The first swifts have arrived – summer starts here!

The first families of swifts have arrived and are nesting in the cliff face at Carvoeiro, hoovering the air for insects, flashing about at supersonic speed with their flickering scythe-like wings like tiny ballerinas.  Yesterday was the equinox, the breeze is warm and sweet; summer is palpably here.  I’m still waiting for the swallows that come over from North Africa to share airspace with the seagulls which are now getting raucously broody; it’s difficult to sleep beyond 6am.  The swallows’ high pitched squeaks will offset the football hooligan shouts of the gulls.  They don’t bother each other but the gulls are giving any other intruder a hard time; there were a couple of ravens yesterday that got chased away and the kestrels were actively dive-bombed; hawks like eggs which are easier prey than the pigeons that nest in the cliff face.  Farther out at sea are the cormorants that fold their wings and dive vertically into the sea.  The clifftop walk is the scene of crime; a patch of feathers.  Pigeon feathers.  I suspect the kestrels.  We will bring them in for questioning.

The wild irises that started to pop up a couple of weeks ago are now everywhere and the clifftop is looking like an unkempt garden with great swathes of dog daises, tall blue things and low camomile.  Unseen finches twitter in the knotted shrubs. The work on the boardwalk proceeds rapidly; this stretches on the clifftop from the church near my guesthouse to Algar Seco and was funded by the EU to  give full access to all.  Some don’t like it as it will tame the only wild space left in the village but Carvoeiro is almost a tourist theme park anyway and there are plenty of other wild open spaces between us and Benagil and Ferragudo, east and west.

There are worse places to be than the Algarve in March.

 

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