Saturday, 1 November 2008

Lesser Short-toed Larks

After several days of fairly mixed weather we were pleased this morning to have some sunshine again for our visit to Castro Marim. It started quite cool but by 11.00am it was beautiful and as we walked by the River Guadiana we were wishing we had put shorts on.

It’s no secret that Castro Marim is the best place in Portugal to see Lesser Short-toed Larks, in fact it’s probably the only place to see them. However, knowing exactly where to find them is another thing and they are birds that we always enjoy showing to visitors. This morning, after a couple of less than satisfactory views of birds in flight, eventually several of them came close and were seen and heard well. Of course, for some people they are just ‘little brown jobs’ but we like them! The birds here are of the race apetzii.

Late in the morning a Griffon Vulture was circling over Castro Marim. We don’t see very many Griffons in the Eastern Algarve but this was our second this week after we watched one from the kitchen window on Wednesday. Other highlights of today’s walk were three different Marsh Harriers, an Osprey, three Caspian Terns, three Bluethroats and a couple of Dartford Warblers. At least two White Storks’ nests had displaying birds on them and there was a lot of bill-clattering going on. All in all it was a very pleasant and successful morning.

With the afternoon earmarked for some photography it was unfortunate that there was a build-up of cloud and the light really wasn’t very good. We spent a couple of hours at a small pool where a White Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail were feeding around the water’s edge and where Azure-winged Magpies, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Robin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin and Spanish Sparrow came to drink or bathe.

Spanish Sparrow

No comments: