We made the long trek down to Figueira this morning to see the Red-breasted Flycatcher that was found there last Wednesday by Simon Wates. There have been only half a dozen or so documented records of this species in Portugal and it's one that we haven't seen here previously so, hearing that it seemed fairly settled, we didn't take much persuading! We were joined by Ray Tipper who like us was keen to photograph the bird.
As the bird was in a private garden, we were pleased when we got there to have Simon come along to make the necessary introductions. The bird was very easily located and we watched it for the best part of two hours as it fed making circuits of the garden where it seems to have established a territory. We soon worked out that it favoured a particular pomegranate tree where it proved to be fairly approachable. The light wasn't always to the liking of the photographers (when is it ever!) but we all came away reasonably happy with our images. It was a delightful little bird, quite vocal and constantly entertaining.
After lunch we drove the short distance to Martinhal and within just a couple of minutes of arriving there found ourselves dealing with a bird that in terms of mainland Portugal is even rarer than the flycatcher - it was a juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper. Although we have seen plenty of these on the other side of the Atlantic and some also in the UK, this really was an exciting find. For the second time in four days we were soon making the necessary phone calls and before we left the scene as many as 15 people had seen the bird, making this the best-attended twitch that we have so far witnessed here. Again this was a bird so intent on feeding that it didn't seem at all concerned by the attention that it was attracting.
This was what June calls a 'cosmic birding day'. We have so many photographs of these two birds that it will take a week to go through them!
Roe Deer family, Nene Washes
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