Monday, 28 June 2010

Castro Verde and more

We spent much of today in the Castro Verde area. Not surprisingly, the forecast was for it to be hot, around 35 degrees, and not surprisingly that's exactly what it was - it was baking hot! But we started early and had an enjoyable and reasonably successful day. We had no particular plan or target species but simply wanted to try and take a few photographs. With very little effort we saw most of the 'usual suspects', including Rollers, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, both Bustards, Collared Pratincoles, Black-eared Wheatear, Great Spotted Cuckoo and a good selection of raptors. We eventually succumbed to the heat and headed back south soon after lunch.

Here are a few of today's more co-operative birds:

On the way home we diverted to a site where White-rumped Swifts were found breeding last year and we were pleased to find that they had returned. This species is now known to be breeding at several sites in the Alentejo and the Algarve and is almost certainly overlooked.

While Peter was away in Tanzania, June managed to see four species of owls in the Algarve in the space of just a few hours. Today it was just Little Owls - lots of them, but they're hard to resist when they pose like this one!

We regularly make our last stop at Altura where the 'tank', a wastewater pond that doesn't look particularly promising, has turned up several interesting species for us in the last few years. These have included Red-knobbed Coot, Ferruginous Duck, Whooper Swan and Ring-necked Duck. Today we spotted a Little Bittern lurking in the reeds, not an unusual species in the Algarve but the furthest east we have seen one.

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