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Photographer's Note

Near the village of Águas de Moura, Southern Portugal there is the valley of the river Marateca, which gives its name to the whole parish.
The flatlands around the river are usually used for rice farming [the Portuguese are the biggest rice eaters in Europe].
When the land is in fallow, the cattle grazes here, as you see in this shot. The small white dots are cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis), a species of heron native to Southern Portugal, often seen foraging with cattle.
Some folk etymology about the name Marateca says it's "mar até cá" (sea up to here), because the sea tides of the Sado estuary, to the west (far background), may have reached near this area in the past. Other explanation relates it to the Moors (like Águas de Moura), being "Mara" a corruption of "Moura" (Moor or Moorish; not to be confused with moor, a boggy area).

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Additional Photos by Francisco Santos (xuaxo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4896 W: 319 N: 4862] (6854)
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