Saturday, 13 February 2010

Last Week

A week of very mixed weather - some days warm and spring-like, others almost monsoon-like! Clive Viney's description, “gloriously unpredictable”, seems just about right!

Last Saturday I had a full day out, birding most of the daylight hours, visiting Ludo/Quinta do Lago and Castro Marim as well as several sites around Tavira. Although a long list wasn’t the object of the exercise, over 90 species were noted, including some, like Water Rail, that were only heard. Highlights at Ludo were six Booted Eagles, an Osprey, two Black-winged Kites and three Siskins, a species that we don’t see much in the Eastern Algarve. At Castro Marim, it was nice to see ten Ruff.

On Monday I went to Olhão and Fuseta and on Thursday to Castro Marim again, but otherwise activity has centred on Tavira where there are plenty of birds, particularly waders, to look at and photograph.

Common Greenshank

Grey Plover

Ringed Plover

Kentish Plover

Common Redshank

Eurasian Curlew

Sardinian Warbler

The number of gulls here has fallen significantly now. There are still lots of Lesser Black-backs and Black-headeds but nowhere near as many as there were a month ago. Most of the Meds seem to have gone, I’ve seen no more than ten Audouin’s all week and the single Slender-billed near Forte do Rato was the first I’d seen in a while. Amongst the Lesser Black-backs at Fuseta was another one that had been colour-ringed at Gloucester in the UK.

Lesser Black-backed Gull - with crab for lunch

Audouin's Gull

An Osprey was seen again at Santa Luzia saltpans; it was on the same post where we saw it three weeks ago. I wonder where else it gets to. A Black-winged Kite was at the edge of Tavira, not far in fact from the Gran-Plaza shopping centre (of which the least said the better). Barn Swallows and House Martins are quite numerous now, as of course are Crag Martins but Red-rumped Swallows don‘t seem to be back yet.

June is now about half way through her tour in Uganda. There has been little news other than confirmation that the 'must-see' species, Shoebill, has indeed been seen! That’s always a relief!

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