Saturday, 7 March 2009

Castro Verde

Most of today was spent in the Castro Verde area of the Alentejo - yes, we’re back in Portugal again! What started as a grey, cloudy day cleared later and by lunchtime it was warm and sunny, although there was still a bit of a breeze.

Great Bustards were easily found, we saw Little Bustards and had very good views of Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Eleven species of raptors included a Peregrine Falcon chasing a Black-bellied Sandgrouse, a Golden Eagle and, of course, our favourite Black-shouldered Kites. Other highlights included Great Spotted Cuckoos, Blue Rock Thrush and two Common Cranes.

We mentioned last November that many of the White Storks’ nests along the roadside between Castro Verde and Mé rtola had been removed when the power poles were replaced and we wondered what would happen when the birds returned. Well today we were pleased to see that platforms had been put up to help the storks get new nests built and there were storks all along the road. Of course, while some storks found themselves homeless and were having to start from scratch, for others it was just the usual renovation job. The pictures tell the story.

Lucky Stork...

...Unlucky Stork

We made a brief visit to Castro Marim on the way back to Tavira. In just 20 minutes or so, while standing in one spot, we recorded about 25 species including Little Bustard, Mediterranean Gull, Common Shelduck, Black-necked Grebe and Greater Flamingo, making a nice end to the day.

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