Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Wet Morning in Paradise

There was 8/8 cloud cover when we set out this morning on a walk around the local saltpans here in Tavira. The light was poor and rain was forecast and it was no surprise when we saw one or two distant flashes of lightning. After little more than an hour’s birding we decided to turn back, a good decision as we just made it to the car in time to avoid a soaking.

On the edge of town a Subalpine Warbler, a Cetti’s Warbler and a Common Redstart got us off to a decent start and when we started around the saltpans we soon saw as many as 17 species of waders including a Green Sandpiper and a couple of Common Snipe that flew over. We didn’t get chance to look carefully at the hundreds of gulls but at least a dozen each of Slender-billed and Audouin’s were amongst them. Most numerous now are Lesser Black-backs and we can expect to see numbers of Mediterranean Gulls increasing over the coming weeks.

Ducks included Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall, there were Little Grebes, Little Egrets, Spoonbills, Grey Herons and 200 or more Greater Flamingos. Two Kingfishers were presumably birds that have arrived to spend the winter with us and the same is true of the many Chiffchaffs that were feeding low in the scrubby vegetation alongside the resident Sardinian Warblers and Zitting Cisticolas. Soon they will be joined by Bluethroats.

No photography today so here are a couple we prepared earlier (as they say) of today’s most numerous waders.

Black-tailed Godwit

Pied Avocet

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