Saturday, 23 November 2013

Yellow-browed Warbler at Castro Marim

On a cold and damp morning our thoughts were more on shopping and housework than they were on birding but a message from Filipe Moniz at Castro Marim quickly brought us to our senses! He had had a brief view of what he thought was a Yellow-browed Warbler on the reserve at Castro Marim but he had to go to work and wasn’t able to spend any time with the bird. Did we want to go and check it out? Did we!

We got there as soon as we could; by this time it wasn’t just damp, it was raining. We met Dinis Versa Silva and Sao Gomes and the four of us spent an hour or so searching in the area that Filipe had described. Chiffchaffs appeared from time to time to raise our hopes briefly but regrettably there was no sign of any other Phyllosc.

Understandably, Dinis and Sao decided that enough was enough - conditions were starting to be fairly unpleasant! They left and it was almost inevitable that no more than 10 minutes later, having widened our search, we re-located the target bird in trees by the visitor centre. We were able to watch it from close range for several minutes and even managed a few photographs.

Yellow-browed Warblers are more or less annual visitors to Portugal but this autumn has been exceptional with several records from further north being followed by at least three here in the Algarve. This one was our first ever in Portugal and for Filipe a ‘lifer’, which we hope stays around for him (and Dinis and Sao) to see on another day.

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