Monday, 13 April 2009

Doxey and Belvide

On Sunday we enjoyed a day of relaxed, 'social birding' with friends, Jan and Adrian. We spent the morning at Doxey Marshes Nature Reserve and in the afternoon had a walk along the south shore of Belvide Reservoir.

Doxey is a reserve about which we have had some harsh things to say in the past. Management of water levels has been a serious problem for many years and on countless occasions we have been disappointed to find either too much water or not enough. Yesterday we were pleasantly surprised to find the whole reserve looking in good condition and if that can be maintained over the next few weeks spring wader passage should prove very interesting. A pity we won't be here to enjoy it!

We did see all the regular breeding wader species, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers, and a few more migrants were singing, including a Sedge Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler.

By the time we reached Belvide, the day had warmed up nicely. Here, too, there were Redshanks but fewer summer visitors than we might have expected. It was surprising to see only a handful of Swallows over the water and there were still rather few warblers in evidence. Perhaps we are being impatient but, just as in Portugal, it does seem that migrants are slow in arriving. There were still plenty of birds coming to the feeders, including numerous Reed Buntings, Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches, and a few Bramblings are still being seen in the Reservoir Plantation. Although we see or hear Little Owls pretty much every day in the Algarve, it was good to see one here as they certainly seem to be fewer in the UK these days. Why, we wonder, should our attitude towards to this introduced species be so different from our feelings towards most of the others?

We are currently considering a camera up-grade and Adrian kindly loaned us his Canon 50D for the day so that we could try it out. These images were taken with the 50D and our Canon 100-400mm lens. No decisions have yet been made!

Reed Bunting

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

European Robin

Common Moorhen

Northern Lapwing

Common Pheasant

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

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