Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chatty Man

First trip to Arcot for a fortnight or so.  Little has changed.  a couple of hundred Teal, half a dozen each of Wigeon and Gadwall, a similar number of Little Grebe and BHG, two Mutes, one Heron, several dozen Coot and Moorhen, and 13 (a baker's dozen) Mistle Thrush.  The odd Swallow and Sand Martin flew west.

Wessie H was more like Windie H, with a steady stream of Hirundines west, a flock of up to 40 gulls on the Flash (mainly BHG but with a soupcon of Herring and a dash of Common).  And then this beauty just north of the dead bath:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Eastern Algarve Birding - 30/8 to 6/9 - Part 7 - The Finale

Some of the photos from the last two days.  At Ilha da Tavira, we met a Glaswegian birder called Kenny, a thoroughly decent chap who put us onto the location of 60 of these.  Whilst we missed 52, the eight we did see were belters:
 Iberian Chiffchaff:
Grey Heron, Little Egrets and White Stork:
A nice trio:
And now for something completely different - a few dragons.  The upper ones are, I believe, Red-veined Darters, the lower, a Lesser Emperor:

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

It's now 4th September, only two more days of being 47, and off west to Quinta do Lago, right in the middle of the Algarvian golf cartel, and where there's golf, there's money.

Home of the Purple Swamp-hen, and with bird hides too (luxury), it's a great place, as I hope you'll agree.

Here goes with the days images.  First off, more Crested Larks:
The view from the two-storey, non-metallic, non-graffitied hide:
 Porphyrio porphyrio looking grand:
Also present were Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Black-headed Weaver, Great-crested Grebe and a very quick -fly-by by a marsh tern (not i/d'd).

The highlights were firstly a Glossy Ibis rising from on clump of vegetation and across the pond to another.  But the undoubted star of the show, was this beauty:
 And there's more:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Baird Watching

We interrupt the Algarve updates to report on an hour with a Baird's Sandpiper at Seaton Snook this afternoon.  It was north of the sand works at the end of Zinc Works Road, on the shoreline with three Sanderlings:
 Normal Portuguese-based service will resume shortly.

Eastern Algarve Birding - 30/8 to 6/9 - Part 5

Beguiled by Red-rumped Swallows, and amazed by those who can take a good shot, I tried:
 And tried:
 And kept trying:
 And eventually something sort of capturing the moment!

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):