Friday, 16 October 2009

Woodland Targets

We had arranged to be at Faro airport at lunchtime and needed no more excuse than that for spending the morning at Ludo. Much of our birding here in the Algarve concentrates on wetlands, particularly saltpans so we decided today to have a change and look for a few woodland species that we don't see very often.

Within no more than ten minutes of leaving the car two of our target birds had been found: Crested Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper. This was actually not too difficult but photographing them was a different matter and we came away with just this one image that we're willing to share!

Crested Tit

Chiffchaffs have become more plentiful in the last week and were a distraction when looking for other small birds. Blackcaps, too, were in evidence but the most numerous migrants were European Robins, as often heard as seen. Eventually we found our third target, a Firecrest, but unfortunately that proved to be even more camera-shy. Azure-winged Magpies, Eurasian Jays, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker all followed before we resumed our usual walk towards the farm.

An unusual sight on the saltpans was a group of five Greylag Geese. We are used to seeing a few as winter visitors at Castro Marim but these are our first ever at Ludo. Last year we saw our first on 30th September so we've been expecting them. They looked rather out of place and didn't stay around very long.

Greylag Geese

By now it was mid morning and we were looking directly into sun when viewing the saltpans. A few of the usual wader species were present and, of course, a bunch of Flamingos. On the river, the ducks all seemed to be Gadwall and Wigeon with a few Great Crested and Little Grebes, Cormorants, Moorhens and Eurasian Coots. Raptors this morning were a single Marsh Harrier, an Osprey and a Common Buzzard plus two distant specks in the sky which we believe were probably Peregrine Falcons.

And that was that - we had a plane to meet...

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