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Old Monday 4th July 2011, 13:58   #1
Pam_m
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Algarve, Portugal. 20th-27th June 2011.

It was good to be back in the Algarve and feel the warmth of the sun! Our accomodation for the week was an apartment (one of just four) in Vale de Parra which had been recommended to us on a previous holiday. It was a superb apartment and one I can highly recommend, PM me for details if interested.
Around the gardens and nearby were a pair of Linnets with the male looking striking in his breeding plumage, House Sparrows, Greenfinch, Blackbirds, Collared Doves, Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and the occasional Grasshopper!
At Lagoa dos Salgados it was somewhat quiet, though with a flock of c200 Greater Flamingos it could hardly be called quiet! Other highlights were Mallards aplenty, Coots, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Spoonbills, Grey Heron, Purple Heron (Lifer), Little Egret, Med Gull, Common Sandpiper, Hoopoe, Little Grebe, Crested Larks, Fan-tailed Warblers, Bee-eaters, Azure-winged Magpies, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Woodchat Shrikes (Lifer), Kestrel, Swifts, Hirundines and Little Owls galore in the evenings were some of the highlights at this Lagoon.

Wednesday the 22nd was to be a good, no a great day! My Daughter and Son etc had arranged for us to have a Guided birding day with Simon Wates (Birdforum member) at Baixo Alentejo, a surprise Birthday present for me! It was a fantastic day with many new bird species seen! The highlight birds seen were Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Black Kite, Black-winged Kite, Montagu's Harrier (m, f and 2 juvs, awesome birds), Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle ( perched and distant but great scope and bins views, we did see it fly later but hard to get a perspective of it's awesome size ) Lesser Kestrels (stunning birds), Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Roller, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Turtle Dove, Stone Curlew (on the ground and in flight, a cracker), Thekla Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Nightingale (fleetingly), Spotless Starlings, Golden Oriole x3 (heard and seen, gorgeous birds), and possibly my favourite bird of the day, a Rufous Bush Robin with the Golden Eagle, Lesser Kestrels and Golden Orioles vying for second place. As it was quickly approaching dusk we watched several Bee-eaters and Lesser Kestrels as they caught flying insects, 7 Corn Buntings were perched on a fence and a superb male Montagu's Harrier flew through..what a finale to a fantastic day! Magic!
We arrived back at our apartment rather late (well the next day to be honest.lol!) after a wonderfully exciting day in such a vast area, when at the Raptor watch point it was an eyeopener to see just how vast the area is, an area I had wanted to visit for a long time. I learnt a lot of facts and saw a lot of new bird species (19 lifers) thanks to Simon's expert birding knowledge, a great guy! A truly unforgettable day!

The rest of the week was spent resting...well sunbathing.... and visiting a couple of areas, Lagoa dos Salgados in the early mornings and at dusk being one of them. On one of the early morning visits 8 Hoopoe were feeding along the track to the carpark, I have never seen that many in one go before! Dusk visits brought us a couple of sightings and churring songs of Nightjars, not Red-necked Nightjar as I have checked their song on returning home. Little Owls were seen several times perched in the trees and along the track. Silves was visited but it was quiet here with White Storks being the highlight and a stunning Monarch butterfly! At the Odelouca Valley Kingfisher, Pied (or white) Wagtail and Azure-winged Magpies were seen. After our day at Baixo Alentejo it would be hard to top what we had seen but the Nightjars and Little Owls at Lagoa dos Salgados were an absolute joy to see and hear!
All in all a memorable holiday!

Baixo Alentejo:
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Old Monday 4th July 2011, 14:00   #2
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Baixo Alentejo:
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Old Monday 4th July 2011, 14:03   #3
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Lagoa dos Salgados.
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Old Monday 4th July 2011, 14:06   #4
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Lagoa dos Salgados:

Monarch butterfly & White Stork taken at Silves:
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Old Tuesday 5th July 2011, 19:39   #5
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A wonderful report Pam. And such lovely pictures to accompany it.

You really did have a good time, didn't you.

D
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Old Tuesday 5th July 2011, 19:52   #6
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Brings back memories of my own trip, hope you like the Swaro ELs?
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Old Tuesday 5th July 2011, 21:07   #7
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Hi Pam
Sounds like you had a great vacation.
Makes me want to go back soon.
Hope you tried the O'Marinheiro at Val de Parra.
Thanks for sharing your report.
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Old Wednesday 6th July 2011, 09:05   #8
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Originally Posted by delia todd View Post
A wonderful report Pam. And such lovely pictures to accompany it.

You really did have a good time, didn't you.

D
Thanks Delia! I am pleased that you enjoyed the report. It really was a great holiday!

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Originally Posted by apbarr View Post
Brings back memories of my own trip, hope you like the Swaro ELs?
I have read your super report since returning, you do have some great memories Alex! My new bins are topnotch!

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Hi Pam
Sounds like you had a great vacation.
Makes me want to go back soon.
Hope you tried the O'Marinheiro at Val de Parra.
Thanks for sharing your report.
Mick
I am back in the Autumn Mick so will make a note of O'Marinheiro, it looks a brill restaurant after doing a bit of googling! Two favourites of mine are A Casa Do Avo and Sao Domingos, both in Vale de Parra!


Thank you Delia, Alex and Mick for your kind comments!
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Old Thursday 7th July 2011, 16:29   #9
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Wonderful day you had at Castro Verde / Baixo Alentejo. One of my favourate areas in the world. Pleased for you.

Simon connected with you with virtually all the goodies!
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Old Friday 8th July 2011, 13:05   #10
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Wonderful day you had at Castro Verde / Baixo Alentejo. One of my favourate areas in the world. Pleased for you.

Simon connected with you with virtually all the goodies!
Thanks Wolfbirder!

Simon certainly did connect us with virtually all the goodies!

At one point we were driving down a track and just ahead of us on the track was a Little Bustard pecking away at insects, we were so lucky to come across one out in the open. It eventually spotted us and ran into tall plant cover. Not everyday one see's such a delightful bird!

I have added my record 'Spot the Little Bustard' pic!
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Old Friday 8th July 2011, 15:18   #11
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Thanks Wolfbirder!

Simon certainly did connect us with virtually all the goodies!

At one point we were driving down a track and just ahead of us on the track was a Little Bustard pecking away at insects, we were so lucky to come across one out in the open. It eventually spotted us and ran into tall plant cover. Not everyday one see's such a delightful bird!

I have added my record 'Spot the Little Bustard' pic!
You are lucky to see this little blighter - it took me 4 trips to Spain and Portugal to see this species, I can only imagine what mileage I put in.
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Old Friday 8th July 2011, 15:18   #12
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Thanks Wolfbirder!

Simon certainly did connect us with virtually all the goodies!

At one point we were driving down a track and just ahead of us on the track was a Little Bustard pecking away at insects, we were so lucky to come across one out in the open. It eventually spotted us and ran into tall plant cover. Not everyday one see's such a delightful bird!

I have added my record 'Spot the Little Bustard' pic!
You are lucky to see this little blighter - it took me 4 trips to Spain and Portugal to see this species, I can only imagine what mileage I put in.
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Old Friday 8th July 2011, 19:07   #13
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You are lucky to see this little blighter - it took me 4 trips to Spain and Portugal to see this species, I can only imagine what mileage I put in.
At least you got one in the end!
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Old Friday 8th July 2011, 19:40   #14
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You are lucky to see this little blighter - it took me 4 trips to Spain and Portugal to see this species, I can only imagine what mileage I put in.
Took me at least 15mins on my first attempt

Pam, your record shot is way better than any I managed
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Old Saturday 9th July 2011, 13:56   #15
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Took me at least 15mins on my first attempt

Pam, your record shot is way better than any I managed
Some folk are just soooo lucky.lol!

Thanks for your very kind words on my 'record' shot Alex!
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2011, 11:37   #16
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It was good to be back in the Algarve and feel the warmth of the sun! Our accomodation for the week was an apartment (one of just four) in Vale de Parra which had been recommended to us on a previous holiday. It was a superb apartment and one I can highly recommend, PM me for details if interested.
Around the gardens and nearby were a pair of Linnets with the male looking striking in his breeding plumage, House Sparrows, Greenfinch, Blackbirds, Collared Doves, Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and the occasional Grasshopper!
At Lagoa dos Salgados it was somewhat quiet, though with a flock of c200 Greater Flamingos it could hardly be called quiet! Other highlights were Mallards aplenty, Coots, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Spoonbills, Grey Heron, Purple Heron (Lifer), Little Egret, Med Gull, Common Sandpiper, Hoopoe, Little Grebe, Crested Larks, Fan-tailed Warblers, Bee-eaters, Azure-winged Magpies, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Woodchat Shrikes (Lifer), Kestrel, Swifts, Hirundines and Little Owls galore in the evenings were some of the highlights at this Lagoon.

Wednesday the 22nd was to be a good, no a great day! My Daughter and Son etc had arranged for us to have a Guided birding day with Simon Wates (Birdforum member) at Baixo Alentejo, a surprise Birthday present for me! It was a fantastic day with many new bird species seen! The highlight birds seen were Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Black Kite, Black-winged Kite, Montagu's Harrier (m, f and 2 juvs, awesome birds), Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle ( perched and distant but great scope and bins views, we did see it fly later but hard to get a perspective of it's awesome size ) Lesser Kestrels (stunning birds), Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Roller, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Turtle Dove, Stone Curlew (on the ground and in flight, a cracker), Thekla Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Nightingale (fleetingly), Spotless Starlings, Golden Oriole x3 (heard and seen, gorgeous birds), and possibly my favourite bird of the day, a Rufous Bush Robin with the Golden Eagle, Lesser Kestrels and Golden Orioles vying for second place. As it was quickly approaching dusk we watched several Bee-eaters and Lesser Kestrels as they caught flying insects, 7 Corn Buntings were perched on a fence and a superb male Montagu's Harrier flew through..what a finale to a fantastic day! Magic!
We arrived back at our apartment rather late (well the next day to be honest.lol!) after a wonderfully exciting day in such a vast area, when at the Raptor watch point it was an eyeopener to see just how vast the area is, an area I had wanted to visit for a long time. I learnt a lot of facts and saw a lot of new bird species (19 lifers) thanks to Simon's expert birding knowledge, a great guy! A truly unforgettable day!

The rest of the week was spent resting...well sunbathing.... and visiting a couple of areas, Lagoa dos Salgados in the early mornings and at dusk being one of them. On one of the early morning visits 8 Hoopoe were feeding along the track to the carpark, I have never seen that many in one go before! Dusk visits brought us a couple of sightings and churring songs of Nightjars, not Red-necked Nightjar as I have checked their song on returning home. Little Owls were seen several times perched in the trees and along the track. Silves was visited but it was quiet here with White Storks being the highlight and a stunning Monarch butterfly! At the Odelouca Valley Kingfisher, Pied (or white) Wagtail and Azure-winged Magpies were seen. After our day at Baixo Alentejo it would be hard to top what we had seen but the Nightjars and Little Owls at Lagoa dos Salgados were an absolute joy to see and hear!
All in all a memorable holiday!

Baixo Alentejo:
Hi Pam

I see you mention Montagu's Harrier. Superb birds aren't they? ALthough this is not the one you saw, I thought you might like to have a look and relive part of your great birding experience:

http://youtu.be/pKHQSEkH7j0

All the best
Steve
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2011, 19:51   #17
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Hi Pam

I see you mention Montagu's Harrier. Superb birds aren't they? ALthough this is not the one you saw, I thought you might like to have a look and relive part of your great birding experience:

http://youtu.be/pKHQSEkH7j0

All the best
Steve

Thank you for the video link Steve! The Montagu's Harrier looked as though it was enjoying a tasty treat as a reward for the video shoot?

I have relived in my mind my great birding experience many times since that memorable day!
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Old Wednesday 13th July 2011, 08:55   #18
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Hi Pam

Glad you liked the video. However, no artificial feeding is involved with these birds, so whatever he was extricating from his bill was his own doing!

Steve
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Old Tuesday 19th July 2011, 18:56   #19
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Just re-read your trip report again and still can't believe how brilliant all your sightings were, I would love to see just one of your nineteen lifers!! The birds certainly came out in force for your day at Baixo Alentejo which sounds like it is a 'must visit' area to visit for holidaying birdwatchers in the Algarve....I will certainly be going there for my next trip there! Your photographs have captured the highlights from your holiday perfectly and it is so nice to see Bee-Eaters at Lagoa dos Salgados...a bird I have never seen there!!
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Old Tuesday 19th July 2011, 19:09   #20
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Great report Pam, makes me want to get back to Portugal myself. I never got up into the Alentejo area when we went so really envy your list from there. An awful lot of those 19 lifers would have been the same for me.
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Old Wednesday 20th July 2011, 10:12   #21
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Hi, I am new on this beautiful forum, this is my first post!
I was just looking for a trip report of Algarve and Alentejo, this one is amazing! :)
from 5 to 24 august I'm going to visit Portugal, starting from Porto... the last week I want to do some birdwatching in Algarve (my location is at Carvoeiro) and then in Alentejo on the way back...
so I'd like to have suggestions about the best places in these areas because I won't have much time for my beloved birds

Thank you in advance!

PS: sorry for my horrible english!!
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Old Wednesday 20th July 2011, 20:07   #22
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Just re-read your trip report again and still can't believe how brilliant all your sightings were, I would love to see just one of your nineteen lifers!! The birds certainly came out in force for your day at Baixo Alentejo which sounds like it is a 'must visit' area to visit for holidaying birdwatchers in the Algarve....I will certainly be going there for my next trip there! Your photographs have captured the highlights from your holiday perfectly and it is so nice to see Bee-Eaters at Lagoa dos Salgados...a bird I have never seen there!!
Thanks Emma! The Alentejo is a 'must visit' area indeed, you would love it! It was good to see the Bee-eaters at Lagoa dos Salgados, this holiday was the right time of year for them. I think the Algarve will be a priority holiday for you in the not too distant future!


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Great report Pam, makes me want to get back to Portugal myself. I never got up into the Alentejo area when we went so really envy your list from there. An awful lot of those 19 lifers would have been the same for me.
Thanks Keith! Get yourself back to Portugal and off to the Alentejo, I will say the same as I said to Emma "you would love it"! It was great to see what I now feel is the 'real' Portugal.

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Hi, I am new on this beautiful forum, this is my first post!
I was just looking for a trip report of Algarve and Alentejo, this one is amazing! :)
from 5 to 24 august I'm going to visit Portugal, starting from Porto... the last week I want to do some birdwatching in Algarve (my location is at Carvoeiro) and then in Alentejo on the way back...
so I'd like to have suggestions about the best places in these areas because I won't have much time for my beloved birds

Thank you in advance!

PS: sorry for my horrible english!!
Hi claudio93,
Thank you for your kind comment.
Carvoeiro Lighthouse and Centaines Cliffs (Blue Rock Thrush and possibly Peregrine Falcon) are worth looking around especially as that will be your base in the Algarve. The lighthouse area is usually good for Spotless Starlings, Sardinian warblers, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Linnet are a few species you may encounter.

There are many areas good for birding in the Algarve, Alvor Estuary, Quinta Do Lago, Parque Ambiental and nearby Falesia Lagoon, Lagoa dos Salgados, Ria Formosa and of course the Alentejo to name a few! I suggest that you use the 'Search' engine on this forum which will highlight very informative past birding reports, these should give you more than enough information as to what birds you may see in any given area for you to make a decision as to which areas will be best suited for you.

Have a wonderful holiday!

PS: Your English is very good!
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Old Thursday 21st July 2011, 06:47   #23
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Hi, I am new on this beautiful forum, this is my first post!
I was just looking for a trip report of Algarve and Alentejo, this one is amazing! :)
from 5 to 24 august I'm going to visit Portugal, starting from Porto... the last week I want to do some birdwatching in Algarve (my location is at Carvoeiro) and then in Alentejo on the way back...
so I'd like to have suggestions about the best places in these areas because I won't have much time for my beloved birds

Thank you in advance!

PS: sorry for my horrible english!!
Hi Claudio,

I have a fairly recent detailed report of Baixo Alentejo (Castro Verde area) under "Vacational Trip Reports" detailing where to go (and where not to go).

There are others that are probably better, buut mine does give some geographical detail. Its a large area, and you may wish to contact Simon Waites who can guide you for the day at reasonable rates, to most of the best birds on the Alentejo. You may just prefer to potter around yourself, but if you want to see the speciality birds, he knows where they are. You would not regret it.
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Last edited by wolfbirder : Thursday 21st July 2011 at 06:49.
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Old Thursday 21st July 2011, 09:46   #24
claudio93
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Thank you very much Pam and wolfbirder!!
Interesting the lighthouse, especially the Blue Rock Thrush!

I read immediately the Baixo Alentejo report!
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