Friday, 13 October 2017

Piscivore party

An unusual concentration of fish trapped in one of the salt pans here in Tavira has been attracting numerous birds these past few mornings. Up to 80 Spoonbills and about 50 Little Egrets have been joined by smaller numbers of Cormorants, Grey Herons, White Storks and a single Great Egret.

The fish seem to have been of a size to suit these larger birds but both Caspian & Sandwich Terns have been joining in and have presumably been able to find some smaller ones. Gulls, too, have been looking for a cheap meal, a few Lesser Black-backs but mostly Slender-billed and Black-headed.

It’s not an ideal site for photography but it has been hard to resist trying to get some images. I used a Canon EOS 7D Mk ll with a 100-400mm lens and a 1.4x extender but would have liked to get closer.

It was no surprise to find that some of the Spoonbills were colour-ringed but the depth of the water made it difficult to record the details. As so often, taking the ring details from the photographs was the best plan.  Full details are still awaited of the five birds reported but it looks as though three were ringed in The Netherlands and one each in France and Portugal.  One of the Dutch birds we have actually seen here before in 2011 and 2013; it's a female ringed in 1999.

No doubt some of these Spoonbills will stay in the Algarve for the winter but many will find their way to Mauritania and Senegal.

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