As you are probably aware, we had a large wild wire start very close to the Quinta one week ago (Blog Posts : Day 1 & Day 2). One week on and all that remains (apart from the odd smouldering areas) is a totally devastated area.
Although a large fire, this fire is not on the same scale as some previous fires (you may remember my video Consequência from 2018), however, having it so close to your home really enforces the reality of how serious these fires can get.
I have made a short film to bring you the scenes of the devastation these fires cause. Although this area will recover in time, the many Cork Oaks that have been destroyed can not be replaced in for a generation. It is not until you view the size of the area from above that you realise just how quickly an area can be destroyed and when I first saw these scenes it really made it a reality on how lucky we were to have the wind moving this in the opposite direction to the house.
I have also taken the opportunity to raise some awareness for the fantastic voluntary work the “Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal” that Debby Burton and her team (of which I am proud to be a committee member) carry out to support both the local community and the amazing Bombeiros (firefighters). Please visit the Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal Website for more information and of course, donations are always welcome.
There is some information about some of the scenes below the film. Just for your info, the film does start silent until the title screen.
I was enjoying a peaceful breakfast outside now that the fires have gone and a nearby Eucalyptus Tree had a pair of juvenile Golden Orioles calling for their parents. These will be from this year’s brood.
They were a bit far away, but managed to grab the camera and get these two shots.
After checking around midnight, I went to sleep knowing the fire was under control. This morning, they have done an amazing job to tame it and now just hot spots remain on the ground.
Air support was back dropping water on the hot spots and also a small flare up when the wind suddenly changed to a Southerly, as forecast. However, it looks like it is now under full control and currently there are no active fronts burning.
The photos show both the devastation to the local Cork Oak Trees and also some of the amazing Bombeiros and Pilots still at the scene. Some photos may appear to be slightly out of focus, they are not this is the incredible heat haze rising from the torched ground.
A few months ago we had lightening hit close to the house and jump through our Earth rods and arched across to the telephone cable causing a lot of damage to electronics attached to our home network. Today, we had what everyone fears living in Portugal, a fire close to the house. It was a big one that got large quickly. It started 1km from the house, but luckily the wind was pushing it away from us. At time of writing this, the fire is still burning, but seems to be under control so hopefully we can sleep easy tonight.
I was at a nearby ridge, in complete safety, streaming a live Facebook video and also managed to take a few photos whilst I was up there. This first one was heartbreaking to see this Bee-keeper rushing to collect all his hives as a small front approached over a nearby ridge. He managed to remove all of the hives before the fire came.
I was disappointed that my Field Trip to Castro Verde was cancelled, but as one person said in response, “The birds will be there next year”, of course. However, as the day was planned, I couldn’t resist taking 2 friends on a quick drive around the area.
I don’t normally do “walkabout shooting” (what I use to describe photography without a plan) except for when I walk the dogs, and as I was driving and it was a day off for me, I didn’t pick the camera up too much.
It was a fairly quiet day but we did get to see the following species worth noting
Black Kites (lots of them everywhere we went!)
Great Spotted Cuckoo
If you have been following me for a while you will know how lucky I am to have Kingfishers living on a stretch of the River Odelouca that runs through my land. Over the last few years, I have been lucky to bring you some beautiful photos of Common Kingfishers and I hope that the adults have successfully bred again this year.
To get everyone in the mood, here is a fresh, previously unpublished photo of a juvenile female from last year. I will soon be looking for some locations to shoot from.