Saturday, 8 September 2012

Eastern Algarve Birding - 30/8 to 6/9 - Part 1

What started as a week's break with the Chief Spotter with an essence of birding turned out to be a week's birding with essence of beach, and seven hot, dry, sunny days in the area of Tavira in the Ria Formosa National Park was simply superb.  The final score was 85 species, a few Lifers for good measure and some magic moments.

So, Santa Lucia, due east of Faro and not too far from the Spanish Border was the base, and some of the views from the roof follow:
The top left of the photo above is the start of the famous salt pans and viewable with the scope.
So morning no. 1 (31st), sitting with tea and toast on the veranda, and across the way, a Serin:
 And Red-rumped Swallows skimming the neighbour's pool, and then a waxing Black-winged Kite circled the apartment.  Bogs' bollocks!  And hadn't been out of building yet.  As would become an increasingly irritating feature of the week, point camera, try and focus, bird gone!

A walk to the local 'supermercado' for some cerveza to be chilled pending a return from local birding sites added Goldfinch, House Martin, Redshank, LBB and YLG, and Turnstone:
Beer in the chiller and a bottle of the local rose likewise (at two and half euros, it would have been rude not to), it was off to the salt pans on the mouth of the River Gilao on the east side of Tivira, a massive journey of some 10 minutes).

So, car parked at the local shopping centre, and getting out of said luxury hire vehicle, a shrike-like bird got my attention straight away in the bushes opposite, one of many adult and juvenile Woodchats seen over the week:
 Walking along the riverside, we added more YLG:
Wader-wise, Grey Plover were everywhere, as were Black-tailed Godwit, and Kentish Plover:
Onwards and upwards, a not-very-obliging Kingfisher landed close-by but hid!
And then at the pans........
Audouin's Gulls (they are simply stunning!) and more:
(above: a distant Curlew Sandpiper)
 Above: Spanish Wagtail (better photos later).

So in addition to what's been shown above, the day also included:
Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Little Tern, Cormorant, Little Stint, Ruff, Spoonbill, Black-headed Gull, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Stock Dove, Curlew, Mediterranean Gull and more.

Part 2 to follow - the excitement builds!

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