There's been a flurry of North American waders here in Portugal these last few weeks. It started with a Pectoral Sandpiper on the last day of August and then in September there was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Lagoa dos Salgados, two Spotted Sandpipers (Vilamoura and Alcochete) and an Upland Sandpiper (Santa Luzia). Already this month there has been an American Golden Plover (Estuário do Mondego), a Lesser Yellowlegs (near Vila Nova de Gaia), a Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Ria Alvor) and a Greater Yellowlegs (Tavira). Surely it can only be a matter of time now before we get a passerine from across the Atlantic!
The Greater Yellowlegs was reported from the saltmarsh here in Tavira on Sunday morning by John Edge and Clive Viney and after their phone call it took only a few minutes for us to get down there. Unfortunately, although John and Clive were still there when we arrived, the bird had flown and they were trying to re-locate it. Trying to re-locate it is what we have been doing ever since!
So we've had three days when we've spent quite a lot of time around Tavira. That's no hardship at all - the saltpans are full of birds and there are at least twenty species of waders but that does make it difficult to find just one Greater Yellowlegs. All of the regular six gull species that winter here can also now be seen together and as usual we have taken some time out to read and report colour-ring details. In fact, this morning it was possible to read colour-rings on Audouin's and Slender-billed Gulls, Greater Flamingos and Spoonbills, all from the roadside at the edge of town.
No Greater Yellowlegs yet but this afternoon there was reward for our efforts, in the form of an unusually approachable Black-winged Kite that was perched on a pole in the middle of the saltpans. Sometimes carrying a camera can be a bit of a chore but not today!
Ptarmigans on Cairn Gorm
1 day ago