Friday, 19 June 2009

A Tour of the Saltpans

We took ourselves off to Olhão yesterday afternoon. It’s the next large town along the coast to the west of here. We were hoping to see Collared Pratincoles, which we eventually did. Not surprisingly, Kentish Plovers, Little Terns and Black-winged Stilts all seemed to have young around the saltpans and it looked as though a few pairs of Pied Avocets might also have nested.

Little Tern

Black-winged Stilt

With all this breeding going on it was hard to think about ’autumn’ wader passage but there were at least 120 Black-tailed Godwits in the area, plus a couple of Ringed Plovers and presumably these are birds that have returned here from breeding grounds far to the north. Let’s hope they’re not all failed breeders! Later at Santa Luzia we saw more Black-tailed Godwits and two Oystercatchers.

At Santa Luzia there were 26 Audouin’s Gulls. A colour-ring on one of them was easy to read from the photograph, but unfortunately that isn‘t the case with the Spoonbill - one of at least 50 of this species seen at Castro Marim this morning. Also at Castro Marim were yet more Black-tailed Godwits and two Greenshanks but what really had us looking twice at the calendar was the sight of a drake Northern Pintail!

Audouin's Gull

Eurasian Spoonbill

Yesterday we spent a while watching Bee-eaters taking food to nest-holes here in Tavira. There was no possibility of photographing them but this morning at Castro Marim we were able to almost walk up to one.

European Bee-eater

We also managed without much difficulty to photograph a Little Owl in Tavira - presumed, as it was on the same building, to be a bird that was completely unco-operative on a previous visit. That's birds for you!

Little Owl

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