Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Working the local patch

We were at Castro Marim again this morning. For the first time in a week it was quite cloudy and the temperature remained comfortable all day. We walked nowhere near as far as we usually do but probably saw just as many species.

The highlight was seeing a flock of 13 Little Bustards; they’re not uncommon here but can’t be guaranteed. Additional to the 19 wader species found in the same area last week were about 10 Northern Lapwings and a Wood Sandpiper. There were still a few Slender-billed Gulls; Mediterranean Gulls had increased to double figures and there were at least 100 Audouin’s Gulls. A few Northern Pintail had arrived to swell the duck numbers and in addition to the usual Caspian and Little Terns, about a dozen Black Terns were feeding over the marsh. One or two Marsh Harriers were around, a Peregrine Falcon was sitting on a post in the middle of the salinas and just as we were leaving a Booted Eagle passed over.

On the way back we checked our best local sites for Blue Rock Thrush and Bluethroat and were successful at both, although we had to be patient. It was a case of “come on out - we know you’re in there” as we sat in the car waiting for them to appear. The Bluethroat was our first of the autumn but was in exactly the same spot that we see them every year which, not surprisingly, we call ’Bluethroat corner’.

While we were looking for a Bluethroat we saw another grey egret. We weren’t able to say with any certainty whether it was the same bird we saw at Santa Luzia last week but the suspicion is that there are at least two birds that frequent the Tavira area. Ray Tipper is comparing the many photographs of these birds and we will be adding the one below to his collection. Also seen here was one of the pinkest Slender-billed Gulls we have seen. Not only were its underparts pink but also its rump, tail and primaries. Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwit brought the wader species total to 24 since we arrived back here last week.

'Grey Egret'

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