Friday, 26 December 2008

Back on the local patch

With the forecast for the weekend and beyond including the possibility of rain, we decided to take advantage of today’s glorious weather and have a walk from Tavira, around the saltpans towards Santa Luzia. It’s a walk we do fairly regularly and amongst the 60 or so species recorded in an almost entirely wetland area there were few surprises. An exception was a Common Quail that we flushed from the vegetation at the edge of one of the pans. It flew up from almost under our feet and we had really a good view of it in flight. It may seem an unlikely place in which to see a Quail but it is not the first time we have come across them in this habitat.

Notable among 20 species of shorebirds were 109 Knot roosting on the saltpans at high tide and a colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit, details of which we have reported. An Osprey, in the middle of a dry pan eating a fish, was in exactly the same place that we saw it on 26th November and 14th December. Birds really are creatures of habit!

Santa Luzia saltpans

Most of the ducks that were here last month now seem to have moved on leaving just 30 or so Teal and a couple of Shoveler. Numbers of Greater Flamingos and Spoonbills are also much reduced now; just 35 Flamingos today and even fewer Spoonbills.

We found just a single Audouin’s Gull and a handful of Mediterranean Gulls among the many Lesser Black-backs and Black-headeds; the Caspian Tern that flew over was probably the same bird we saw in Tavira yesterday. Our walk was enlivened by frequent sightings of Kingfishers. It’s difficult to say how many individuals were involved but probably half a dozen at least and always nice to see.

Finally, the predicted maximum temperature today ( was 16° C but by 2.00pm it was several degrees warmer; both Clouded Yellows and Wall Browns were flying. Not bad for Boxing Day!

No comments: