Posts Tagged ‘nature reserves’

Hospital and Me

20140516_121451An Update (via my assistant) lol.

Well as I think I told you two weeks ago I had a phone call from the hospital informing me that the operation on my hand was scheduled for 8th of August (yesterday).  Having my instructions and tablets for the night before I was well prepared.  The only thing was our daughter has been staying with us and yep you guessed it, that was the day she was going back. But like her old dad she had a cunning plan, up to Barcelona Sunday stop in hotel by the station and catch the train in morning relaxed no hassle.  So Sunday found us driving up to Barca on a hot sunny morning, chatting about all sorts of things (well cricket actually). We have been listening to the test match on line best sports/comedy show going, anyway I digress.  We arrived saw her into the hotel said our goodbyes and headed home to find England had won the match.

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We stopped at Club Nautique for a drink and something to eat. I do like this club it’s a place where people who sail go, they are friendly and the atmosphere is happy. Here as you enjoy your drink and meal you look out over the river, see the various birds swooping and diving after insects. All against a summers evening of colour and tranquility whilst you watch the boys and girls training for the regattas. Lots of hard work goes into all this but also laughter plus their families are there to support them, a true sailing club. One last Coca-Cola then we headed home to my medication and preparation for the next day.

I Can’t Play the Piano…Or Caught in The Act!!!

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Well Monday dawned early and we arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. As it was a ‘day surgery’ I didn’t need a hospital bed just a reclining ‘trolly chair’ wonderful. The other thing that really impressed me was how the family is included in everything, mind you it really freaked my wife out when the surgon spoke to her after my op, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So there I am ready for theater, in comes the trolly and off we go. When I get there my surgon asks if I wanted to go to sleep or stay awake – stupid question to ask a writer – stay awake I said, the writer in me wanted to see what was going on. So a torneque was placed round my arm and I was wired up to a couple of machines, then an anethsetic was injected under my arm and a few minutes later we were off.  I won’t go into detail but I really found it facinating and the surgical team were very good. I had two lots of liquid pain killers and a saline drip and when it was over I actually nodded off and it was then that my wife got her fright.

In the UK if the surgeon personally calls you into a room it’s usually bad news, so imagine her reaction when mine did just this. All the poor woman could say was “whats wrong? where’s my Michael?” confused the hell out of my surgeon for  few minutes. When she explained why he assured her all was well then went into great detail of what he had done. He was totally amazed that the families were not included in things in the UK, then told her I would be going back to the room in a few minutes and they would call her, AND THAT GIRLS AND BOYS IS HOW HOSPITALS ROLL IN CATALUNIA! I was a little wobbly but after a wander round, speaking to friends and doing a bit of shopping, I was driven home tired but happy. Tablets for pain, to help me sleep, and antibiotics along with instructions and a chart of when to take them are all sitting on the kitchen table, simple really.

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The Boys were shouting as our daughter used to sit in my wife’s office and talk to them so I showed them my bandaged arm they were not amused, didn’t like that but they are now taking to me through the sitting-room window where I am sat at my desk reading through my latest book.

Well that’s my adventure over for a while – I hope – will hand you back to my ‘blogger’ for updates on our Forest Life.


(c) M.D.Bosc – Author














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It is that time of year again, when all the birds start their nesting. Now the winter has been rather mild so far which means we have seen the birds earlier than normal.  This morning I woke to see a rather fat bird about the same size as Boris sitting in the olive tree outside the bedroom. 

Now this bird is, I think, a Mistle Thrush.  It’s brown with a cream coloured chest and the markings looked to be in lines. It was just sitting there totally unconcerned watching as the Great Tits and Robin’s as they looked for insects in the branches.   On my way through to the kitchen I saw ‘Bobbin Robbin’ sitting in the almond tree looking as fat and cheeky as ever doing a somewhat subtle bob.  It took some time for me to realise that Bobbin was watching the new comer,  well I thought, are we in for feathers or does this new  ‘kid on the block’ have just a bit more than looks. 

Well that was at the beginning of the week. since then he has joined the ‘Gang’ and can be as bossy as Boris, but I have noticed that Boris is rather respectful to ‘Spector (yes my wife named him) and goes to the olive tree to have a tantrum.  As for Bobbin Robbin he does not take any notice of ‘Spector but, if Mrs ‘Spector arrives he makes himself scarce along with ‘Spector himself.  So I know who really rules here. 

As usual my wife gave him a name  ‘Spector Thrush.  When I asked why she said “well he watches the others very closely and with his colouring he blends in with the scrub”.  Can’t argue with that, but I caught him face on this morning and he  just stood and stared at me, mmm I wonder, is there something  there I should watch out for???

Dum diddy dum dum dum dum dum  dahdah da da da…..

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A Purple Heron Lift-off

It’s lovely on the nature reserve at this time of year, I had heard about the storks but never actually been to see them for myself.  Then a friend took my wife to see it, she came back with all sorts of information and photographs that eventually I went with her to see for myself.  The nature reserve is in Flix, and runs along the river bank towards Riba-roja d’Ebre where they have now made a driveable road from the bridge at Riba-roja to Flix.

Entering from Flix you drive alongside the river for a while then come across the nature reserve information centre.  A small building where you can find as much information, literature as you want, see displays and purchase souvenirs, outside are covered parking places plus places for the disabled this is a well thought out reserve.  It is staffed by friendly, welcoming people, who are not only eager to get people interested in the reserve and nature, but also encourage people to come back plus all the written information is available in several languages.  Groups are welcome there are even guided tours in a horse-drawn cart so you can see the reserve  more easily.

Hidden behind the centre are the two hides. To get to them you walk along a path then raised duck boarding, this offers you views of the reeds, wild waterside flowers and trees. On the left you find the first hide, this overlooks a small marshy area surrounded by reeds with water running through. The best time to visit here is autumn through to spring, as the reeds are not tall enough to hide the view.  But even in early summer there is still plenty to see, if, you are patient.

The second hide is at the end of the duck board. This is facing a wide area of water, reeds and marsh. Here can be seen Purple Heron, King Fishers, Mallard, Osprey, Black Kite and if, our birding friend tells us, you are really lucky a Bittern or Spoonbill plus many more.  Then turning back to the Centre, you can walk along the road for about 3k  to the Storks,  if you have difficulty in walking long distances you can drive there. But either way do go slowly or you will miss an awful lot.

The Storks

Each year I stand and watch the humans as they wander by, ohhing and ahhing as they look at others flying in the sky.

I can see from here to there and watch my mate our nest repair, our neighbours stand tall and still.

With only the clacking of their bills, they talk and comment on the humans with their cameras poised.

School children adults some making lots of noise, but here I stand still as a stork my name Lork the Stork.

From our nests we scan the ground to see if danger is around, then off we fly in search of food to feed our mate or hungry brood.

The humans here provide nest sites and we build them here at certain heights, on one a camera can be found so they can see us breed.

How we rear our chicks and feed them, watch them grow who slowly turn from bundle of snow into a graceful fully fledged bird.

Then at the end when we depart all thats left are nests high on the perches until next season when we’re back our talking bills going clack clack clack.

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I had been promising my wife we would take a trip to the Delta to try for some photographs of birds and other things for a story I’m writing. So when we woke and found that although very windy the sun was shining and it was warm we decided to go. On the way we passed through an avenue of  Beech trees, it is, in my opinion, a typical continental thing. When they are in leaf  it looks very pretty.  We should have had a warning of what was to come as there were bits of tree’s in the road.  Further on as we neared one of the roundabouts the police were directing all the lorries into a side parking area, ah we thought they are doing a road inspection wrong…  Approaching  the road to go round Amposta, we found the traffic slowing, police and workmen were by the bridge that crosses it and there at the side of the road was the direction sign from the bridge – wind had blown it over the safety rail and down onto the road. 

Avenue of Beech Trees

The drive down there is pleasant. You follow the river Ebro to Tortosa, then on through some of the rice-growing finca’s untill turning right on to the road round Amposta. After this you travel the N340 to St Carles de la Rapita. This is a pleasant little seaside town with a marina, good beaches and some nice restaurants and bars.  We have a favourite Tapas bar and beach bar. So looking for a coffee we headed first to the beach bar which was shut and had also had some slight wind damage. So after watching the men cutting up the tree that had been blown over, we turned and headed along the water front to the Tapas bar, passing the marina and its occupants.

Go Find Your Own Bar


At the bar we had Patatas Bravas, Calamari Romanos, sausage’s, spiced and prawns.  Then we drove out to the Delta and the sea. The route we took was an arc, taking pictures as we went.  Driving along we saw the tractor that is used to plough the rice fields a strange contraption, a sort of military vehicle with slatted  wheels. But it travels over the paddy fields with no problem unlike a normal tractor which would soon get bogged down.  

Rice Tractor

My wife spent a lot of time trying to get a close up of a Marsh Harrier much to our glee it proved to be a real task.  When she crept towards it waited until she was close enough to get a good shot then took off, again and again.  She did get a few distance ones but not close up.

Marsh Harrier


We then came across  this water-mill. Instead of a windmill with sails to pump the water these are in the form of an Archimedes Screw, which pumps the water round the water beds and ditches.  With the little house painted white,  they are both cared for and in working order. It sits on the bank near to an observation hide where you can watch the various birds on the marshes.

Archimedes Screw

The wild life was fascinating.  The shots of waders, flamingos, ducks, heron and seagull were taken from the viewing hut. Several more were taken as we drove back towards the main road, so all in all it was a success.  I even managed to get a shot of the long-horned cattle that graze there.

You Really Wanted a Seagull


 All in all it was a pleasant if windy day.  The Sun was out it was warm 17c and relaxing. So when we reached the N340 we found the wind had picked up a little.  Well, that was an understatement, it had picked up a lot and we had not gone far when approaching a bridge saw just how much.  There on their side were two lorries, a small one and an articulated one. The articulated lorry was on the barrier of the bridge with its window screen smashed from the outside so I suppose they had to get the driver out that way.  I really hope he was ok.  We finished the journey on the flat using the El Perello pass, seeing all the windmills feathered against the wind.   

This brought home just how powerful nature is.

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