It always seems to happen when we're away from the Algarve - someone finds a rare bird here! Just recently, while we were in Thailand, news reached us of a Sora that was showing well along the Arade river in Silves, a small town best known for its red sandstone castle and its cathedral.
This is the first record in mainland Portugal of Sora and it's perhaps not surprising that it was initially misidentified as a Spotted Crake, a close relative but a species which itself would have been unusual in January.
Sora is a species of crake in the genus Porzana that breeds in North America and migrates to spend the winter as far south as Ecuador and Colombia. They can be quite secretive birds and difficult to observe and the possibility must be that this one in Silves arrived there some time ago, perhaps during the autumn migration season in October or November, and has remained undetected for several weeks.
Thankfully, it was still there this morning when we went to take a look. We watched it for about 45 minutes as it scurried about below us and frequently disappeared for short spells in the riverside vegetation. As the photographs show, we were looking down on it, which made it easier for us to keep track of it.
We have seen many Soras in various different parts of the USA but it was good to see one here, our first in Europe.