Monday, 10 September 2012

Eastern Algarve Birding - 30/8 to 6/9 - Part 4

Day 3 in the Big Brother House, and back to Ilha da Tavira for a second look.  Magpies were present, as were Mallard and Little GrebeCrested Larks were eventually seen (they were usually one step ahead and off), and likewise the Fan-tailed Warblers.  The highlight was when watching 15 Black-winged Stilts basking on a sand-bank, with a few waders for company, all took to the sky, clearly spooked by something, and Chief Spotter did the business, pointing out a raptor quite high and distant but scope poised and directed and voila, a ringtail Montague's Harrier, watched for several minutes until it drifted out of sight.

Day 4 and location 1 was Praia Verde and a wood that, according to the notes, would be a migrant/passerine fest.  Alas not, with 'only' Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Pied Flycatcher.  So off north to Castro Marim, one of 2008's hot-spots, and pretty good it was too.

Given the 31 degree heat below, roast beef!
Above: the road bridge over the R. Guadiana, Portugal to the left, Spain to the right.  Fail to take the right turn to the reserve, and you too could be in Spain!!
Just when you thought you were salt free (above):
 Anyways, enough geography, some ornithology required; Fan-tailed Warbler aka Zitting Cisticola:
Also seen was Kestrel and Stonechat:
And at a freshwater pool just at the entrance gates:
Spanish Wagtail summer plumaged adult males have got to be one of the smartest birds I have ever seen.  Utt-lee, utt-lee stunnin'!  And Crested Larks remain frustratingly appealing.

So home and onto the roof, persuaded by Chief Spotter to take the scope etc up and have a scan.  Well worth it, as scanning the pans, hods of gulls (nothing new tho') and if one good tern deserves another, then surely one very good tern deserves two others.  The others were Common and Sandwich, the good'un, a Caspian (and it was there on 4th and 5th too) (keep in mind the heat, the breeze and the distance, please):

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