Friday, 29 May 2009

Back in Portugal

We've spent our first day back in the Algarve checking some of our regular sites around Tavira and Castro Marim. It's been quite warm (25°C) but pleasant enough and, considering the date, we found a reasonable number of birds.

Other than the saltpans everywhere is now very dry. Breeding Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and Kentish Plovers are numerous and there also seem to be plenty of Little Terns. Wader passage seems to be almost finished with just a few Curlew Sandpipers, Turnstones and Redshanks and single Ringed Plover and Sanderling seen. Two Stone-curlews were presumably a local breeding pair. There are still a few Greater Flamingos and Spoonbills around Tavira, probably more at Castro Marim when we get to cover the whole area properly.

Curlew Sandpiper

Little Owls were easy to see and it was good to find our local Barn Owl roosting in a favourite ruin. Nearby a male Blue Rock Thrush was at a regular site but a pair of Cirl Buntings in the same area were unusual.

The day's raptors were a Common Kestrel, a male Montagu's Harrier and a pair of Marsh Harriers.

In total we saw about 60 species, most of them from the car.

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