It doesn’t rain in the Algarve very often, but in January, due to its close proximity to the Atlantic we can have some real heavy rain.
The last 2 days have been no exception and it’s not uncommon to see heavy showers at this time of year. Yesterday we saw some incredible heavy, often thundery showers roll in from the West coast. Of course, this is great news for a country that can live on the edge of drought. This is not only good for our local area’s wildlife and human demands, but of course, the Odelouca flows into the Barragem de Odelouca which provides the majority of drinking water to the Algarve.
The River Odelouca that runs through our land is just about in flood and the road bridge is now a ford which is not uncommon this time of year. Of course, it baffles hikers who are following one of the Algarve Walking Trails that crosses here!
After more torrential rain overnight thanks to Storm Felix, the River than runs through our land has again flooded. So today I took the drone up to get a birds eye view.
Just 10 days ago the river was still dry from last summer. In just these 10 days it has flooded twice due to the deluge of rain. It’s the River Odelouca which feeds the Odelouca Barragem, the main drinking water supply for the Algarve, so the water is very welcome apart from the flooding which will cause some issues for the wildlife living around the banks.
Keep a look out after 30 seconds, you can just make out the Fox Hole on the side of the track on the left where the water level has reached, hopefully it won’t flood the den.
Last night we finally had the rain that was promised and then some more to make sure.
It rained in almost Ark-building proportions. A persistent, heavy downpour for many hours. Although not enough to get the river flowing, it has had a very welcome change to the riverbed.
As you can see, Princessas´s (our resident Kingfisher) territory has been filled. The two water pools that she has been fishing in has turned into one very large pool. You can see the perch in the centre of the photo, the brown-coloured water shows the outline of the existing pool that was drying up. This is just dust that has washed in and will settle very quickly.
Although we’ve had the promise of a few days heavy rain, they have turned out to be a couple of heavy showers. Nothing to make any difference to the land.
The landscape is starting to turn green where grass is growing due to overnight dew, however, nothing like last year.
The river remains dry, very dry. This time last year we the river was running due to adequate rain as the following comparison photos show. Look at the difference of grass on the left riverbank and the colour of the hills behind.
Even the small river pools formed in deeper sections that provide water and food for the local wildlife (including “Princessa” our resident Kingfisher) are starting to empty. This comparison photo shows the effect just 4 weeks of warm dry autumnal weather has had on the pools.
Only speaking from a totally selfish point of view, the pools on section of river running through our land is becoming extremely dry. However, from a locality point of view, there is still plenty of water and (hopefully) a food source for the local wildlife. There are many Barragems (small man-made reservoirs) which remain at good levels and there are further, larger, river pools. There are many other parts of Portugal that are in desperate need of rain but here in the Hills of the Algarve, although we will be welcoming sustained rainy days, it’s not critical yet. That being said, it’s about time the river started!
As I type, the forecast is showing the next 2 days to be persistent rain, we’ll wait and see.
I just happened to look at the image I captured on the Bushnell NatureView tonight and noticed something…….
Take a look at these 2 images, what do you see differently?
Apart from the quality differences, there seems to be something very obvious, I don’t think they are the same Kingfisher.
The shot on the left from the Bushnell NatureView seems to clearly show a red lower beak whereas the shot on the right only has a slight colouring as I established this is a young female who’s beak is yet to turn red.
Kingfishers are very territorial so I suspect these photos are of mother and daughter. Only time will tell as I spend more time in the hide.
I’ll keep you updated.