Thursday, 15 October 2009

A Break from 'Admin'

We spent most of Monday at Castro Marim including a decent walk around Cerro do Bufo in the morning. Most of the expected birds were seen although for once we failed to find Little Bustards. On the way home we looked in at Altura tank hoping as always to find something unusual but it's been a while now since this short diversion brought any real reward. Actually there were 60 Little Grebes which is quite a good number for such a small site but we live in hope of finding another Red-knobbed Coot there or maybe a Grey Phalarope. Next time, maybe! At the end of the day we had seen 77 species, several of them in quite large numbers so there were no complaints.

Since then far too much time has been spent on 'admin', a term that covers everything we do that isn't birding! Finally, late this afternoon, we cracked, we couldn't take any more and had to get out for a couple of hours. We grabbed binoculars and the 50D and headed for the local saltpans, five minutes drive away.

The light was fading fast as these photographs were taken and well before we got to the Audouin's Gulls the camera really ought to have been put away. We spent a while watching the Stone-curlews and trying to work out how we might get close enough to get some proper photographs. We reckon there are now about 80 birds and it was impossible to resist taking a couple of 'snaps' even from a distance.

Black-tailed Godwit

Common Redshank



Lesser Black-backed Gull

Kentish Plover

Audouin's Gull

After watching a flock of about 100 Greater Flamingos flying across the saltpans against the backdrop of a typically vivid Algarve sunset, we thought about heading for home. Instead, not yet satisfied, we drove a short way and then sat in the car listening to the Cetti's Warblers, Azure-winged Magpies, Crested Larks and Little Owls and watching Cattle Egrets streaming in to roost. A Fox appeared from nowhere and for a moment sat in the road and then we got our bonus, a Black-crowned Night-Heron - a really scarce bird in these parts even if we have seen lots of them elsewhere. It would have been greedy to have asked for more...

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