Friday, 21 November 2008

Double Crested!

With an unusually high number of Yellow-browed Warblers occurring this autumn in Britain and other parts of Western Europe it was probably just a matter of time before the species was reported in Portugal. Yesterday afternoon we received word of one in the Algarve, at Barranco Velho. Apparently it was found alongside the main road by a lucky birder who was walking back to his car having stopped in the village to buy a bottle of water. Unfortunately, it has not been seen since but it has put us on notice (as if we needed it!) that treasures can be found amongst all the hundreds of Chiffchaffs.

Yellow-browed Warbler follows Dusky Warbler, Little Bunting and Wallcreeper in a list of recent rarities here in which Goldcrest has gone unmentioned. Although not as rare in Portugal as a whole as the other three, Goldcrest is definitely a scarce bird in the Algarve and several long time birders have been seeing them here for the first time during the last couple of weeks. Today we caught up with Goldcrest at Ludo where we were birding with our friend, Georg Schreier. We had seen three Firecrests before the ‘rare’ Goldcrest appeared!


One of the main reasons for going to Ludo was to try and photograph Penduline Tit, a mission that proved impossible. It wasn’t that we couldn’t find our bird, just that it (or possibly they) showed no signs of wanting to co-operate. Other species of note here before we went off to nearby Faro beach for a cup of coffee were Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle and Iberian Green Woodpecker.

Later we made a rare visit to the ETAR da Zona Noroeste de Faro - the water treatment works by the airport. Access is currently even more difficult than usual as building works are in progress but through the perimeter fence we were able to see that most of the ducks were Shoveler with a few Teal and Gadwall amongst them, plus a few Little Grebes and Eurasian Coots. Our reward for an otherwise unremarkable visit was a Great Egret, a scarce bird in these parts and maybe the same individual we saw in the Ludo area almost three weeks ago.

The temperature today again reached about 70º F. Amongst several butterflies seen was a Wall Brown.

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