Thursday, 26 March 2009


June was apoplectic on Tuesday morning when she read the BBC News email. There was a story headlined RSPB calls for more UK wind farms. Our first reaction was that we had somehow lost a week and that it was April Fools Day but no, it was still only 24th March. So what on Earth is going on? Is the RSPB finally coming clean about its business partnership with Scottish & Southern Energy? Is it finally admitting that all the accusations that have been made against it over the past few years are true? This unqualified and enthusiastic endorsement of wind farms is otherwise hard to understand from an organisation that is supposed to be about bird protection. It is difficult not to conclude that the RSPB has been ’bought’. Well, whatever they are being paid will have to offset the loss of subscription income that will surely result. We wonder what Peter Condor would make of it all.

Anyway, yesterday we went to have a look at one of these wind farms. It’s in the Serra do Caldeirão and about two hours drive from here. Of course, we were birding really but our all-day trip through the rolling hills and valleys west of Ameixal inevitably took us to the highest point in the area at Mu (577 m above sea level) where wind turbines are currently still under construction. In fact we sat and had our picnic under the shadow of one of these giants. Not to beat about the bush any longer, WE HATE THEM! But the bandwagon is rolling and, with the help of Europe’s largest wildlife charity and all the other vested interests, looks to be unstoppable, so be prepared for one near you anytime soon. Don't expect to see any change to the climate though!

Otherwise it was a lovely, mostly sunny day with Nightingales singing in the valleys, Bee-eaters hawking over the rivers, Subalpine Warblers skulking in the Cistus scrub, Short-toed Eagles soaring, hirundines gathering mud for nest-building and much much more. A very noticeable feature of the day was the continuous passage of Painted Lady butterflies - thousands of them going by all day.

We took a few photographs...

European Bee-eaters

Following the RSPB's lead, Peter got one fitted to his bird...

Red-rumped Swallow collecting mud

Rock Bunting

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