Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring in Portugal

Are you taking part in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge? This week’s theme is “Spring”

Black Hairy Caterpillar
Caterpillar in Spring

When I lived in the UK, the arrival of spring was heralded with wonderful displays of golden daffodils. In Portugal we have so many beautiful flowers throughout the year that when I think of spring; insects not flowers come to mind. Even in January, when the temperatures dip to just above freezing at night, we still have colourful displays of Gazanias to brighten our winter days. Winter drifts into spring, but with different flowers, warmer weather, insects, reptiles and pesky mosquitos.

My frame of reference for spring in Portugal would have to be the awakening of all the insects, reptiles and mosquitos!

I discovered the above solitary black hairy caterpillar marching up my driveway as bold as brass. By the time I returned armed with the camera it was just disappearing in my bed of Gazanias, probably for a spot lunch. It looked like a caterpillar on a mission so who am I to deny it a few leaves and the right to live? Initially, I thought it may be a Billy-no-mates processionary caterpillar which had lost its way. However, on closer inspection when I enlarged the photograph, I think not. I have just made a quick Google search before making this post and at the moment I am none the wiser and Billy-no-mates still needs a name.

Can you help identify it please?

This spider made me scream - yep I'm a self-confessed wimp!
This spider made me scream - yep I'm a self-confessed wimp!
This spider made me scream when it walked across my finger as I removed the cover on one of my pots of newly planted seeds. Mr. Piglet was quickly dispatched to get my camera while the spider and I remained motionless as our neighbours peered fearfully over the fence.
Lenny the Lizard
Lenny the Lizard
Lenny the lizard appeared in our garden last year and has just returned after his winter vacation. I found him basking in the sunshine; studying us intently as we drank our morning coffee.

Welcome back Lenny!

Related posts: Gazanias in January   Killer caterpillars   More bugs in my garden   “Ugly Bug Ball” Insects in my garden

How does spring inspire you?

You are welcome to share a link back to your spring photograph.

Why not pop over to INSIGHT and take part in the “Weekly Photo Voting” and cast your vote for your favourite photo http://ryanfernandes.wordpress.com/category/weekly-photo-voting/


50 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring in Portugal

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  1. I LOVE the catipilar in Spring and the spider one! Not much of a fan of spiders, but I LOVE pictures of them! Great pictures!!


  2. Hi Debbie,
    Please don’t mention big snakes! Fortunately we do not have that many here
    LOL 🙂 Funny how just 5 hours difference in travel can make such a difference ot the change of wildlife


  3. I haven’t seen any lizards as of yet – up in Northern IL we don’t have them but our travel 5 hours down to Southern IL brings us lizards! oh and big snakes! Happy Spring!
    Debbie 🙂


  4. It sure looks and feels like spring in your photos! Here we’ve just received another dumping of snow and the only insects I see are some boxelder bugs that have made an appearance in my house. Not sure where the heck they’re coming from!


    1. Hi and welcome 🙂
      In the winter I missed the snow but I def would not want it now 😦 Just googled the boxelder bugs – strange looking critters…I wonder why they are coming in the house. Nature works in mysterious ways…


  5. Caterpillars, Spiders and Lizards…Oh my! Spring has sprung just as natural in Florida. Don’t you just I love the scent of spring in the crisp air. Watching nature as it unfolds. I love how flowers just seem to glow brightly in the spring attracting all kinds of critters. Spring makes me smile! The scent and color of honeysuckle, orchids, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, pentas puts a spring in my step, makes me wan’na dance. Yup! I love spring! 🙂 Great pics! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Loved the photos, as I am so looking forward to springtime-its the best time of the year. I have to admit-cannot stand the eight-legged crawly-creepy spiders. I can get hesterical when faced with their uninvited presence. Not too sure about lizards-there ok at a distance. Do you believe-I love to go camping !!! 🙂


  7. Hi MJ and welcome!
    Just checked on the Wooly bear and it seems to have a brown middle. Apart from the colour it does look very similar.
    The closest I came to removing anything from our house was when I knocked a scorpian off the ceiling and trapped it under a glass. It remained there until Mr Piglet came out of hospital and he was well enough to do “the deed” Lenny’s cute providing he does not try to make himself comfortable inside the house. 🙂


  8. Great pictures, PiP. The caterpillar resembles a wooly bear caterpillar. I’m not sure if it really is one, but it sure comes close. I don’t blame you for screaming at spiders. My daughter is the founder of the “Anti-Spider Killings” in my house hold. We usually wait until she is at work or not paying attention if an arachnoid needs to be transferred out of the house either via front door or foot pounding. 🙂 Lenny the lizard looks rather relaxed among your garden. Love reading your take on spring. 🙂


  9. I love spiders, they don’t bother me. A nice take on the theme PiP, I bet most people take pictures of flowers for the Spring one. I’m not sure about the lizard, how come spiders make you jump but you’re ok with the lizard?


    1. Hi NandP,

      I don’t mind spiders at a distance 🙂 a lizard will not walk over my fingers and always keeps a respectful distance. We have a poisonous spider here called the brown recluse spider and if that bites you…I am very wary.


  10. Great photos and thoughts. It sounds lovely where you live. I can’t imagine flowers in the winter months. You paint a beautiful picture of your world. I don’t know what type of caterpillar that is. Like you, I don’t kill caterpillars (unless they’re bad ones like tent-worms.) I also don’t kill spiders unless they’re poisonous (although any spider that shows up in my house or on my porch is terminated immediately. lol) I love the lizard photo. It’s certainly a healthy specimen. Love the name Lenny. I think lizards are neat. Happy Spring to you, my friend! 🙂


    1. Hi EC, i think Lenny now house a wife…:) Another lizard has appeared but has lost part of it’s tail. So they are easy to identify. Astually, I don’t know the mating of lizards I will have to investigate. It’s amazing where blogging takes us 🙂


  11. AGHHH…I would have freaked if the spider had touched me..no coping skills there at all. I have first hand experience that even though JC hates spiders, she rocks at rat clean up…hehehehe. She was my hero that day 🙂

    Welcome back to Lenny!! He is so cute!!


  12. I’m not as forgiving as you when it comes to caterpillars, Pip. They are potentially deadly to some of my veggies! And I have an irrational fear of spiders (at least I can’t stand to touch one and will shriek if I come across a big hairy spider) even though I know they are beneficial to my garden. But Lenny is cool, I like reptiles, including snakes! Of course it helps that the only snakes around here are little and non-venomous. 🙂


    1. Hi JC you sound like a potential caterpillar expert…any ideas on who he is?
      My veggie patch so far is ants and slugs. Flipping ands run off with the slug repellents…
      I never realised how beautiful spiders were until I started to photograph them 🙂 I can inspect them more closely on my PC. 🙂


    1. Hi Gladys,
      It’s just the way he studies us…and the other lizard has only half a tail.

      I still have not identified the caterpillar yet…any ideas, please.
      HAd a couple of suggestions but they are not conclusive 😦


  13. Again, it is so lovely to look at photos of “lovely” spiders and other insects…after all the disturbing and sad pictures of events in Japan.
    Thanks, PiP, for bringing back MY memories of collecting caterpillars as a young child in NYC and putting them in a jar with a twig and leaves and then watching while they changed before my eyes. Fireflies or lightening bugs were another favorite…we would go out at night and catch them…they were all over the place on summer nights…cup our hands in the dark and watch our hands “light up” with the inner glow of that amazing bug. Are they still around? Don’t see them in Colorado. 😦


    1. Hi Vivian…I also used to collect caterpillars in Jars, when I was a child.
      I am not sure we have fire flies here…they sound spectacular!
      The events in Japan certainly makes you take stock of life and re evaluate what is important 😦 So sad…


  14. I love your photos on the interpretation of ‘Spring’! Can’t help with identifying the caterpillar though, sorry.
    We get lots of bugs here in Oz, some of them nasty little blighters; don’t think Rose would like it!


  15. Hi PiP, Great photos – I love your take on Spring. We do have to remember that caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies, but sorry, no help from me identifying it.

    The photos you have of the processionary caterpillar are amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it. I think I’m like you, don’t mind the bugs until they start crawling over me. 🙂



    1. The processionary caterpillars are really dangerous…we used to have them in pine trees near us. I don’t mind bugs and critters providing I know where they are. Physical contact is not an option 🙂 ARRRRRRRRRRRRH did you hear me scream in Canada 😉 It was that loud! Poor little spider 😦


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