Goedendag! My name is Esther Brouwer and I live in the Netherlands. After my study Forest and Nature conservation I stayed with a Rocha Portugal for one year. I came to Cruzinha to get some work experience, but found so much more. This place is filled with wonderful people and I care a lot for all of them. I got the opportunity to do many exciting things. During winter I assisted in the research on the effect of land-use shifts on the bird population of the Western Algarve. For this I walked more than 400 km of transects through beautiful areas. I saw the remote hills of Monchique covered with the white flowers of the gum cistus and the rough coastlines with the colourful rock beaches. I found dark orchids that looked like little bees and saw the meadows filled with the invasive yellow Bermuda buttercups. When the almond trees started to blossom, I listened to the calls of little owls in the cold air of the spring evenings for the monitoring project. During daytime the bee-eaters arrived with their bright, rainbow colours and high vibrating song. We caught storm petrels at night in the magical light of the moon and with the sound of the breaking waves on the cliffs. On the top of the fridge we raised strange, hairy caterpillars into fragile moths. I shared big, extended meals, with people from all over the world and listened to their stories. I had a wonderful year and made some very special friends that I look forward to visit again!
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