Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sagres and Salgados

Yesterday we made the long drive to Sagres and Cape St Vincent.  We looked in at the Fortaleza de Beliche, mingled with the many tourists around the lighthouse that marks the south-western extremity of mainland Europe,  drove out to the Vale Santo and then spent a couple of hours at the Cabranosa raptor watch point before making a brief visit to the port of Baleeira.  It’s a circuit that we have done many times.

We saw the expected Red-billed Choughs, Rock Doves, a Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstarts, a few off-shore Gannets and a very obliging Little Owl; it wasn’t a great day for passerine migrants but they included many Northern Wheatears, both Pied & Spotted Flycatchers and several Phylloscopus warblers.  Most of the interest, however, was in the sky above as Short-toed & Booted Eagles, Griffon & Egyptian Vultures, several Sparrowhawks, a Black Stork, a Hen Harrier, a couple of Black Kites, a Honey-buzzard, a Goshawk, several Common Kestrels and a probable Eleonora’s Falcon vied for attention.  Apparently a Spanish Imperial Eagle was seen later in the day, after we had left!  It is to be hoped that those attending next weekend’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival are as well entertained.

Northern Wheatear

On the way back east we called in at Lagoa dos Salgados for a couple of hours.  The lagoon has certainly been transformed by the restoration project that was carried out at great expense a few months back but in spite of promises about more control over water levels there was still more water than we might have liked.  At this time of year it would have been good to see a bit more mud around the edges and although there was a nice selection of waders we might have hoped for higher numbers.  Not surprisingly the newly created islands were covered in gulls, mostly fuscus and michahellis but also a few ridibundus and audouinii.  A Sandwich Tern and a Black Tern both made brief appearances.  There were a few Spoonbills, Great Flamingos and Cormorants and small numbers of common dabbling ducks.  Migrants included Yellow Wagtails, a Whinchat and several Northern Wheatears and at last we saw our first Bluethroat of the autumn.


Anonymous said...

At least the Saldados lagoon has some water in it at this time of the year! We appreciate the update as there is little reporting at present regarding the improvements. It remains to be seen ,when we spend some ten weeks there this winter,if said improvements are working.
Agree with you about the lack of muddy bits in the margins-this resulted in a lack of wader numbers last winter when the work was in progress. We notice too that the standing 'hide' is right in front of 'our parking space' where we use the car as a hide in poor weather.Will pack the overtrousers this year!
Rob and Anne Hunt,Cumbria.

Linda said...

Lovely photos.

Peter and June said...

Thank you, Linda! Those fluffy, white clouds make all the difference.