Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bad light fails to stop play!

After an enforced absence from the Algarve that lasted several long weeks, we returned to Tavira on Monday evening.  Those unproductive and frustrating weeks with very little birding or photography are the main reason why there has been no recent update here on the blog.

On Tuesday we managed a couple of hours birding around Tavira and Santa Luzia and it was good to see all the familiar species still in their regular places.  When we are here all the time it is easy to take for granted the Spoonbills, Greater Flamingos, Slender-billed, Mediterranean & Audouin’s Gulls, the Bluethroats and Caspian Terns but a few weeks away gave us a fresh appreciation of them.  We sat and watched Dunlins, Little Stints and Greenshanks and even took a few photographs!


Yesterday, we spent the day in the Castro Verde area where we saw most of the species that we might have hoped for.  Great Bustards and Black-bellied Sandgrouse were easy to find but we didn’t see Little Bustards until three were flushed by a Red Kite.  That was one of perhaps thirty or more Red Kites seen during a day when raptors of one species or another were in view most of the time.

Great Bustards

We have seldom enjoyed a day with so many sightings of Black-winged Kites and after all the talk and debate in the UK about Hen Harriers it was good to have several opportunities to actually watch them.  It was also a treat to be able to watch a Golden Eagle but sadly there was no Spanish Imperial Eagle on this occasion.

 Black-winged Kite

Golden Eagle

Hen Harrier

It was reported here last week that a Spanish Imperial Eagle was one of the victims of a recent poisoning incident in the Castro Verde SPA.  Eight Red Kites were also found dead.  To say that this is disappointing is a massive understatement.  After being absent from Portugal for many years, Spanish Imperial Eagles have been making a comeback and they had become birds that we would expect to see on most visits to the Baixo Alentejo.  This latest one is the fourth to die there this year from poisoning.

Common Cranes

We went to the Alentejo particularly in search of Cranes and we were not disappointed.  They were difficult to count but there were more certainly than 1,000 of them.  Unfortunately, they were too far away for worthwhile photographs and the light was very poor but that was the story of the day so we’re already thinking about when we can go again!  

No comments: