Sunday, 12 October 2008

Sunday at Castro Marim

For the second day running we woke this morning to find that it had rained overnight but when we eventually started our walk at Castro Marim it was starting to show signs of brightening up a little. It was still shorts and t-shirt weather but it did seem sensible to carry the waterproofs just in case.

Although we walked for about four hours we covered very little distance at all, probably less than a couple of miles. It takes a long time because there are thousands of birds to look through. It’s a walk that we do regularly and it never disappoints. Today we noted 70 species, which is about the number we would have predicted.

Among the highlights it was good to find Little Bustards again in exactly the same place we saw them last Tuesday, even though there were only six of them today. Raptors included the same Peregrine Falcon, a female based on its size, that we saw last week. We haven’t yet seen this bird fly, it has a fence post that it likes where it sits surrounded by ducks and waders. Perhaps it hunts and feeds early before we get there; perhaps it just likes watching the Flamingos!

Although we didn’t cover anything like the whole site, there seemed to be fewer waders today and only 15 species. Amongst these we include Stone Curlews, which we always enjoy seeing. A group of 25 of them were seen in flight. We have seen as many as 80 here but they are very difficult to get near and a decent photograph of one remains a dream.

Again we saw six species of gulls including several Slender-billed and as well as the usual Little, Sandwich and Caspian Terns there was a single Black Tern.

Migrants included several Northern Wheatears, a couple of Willow Warblers, a Whinchat and a Pied Flycatcher. Robins are also migrants and along with Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Meadow Pipits are just now starting to arrive here on the coast.

Finally, a flock of eight Common Magpies was an unusually high number here. They aren’t common along the Algarve coast but they are gradually spreading west.

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