Saturday, 3 December 2016

Red-breasted Merganser in Tavira

Red-breasted Merganser is a scarce winter visitor to the Algarve and one that we have never seen around Tavira so it was a surprise to hear that one had been seen this week from the Estrada das Quatro Águas.

 Red-breasted Merganser

The bird, a female, seemed quite settled in a deepwater pan and we watched it feeding successfully for about 20 minutes during which time it didn’t seem at all bothered by our presence.  At one point it actually flew for no apparent reason and came to rest back on the water quite close to where we were standing.

Red-breasted Merganser - swallowing a large fish

For months the Estrada das Quatro Águas was subject to road improvements and other redevelopment works, most of which were completed earlier this year.  It seems odd that we have ended up with a very wide pedestrian pathway and a rather narrow road between the town and the ferry.  Parking by the roadside is now impossible and the days of driving along this road and birding from the car are well and truly over.  It really is a pity that no birdwatchers were consulted during the planning stage of this work.  We might well have done things differently!

 Estrada das Quatro Águas - photograph taken March 2016

This a favourite area for roosting Audouin's Gulls

Our visit to see the Red-breasted Merganser again highlighted the fact that in future it will be necessary to bird this area on foot.  We don’t mind walking, in fact we enjoy it, but now it will take much longer to cover the area and no longer will we be able to sit in the car and watch Bluethroats or read the rings on the Audouin’s Gulls and that's a pity!  

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