Friday, 28 March 2014

A Day in the West

Glaucous Gulls are rare birds in Portugal and particularly so in the Algarve.  Only a handful of these Arctic gulls have ever been reported as far south as the country’s south coast.  However, this winter has been exceptional with records of single birds at Quarteira and Ferragudo, three at Sagres and four just a short way up the west coast at Aljezur.  Although it’s hard to say how many different birds there have been, it has certainly been remarkable.
First-winter Glaucous Gull

We went to Sagres today and were surprised to find one Glaucous Gull still remaining there.  It appears that only once before (2008) has a bird remained in the Algarve until March and it will be interesting to see how much longer this one stays.

As well as the Glaucous Gull, in the area around Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente we found a number of species the we don’t see in the Eastern Algarve, notably Red-billed Chough, Rock Dove and Shag.  On the way back we diverted to Monchique and at Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve, we found at least three Ring Ouzels, plus Rock Bunting, Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Blue Rock Thrush, species that aren’t difficult to find elsewhere but which it was nice to see all together.

Blue Rock Thrush has been particularly easy to see recently as for the past week one has been singing locally, including from our roof, a young male trying hard to attract a mate.

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