Thursday, 9 September 2010

First Stop - Castro Marim

It's good to be back in the Algarve again and straightaway we have been and had a good walk at one of our favourite sites here, Castro Marim. It was a warm sunny morning but a fresh breeze that kept the temperature down to a comfortable level also resulted in us seeing rather few small passerines, presumably keeping their heads down.

Two species dominated proceedings: Greater Flamingos and European Spoonbills. Birds are extremely difficult to count at Castro Marim, particularly when they are mobile, moving between the numerous saltpans. However, guestimates would put the Flamingos at close to 2,000 and the Spoonbills at maybe 500.

The main highlights for us were Little Bustards (to begin with just a few heads sticking up from long vegetation but later a flock of 25 in flight above our heads), Slender-billed Gulls (35), Stone-curlews (just 4), a Purple Heron, two Marsh Harriers, Shelducks with young, several Kingfisher sightings that included two birds apparently fighting and, of course, a nice selection of waders.

We had hoped to find the new hide open but for some reason, more than two months after it seemed to have been completed, it is still protected by a padlock. An enquiry at the Visitor Centre unfortunately brought no explanation.

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