Wildlife on the Solar Branco Eco-Estate
From our daytime residents such as starlings, Caggaros, bees, and the odd pigeon to our nighttime friends such as hedgehogs and bats, every animal is able to thrive on the estate and grounds. Simple as it may sound, but every step helps. And we are thrilled to see each year more and more wildlife on the estate.
Pesticide and Chemical free: We are proud to be 100% chemical free on the grounds. This includes a ban on all pesticides, GMO sprays (for crops) as well as chemicals used in commercial swimming pools. The word “eco” is used widely by hotels and lodgings with swimming pools. These are not only environmentally unfriendly, containing harmful chemicals as well as being hugely damaging to local wildlife. Every animal, from bees to birds, frogs and bats needs to access freshwater.
Two natural ponds: On the estate we don’t have a swimming pool, but 2 natural ponds for various wildlife. The frogs are the kings of this area, jumping in and out as well as enjoying the shelter that we have built around the area with unwanted wood. This wood also encourages insects which means an abundance of food for them. No princes so far, but you are welcome to try your luck.
Wildflowers and plants in the meadow: The estate has been carefully restored to be better than it was over 150 years ago. Wines and citrus are cultivated on the estate as they would have been in the 1800s. In addition, we have also added a number of new plants and flowers to the estate. Hundreds of lavender plants for bees as well as hedging for small birds such as sparrows, starlings and robins.
Natural beehives (coming in 2021): Phase 3 of the restoration effort includes plans to build natural beehives. This will be a mix of wild hives (that we will not touch for human consumption of honey) as well as hives that we will harvest. Fear not, we only take what is needed in small amounts to ensure that our stripy friends thrive on the grounds.
Bat houses (coming in 2021): While there are no caves (or superheroes fighting crime for that matter) in the area, bats make use of hollow trees and ruins that they find on the island. As we re-build the ruined buildings into dwellings for guests we are building purpose-made bat houses to ensure that this mammal (the only one native to Sao Miguel) will go from strength to strength.
Other initiatives: As many of our lights as possible are on sensors or timers to ensure the minimal disturbance on wildlife.
As a guest of the Solar Branco Eco Estate you are welcome to tour the grounds with us as your guide or take in the space, peace and quiet on your own.