We sadly left our wild retreat in deepest Donana and crossed back into Portugal, arriving at the small town of Altura, on the Eastern Algarve, situated betwixt Monte Gordo and Tavira. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, towards Spain in one direction and the beginning of the Ria Formosa natural park at Cacela Velha in the other.
The pretty village of Cacela Velha, perched above the estuary.
This was a very different place last year, lashed by huge storms, we walked the beach in full wet weather gear, nearly blown off our feet, in fact here is a photograph from our archive.
An incoming storm.
Happily, this year, we shed our clothes and walked barefoot, me adding to my already rather large collection of sea shells, and Mike photographing the shoreline birds. The coastal dunes here are very important breeding ground for Kentish Plovers.
There were not so many birds here as last year, but we think it was exceptional weather then, with many birds just grateful to make landfall, but we did find the Sanderlings doing what they do best, scuttling in front of the waves.
Sanderlings at dawn.
The light especially in the early mornings was beautiful, and some Yellow Legged Gulls, were caught in the lens of Mikes camera, their wings seemingly transparent.
Gulls launching to follow the fishing boats.
The rising sun at Altura.
Next stop will be Castro Verde, in the Alentejo, we will be on the hunt for Little Bustards, and hopefully some Great ones too!!