Tapada das Necessidades, Lisbon, Wednesday Jan 24 2024

[Originally published at iFieldnotes.org]

Daniel Hartley

Wednesday, 24 January 2024

Lisbon, Portugal

In the afternoon I headed to one of my local parks, Tapada das Necessidades, the unruly gardens of a former royal palace. After a short cold snap and a week of rain, the skies had cleared, and the days had grown warm. The temperature reached 18° by mid afternoon.

Field trip photos


Bear's breaches (Acanthus mollis) dominates where the ground is untended, crowding out other species. Where the ground has been cleared or where there is direct sunlight other plants appear. Mediterranean nettles flourish and resting on one of them was a Speckled wood butterfly, a regular and common visitor to this park.

I had expected to see mushrooms after the heavy rains (and despite the recent dry days) but I saw none. The birds, however, were vocal and active. They flitted across the sun dappled path.

Author's photos


I came across a bee upended on the path, its abdomen thick with pollen. I placed it to one side, and turned it the right way up. A male violet carpenter bee woken from its winter dormancy. It was slow and listless; perhaps it had over exerted itself feeding. I was not far from a large bush of velvet groundsel (Roldana petasitis). This plant, or group of plants, will be in flower soon and is annually the site of great activity among various species of bees including carpenter bees.

Small flowers make an appearance early in the year. I saw several specimens of stork's-bills, periwinkles, common field-speedwells and Bermuda buttercups, the last two non-native. The Bermuda buttercups will soon be ubiquitous, their lively yellow swathes blocking out less successful local plants.

Author's photos


The park is a secret garden visited by few but it possesses a scruffy elegance and its grand views remain splendid. In addition to feral cats and twenty or thirty peacocks and peahens, and a gaggle of greylag geese, it has become home to a hundred or more chickens.

The trees that shade the long avenue are Celtis australis, the European nettle tree or Mediterranean hackberry. They are deciduous trees native to Southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, and although not found in the wild here, are a common feature in urban areas, providing shade in the summer and letting in light in winter.

Field trip photos


הועלה ב-פברואר 24, 2024 08:26 לפנה"צ על ידי danielhartley danielhartley


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