Sapal de Venta-Moinhos. Algarve. 21 March 2018
Where are you, you should be here by now; you always have been in the past. But not this year, not now, and I worry.
The rest are here; or never left this refuge from the crunching, mind numbing world beyond its borders, 'Reserva Natural'.
Black-winged Stilt bark at me like little yappy dogs before setting flight; their too long red legs trailing after them. But never going too far, just enough.
Corn Bunting in numbers I've never seen before. Every dead 'sitty' tree full of their 'jangling keys' call. The last to stop talking in the fast cooling night.
Endless groups of Greater Flamingo filter the water in ever scything motion: three different types of Egret feed stoically and steadily; in and around these ridiculous prancing show ponies.
Vulgar 'shouting' Spotless Starling share the trees with dainty 'twinkling' Serin: an odd mix, whilst above them swoop Pallid Swift and its commoner cousin.
The Magpie is here, ready to start the arms race with you. You parasitise her nest and she's waiting. Another years battle, ready to commence.
But I can't see you nor hear you. Not your usual constant flying, nor your gyrating call. Not your frequent ground hopping 'tail up' trait and fearless persona. Nothing. I can't see you, I can't hear you, I can't find you; because you're not here...