Sunday, 21 October 2012

Spring Watch on the Algave Portugal 2012 part 2

Part 2
We arrive on the Ilha de Faro southwest of the town itself. It is a good base for us, being able to cycle, walk out onto the Parque Natural de Ria Formosa. There is only one problem, yes the weather, a very strong easterly (Levante) is blowing and rain threatening clouds racing across the sky, not what you want in late March. Saturday morning we decide, despite the gloomy weather to visit the Lakes at Quinta do Lago at least we can shelter in the two storey bird watching hide! 

Not long after our arrival this pair of Purple Herons try leaving the cover of the reeds to continue their migration. The easterly wind was now so vicious they were lucky not to suffer injury before crashing back into the reeds.

Purple Heron

Wood Chat Shrike

The wind just continued to blow during that last week of March, blowing lots of migratory birds off their normal routes. Early on one of these mornings I counted no less than twenty two Wood Chat Shrikes sitting on any conceivable perch the normal here would be two or three as they make their way up from Africa to breed in lower Europe.

On the thirtieth I had the pleasure of watching a mixed flock of Yellow wagtails, seventeen in total bathing in a left over puddle.

Probably washing off the salt after the rough crossing.

Yellow Wagtail

For us this is a first to see a Greater Crested Grebe carrying the nestling, they also carry them in flight.

Parent having a early morning snooze. 

Time for a preen as male keeps watch for unwelcome visitors.

Sorry could not resist it, Click Click!

Proud parents.

Another lovely little arrival a Bonelli's Warbler

So smart this male Black- Earded Wheatear sitting in the pouring rain (should have stayed in Africa).

Male Redstart looking splendid

Love is in the air! twenty five pairs of Common Waxbills were shading in this conifer all paired off,at times one would rest, eyes closed while the other watched for danger.

Stealthy hunter a Little Bittern female.

Now we know why we could not find the Ferruginous Duck earlier in our trip, all on holiday at Vilamoura on the Algarve. 

Sedge Warbler may be small but he can imitate one hundred and forty bird calls to impress a mate.

Squacco Heron looking magnificent in breeding colours.

Little Crake at Vilamoura

By early April good numbers of European Bee-Eaters were arriving back at their nesting sites along the Algarve.

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