We have wonderful birds on the quinta.  Golden orioles are twelve inches long, JCB-yellow with black wings. A pair sometimes play early in the morning, flying head-to-tail around the pine trees where they live. One of my targets is to photograph them but it’s difficult because they are shy, and they fly very fast aerobatically.

Another target is to clearly photograph the top of a bee-eater. Their size is that of a starling.  They are fast and agile, and they usually fly high. However, two weeks ago I managed to catch these images, taken fifty metres from the birds. In the second picture it caught an insect by flicking its head backwards whilst in vertical flight.

We have a resident colony of perhaps thirty. Their call is like a pea-whistle, so they sound like a school for referees when they come out at dusk to catch their supper, flying high above us in the orange light of the setting sun.

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Yesterday there was a  dead kingfisher on the lawn. The blue feathers on the back are bright turquoise and its beak is as long as my fingers! I thought it may have been a bee-eater which for some reason had no tail, until my bird-watching friend Hugh put me right (thanks!). Puzzling how it came to be there, though . . .

 

The vegetable garden is in full production now. Janet has harvested thirty kilos of tomatoes and sun-dried many of them. We eat a very refreshing gazpacho – a chilled soup of tomato and cucumber – at lunchtime most days, with salad straight from the garden. In this picture the table isn’t blue, that’s the reflection of the sky!

We’ve grown almost 100kg of onions, they are a staple food for us. We use lots of them in curry or with salad so it’s not an excess.

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I wanted to store them in plaits and after reading several articles on the internet I left the onions to dry for a few days then made a plait whilst the stems were green and flexible.

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However as the stems dried they became thinner, more slippery and somewhat brittle, so the plait was not trustworthy to hang and joined the other onions in crates stored in the adega. Really I need the expert tuition of a French onion seller . . . if there are any left.

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