadura and we can enjoy the presence of five species in the spring and summer, and five species too in the winter. There are six species in all, with the winterin…