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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 18:33   #1
SUN BIRD
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Algarve 2 - 16 Oct (It was there when I took the photo!)

Algarve 2 - 16 Oct (It was there when I took the photo)

This is my first trip with a camera at my disposal.

My ‘significant other’ bought me a camera with a 300m lens a couple of weeks before we went away, so unfortunately no time to get to grips with all the settings etc.
This was to make the birding a more enjoyable experience and to stop me complaining when he takes forever photographing one bird.

I have to say it worked, I really enjoyed my first attempts at capturing what I hoped would be some really good shots. He was very helpful making sure I had the correct settings, however I think I have more bad pictures than good, hopefully in time the ratio will be reversed!!

We arrived at Faro at 8pm on Sunday the 2nd and went straight to Europcar to pick up the car. Niffty little Citroen C!, bad news it was an automatic. After receiving instructions on how to operate, which I know is very easy, we set off. It felt like driving in Auto Pilot. We were staying in a 4 bed villa (Villa Kimbo) in Espiche, approx. 2km out of the village and very rural, we arrived just after 10pm.

First day out Monday 3rd, driving along the track from the Villa we had Iberian Grey Shrike and a Booted Eagle, great start to the day, things can only get better – or can they!!!!

We made our way to Lagoa dos Salgados (Pera Marsh), taking the track round to the right heading towards the Beach Café, Yellow Wagtails and numerous Wheatears were seen flitting alongside the car. Stopping the car we took a few shots before setting off again or not, as unfortunately I was unable to get the car restarted.

I was getting extremely frustrated as turning the ignition did nothing, strange things these automatic cars (what was I doing wrong), it was in engage and the gear stick would not move to neutral. A call to Europcar Assistance proved fruitless, nobody could tell me what to do, other than call Faro Depot where I collected the car. Sadly they were constantly engaged.

11am and it was very hot and tempers beginning to get frayed…………… Another final attempt and we were in business. Purely a guess at the problem – I did not press hard enough on the brake pedal to get a response (give me a manual operated anytime). Straight to the Beach Café for coffee, cake and calm down before moving on.

After a walk around the estuary at Aramcao De Perra where we saw more Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears, also Red Veined Darters, we made our way back to Lagoa dos Salgados (Pera Marsh), where we had sightings of Spoonbills, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harrier, Curlew Sandpiper, Black Tailed Godwit, Wimbrel, plus many more.

A walk across the board walk gave us sightings of Stonechat, Winchat. Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola.

3pm and we had to turn our thoughts to shopping, a trip to Aldi in Pera where we filled the trolley with essentials such as wine, port and brandy, not forgetting the staples like bread milk etc we made our way home.

Happily there were no more car troubles over the next 2 weeks.

There were fantastic views daily of Hoopoe and Azure Winged Magpie in the gardens of the Villa. Opening the windows ensured we could click away without disturbing them allowing us to get some super shots.


(to be continued)







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Old Wednesday 2nd November 2011, 21:56   #2
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Algarve 2 - 16 Oct (Alentejo 7 Oct)

Friday 7th Oct, Alentejo

A few weeks before the start of our holiday we arranged this guided trip with Simon Wates.

We had an early start as we set off for the Alentejo Region, to say that Simon knows his stuff just does not do him justice.
He had asked us previously what we were hoping to see, as we had only ever had very distant views of both bustards these were on our list along with Golden, Spanish Imperial and Bonnelli’s Eagle plus a few other species.

Reaching Castro Verde we stopped for a coffee.

For me the trip was fantastic, not having to drive just enjoy the views without Mick frightening me every 2 minutes shouting “STOP, go back a bit, further, bit more”………….
We drove over fields which would have been a total no no in the small hire car………….. as we drove across rough tracks, we were looking for the first on our list, and hey presto there they were, Little Bustard, what a fantastic sight, moving on within 10mins we had Great Bustard along with Black Bellied Grouse.

As plans go, this was going spiffingly. Next on the list, Thekla and Calandra Lark, ticked. Driving up to one of the trig points we had great views of Black Winged Kite with Mick getting some good shots, mine being poor record shots. Reaching the top we had fantastic views of the Alentejo region with distant views of Common Buzzard and Griffon Vulture.

Stopped off for lunch at a little restaurant off the beaten track where we had grilled chicken which is regularly used by Simon. Very friendly owners, we finished off with coffee and a complimentary drink of the local firewater…………. delicious and at a price that puts the rest of the Algarve to shame.

Fed and watered, we set off in search of the raptors, Simon guaranteed 2 out of the 3 on the list (maybe foolish to make a promise like that), driving off up a track where it may be the best chance we get of seeing something. Suddenly from over the hill just above us 2 very large raptors, slam on the brakes the three of us out of the car…………………… oh my gosh how fantastic a Golden Eagle and a Spanish Imperial not being too friendly with one another, what a sight.

There they were 2 guaranteed………. could we possibly make it three.
Back in the car we got to the top and set ourselves up. The Golden Eagle stayed around for about half an hour and provided us with brilliant views, Mick got some good shots, mine merely silhouettes. Looking out over the plains, I spotted yet another raptor which I pointed out to the boys, could this really be the 3rd on the list, well of course it was a Bonnelli’s Eagle coming towards us what a wonderful day we were having.

It was dusk when we stopped off at a reservoir where had a Great White Egret. Before the journey home we called at Castro Verde where we had tapas and a beer with Simon sticking to non-alcoholic beverage. A perfect way to end a perfect day.

We were dropped off at the gates to the Villa at approx 10pm having seen everything we asked for, I don’t know if Simon is in touch with someone high up as I’m pretty sure there must have been some divine intervention as the birds just appeared to be dropping from the skies!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bustard photograph is my attempt except for the Golden, Spanish Imperial, Bonnelli’s Eagles and the Black Winged Kite which are Mick’s.

To be continued………………………

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Old Thursday 3rd November 2011, 05:55   #3
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Wow you had quite a fantastic day on the Alentejo! Its pretty rare, as far as I know, to get "all" those targets! Even with Simon who is excellent.

Wonderful area though isnt it!.
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Old Thursday 3rd November 2011, 10:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
Wow you had quite a fantastic day on the Alentejo! Its pretty rare, as far as I know, to get "all" those targets! Even with Simon who is excellent.

Wonderful area though isnt it!.
I've been there twice with Simon and have still to see Spanish Imperial Eagle although we had Golden both times. I agree it is a wonderful area, well worth several visits, might be back next autumn if finances allow.
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Old Thursday 3rd November 2011, 14:34   #5
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Alentejo

Sunbird
This is excellent stuff, especially for a first go!
I hope to get to the Algarve with my wife next year all being well.
Sounds like that guy of yours has an easy time of it, if you did the driving!
Look forward to further instalments.
Bon dia!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SUN BIRD View Post
Friday 7th Oct, Alentejo


He had asked us previously what we were hoping to see, as we had only ever had very distant views of both bustards these were on our list along with Golden, Spanish Imperial and Bonnelli’s Eagle plus a few other species.

Reaching Castro Verde we stopped for a coffee.

Fed and watered, we set off in search of the raptors, Simon guaranteed 2 out of the 3 on the list (maybe foolish to make a promise like that), driving off up a track where it may be the best chance we get of seeing something. Suddenly from over the hill just above us 2 very large raptors, slam on the brakes the three of us out of the car…………………… oh my gosh how fantastic a Golden Eagle and a Spanish Imperial not being too friendly with one another, what a sight.

There they were 2 guaranteed………. could we possibly make it three.
Back in the car we got to the top and set ourselves up. The Golden Eagle stayed around for about half an hour and provided us with brilliant views, Mick got some good shots, mine merely silhouettes. Looking out over the plains, I spotted yet another raptor which I pointed out to the boys, could this really be the 3rd on the list, well of course it was a Bonnelli’s Eagle coming towards us what a wonderful day we were having.



The Bustard photograph is my attempt except for the Golden, Spanish Imperial, Bonnelli’s Eagles and the Black Winged Kite which are Mick’s.

To be continued………………………

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Old Monday 7th November 2011, 21:44   #6
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Foia 9 & 13 Oct

Without boring you going in to every days events we had a wonderful 2weeks, seeing some fantastic birds with the 3 eagles being lifers for us both.

Other Notable Days

Foia 9 & 13 Oct

We made 2 journeys up to Foia where we had good views of Rock Bunting, Dartford Warbler, Black Redstart and Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Green Woodpecker including some lovely butterflies including a Two Tailed Pasha.

We were treated to a fantastic display of aerobatics when a Peregrine suddenly appeared and seemed very determined to make a Kestrel its prey. What a fantastic sight being on the same level and occasionally looking down on the spectacle. The speed of it all was too much for my limited camera skills, sadly Mick’s few shots were no more than silhouettes.

The Dartford Warbler is one of Micks

to be continued.....................

Tina
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Old Monday 7th November 2011, 22:03   #7
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More Foia photographs
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Old Tuesday 8th November 2011, 11:30   #8
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The hunting season has started here in Portugal where it is leagal to shoot birds such as Blacbirds and Thrushes. It is so sad that the Portugues trap and evan eat such small birds such as the Sardinian warbler.
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Old Tuesday 8th November 2011, 18:24   #9
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The hunting season has started here in Portugal where it is leagal to shoot birds such as Blacbirds and Thrushes. It is so sad that the Portugues trap and evan eat such small birds such as the Sardinian warbler.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....55#post2285855
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Old Friday 11th November 2011, 19:16   #10
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Alvor 5 & 9 Oct

Alvor 5 & 9 Oct
Reaching the estuary we walked round the sea wall seeing the usual waders, along with
Sandwich and Caspian Tern, a striking flash of iridescent blue caught our eye and managed to catch a glimpse of a Kingfisher.

It was late afternoon and we were hoping to catch sight of a Blue Throat, having had sightings in this area over the last few years. Luck was obviously on our side when we reached the north east corner we spotted not one but two, unfortunately they quickly disappeared in to the saline scrub.

tbc...........

Tina
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Old Friday 11th November 2011, 20:07   #11
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Cape St Vincent / Sagres

Cape St Vincent / Sagres 4, 10, 11, 14 & 15 Oct
As we were based in Espiche, C St V and Sagres were easily accessible for us making regular trips to the Raptor Watch Point driving along the tracks from Vale Do Bispo.
High above at the Watch Point over the days we visited we saw Egyptian Vulture, Elenoras Falcon, Hen Harrier, Booted Eagle, Short Toed Eagle, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Goshawk and many more.

Not much more to go, almost at the end now................

Tina
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Old Sunday 13th November 2011, 23:11   #12
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Algarve 2 - 16 Oct

Some great record shots there Sunbird.
Nice reporting.
Bon Dia!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SUN BIRD View Post
Cape St Vincent / Sagres 4, 10, 11, 14 & 15 Oct
As we were based in Espiche, C St V and Sagres were easily accessible for us making regular trips to the Raptor Watch Point driving along the tracks from Vale Do Bispo.
High above at the Watch Point over the days we visited we saw Egyptian Vulture, Elenoras Falcon, Hen Harrier, Booted Eagle, Short Toed Eagle, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Goshawk and many more.

Not much more to go, almost at the end now................

Tina
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Old Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 19:52   #13
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Quinta Da Lago 6 & 16 Oct

Quinta Da Lago 6 & 16 Oct
At this time of year, parking at QdL is free, during the season the cost is 14 euros for a full day. Although it may seem costly it does provide secure parking with regular checks by the Security Services.

Previous years opposite the hide in the trees there have been good numbers of Azure Winged Magpies, however both visits to the area produced extremely low numbers. We had good views across the lagoon of Little Bittern, Purple Gallinule, Common Snipe plus distant sighting of the Black Headed Weaver Bird.

Walking along the track towards Ria Formosa produced very little although plenty of Flamingos.
As we were making our way back there was a Bar Tailed Godwit on the edge of the green within a couple of metres of us and the golfers and was totally unperturbed with us snapping away, occasionally looking up to keep an eye on us.

Nearly back to the car and we came across a Little Egret having afternoon tea, he played with his food for 10mins before finally putting the poor fish out of its misery, very exciting for me clicking away with my camera, happy day.

What a fantastic way to end the holiday as this was our final trip to QdL where we spent our last hours before carrying on to the airport for the flight home.
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Old Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 20:07   #14
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A few final photos
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Old Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 20:08   #15
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Sites Visited October 2011:
Espiche : Arrived at villa 22:15 02/10, departed 10:00 16/10
Alvor (Rio de alvor) : 05/10, 09/10
Alentejo/Campo Branco Protected Area ; 07/10 guided tour with Simon Wates.
Foia : 09/10 , 13/10
Fontes (Sitio dos Fontes ) ; 12/10
Lagoa dos Salgados (Pera) : 03/10 , 12/10
Sagres - raptor watch point/Cabo de St Vincent/Vila do Bispo:
04/10 , 10/10, 11/10, 14/10, 15/10
Quinta do Lago : 06/10, 16/10
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Old Sunday 8th January 2012, 13:40   #16
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Species of Birds Seen:
Key:Al = Alvor, A= Alentejo,CSV= Cape St.Vincent, F=Foi, L=Lagos, QdL= Quinta du Lago. S= Sagres, s=Salgados (Pera Marsh)
Common Name Latin Name Where seen

• Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis QdL,Al,
• Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus QdL
• Northern Gannet Morus bassanus CSV - C
• Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo carbo L - C
• Little Egret Egretta garzetta Common near water
• Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Common near water
• Great White Egret Egretta alba A =1; Ft = 1
• Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Common
• Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus Q = 1 16/10
• Black Stork Ciconia nigra S = migrating flock 10/10
• White Stork Ciconia ciconia Common
• Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus L = count of 50 on 03/10 , thereafter singles
• Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia L,Q = common in good numbers
• Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber L,Q = common in good numbers
• Gadwall Anas strepera Q = common in good numbers
• Mallard Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos Common at any wetland
• Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata L, Q = common in good numbers
• Common Pochard Aythya ferina Q = common in good numbers
• Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula Q = 2, 16/10
• Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea Espiche = 2 flew over villa 13/10 (escapees Brou zoo?)
• Common Teal Anas crecca L = 1, 16/10
• Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus A = 2, 07/10
• Red Kite Milvus milvus A = 2, 07/10
• Black Kite Milvus migrans migran A = 2, 07/10, S = 10/10, S = 11/10
• Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus S = 12, 10/10
• Eurasian Griffon-vulture Gyps fulvus A = 1, 07/10
• Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus gallicu S = 2, 10/10
• Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus L = seen every visit, Q = 1 16/10
• Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus S = 1 , 04/10
• Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus A = 3 07/10, S = 1, 11/10
• Common Buzzard Buteo bute Common
• European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus S = 1, 04/10
• Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti A = 1, 07/10
• Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos A = ,2 07/10
• Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus seen at most suitable habitats
• Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus A = 1, 07/10
• Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus seen at most suitable habitats
• Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus seen at most suitable habitats
• Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae S = 1, 11/10
• Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus F = 1 13/10, S = 2, 15/10
• Goshawk Accipiter gentilis S = 1 , 11/10
• Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus S = 1, 10/10
• Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa seen at most suitable habitats
• Purple Swamphen [sp] Porphyrio porphyria Q = easily
• Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus seen at most suitable habitats
• Eurasian Coot Fulica atra seen at most suitable habitats
• Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax A = 12, 07/10, S = 8 14/10 & 10,15/10
• Great Bustard Otis tarda A = small winter flocks
• Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus easily seen at Al, S & Q
• Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta easily seen at Al, S & Q
• Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula common at estuaries
• Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius A = 2 , 07/10
• Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola common at estuaries
• Peewit Vanellus vanellus common at estuaries
• Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Q = 6, 06/10
• Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Q & Al, S = common
• Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Common Redshank Tringa tetanus Q & Al, S = common
• Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Wood Sandpipe , Tringa glareola S = 1, 16/10
• Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Al = 6 on tanks 05/10
• Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Dunlin Calidris alpina common at estuaries
• Ruff Philomachus pugnax common at estuaries
• Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago A = 3 , 07/10 Q = 1, 06/10
• Little Stint Calidris minuta Q & Al, S = ones and twos
• Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus Al = singles about estuary
• Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans atlantis Common
• Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Common
• Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus Common
• Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalu Al = 4 05/10
• Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis A = 6, 07/10
• Common Tern Sterna hirundo S = 1, 16/10
• Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia S = 2, 03/10 , Al = 2, 05/10
• Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis Al = common
• Rock Dove Columba livia Capo S V – seen on cliffs
• Stock Dove Columba oenas S = 1, 04/10
• Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus A = 1, 07/10
• European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtu S = 1, )4/10
• Eurasian Collared-dove Streptopelia decaocto Common
• Little Owl Athene noctua Calera y Chozas Common
• Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Trujillo Al=1 05/10, A = 1, 07/10
• Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops Segovia seen on lawn at Espiche every day
• Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major 1 near Silves 13/10
• Iberian Green Woodpecker Picus viridis sharpie F = 09/10
• Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra A = winter flocks
• Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla [cinerea] S = small flock 15/10
• Crested Lark Galerida cristata common at Alvor
• Thekla Lark Galerida theklae common at Sagres
• Sand Martin Riparia riparia Embalse de Azutan S = 2 03/10, Q = 3, 06/10
• Eurasian Crag-martin Hirundo rupestris A = common also seen at Boca do Rio
• Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Madrid a few migrating birds each visit to Sagres
• Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica seen hawking over
• House Martin Delichon urbica few seen near Sesmarias
• Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis S = 1, 16/10
• Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris A = 1, 07/10
• White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba 1 at Fontes 12/10
• Yellow-wagtail Motacilla flava S = large migration fall on 03/10
• Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 1 on lawn at Villa 15/10
• European Robin Erithacus rubecula 2 seen on lawn at Villa every day
• Bluethroat Luscinia svecica A = 1, 50/10, 2 09/10
• Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicuru S = migrating birds 04/10
• Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros S & F = common
• Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata torquata common
• Whinchat Saxicola rubetra S = migrating birds 04/10
• Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe common
• Blue Rock-thrush Monticola solitarius F = singles seen on every visit
• Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula d common
• Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti common but confiding at wetlands
• Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis common
• Eurasian Reed-warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus Q = seen in reeds on each visit
• Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Male and female seen regularly at Villa
• Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala common
• Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata F = common
• Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita common
• Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla Q = 1 06/10, in pines
• Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca S = common during 1st week Oct
• Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata S = common
• Blue Tit Parus caeruleus seen regularly at Espiche
• Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla Q = 3 06/10, in pines
• Iberian Grey ShrikeLanius excubitor meridionalisevery day at Espiche+ suit habitat
• Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana very common , 82 flew over da Rocha
• Black-billed Magpie Pica pica A = 4, 07/10 & S = 2, 16/10
• Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax S- wintering flocks seen from a distance
• Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula 2 at Lagos 08/10
• Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone A = common
• Common Raven Corvus corax A = 1 07/10, S = 2 04/10
• Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris S = 14/10
• Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor common at all locations
• House Sparrow Passer domesticus common
• Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus] Al = 6 05/10
• Black-headed Weaver [sp] Ploceus melanocephalus Q = 1 06/10
• Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild small flocks at Fontes reedbed 12/10
• Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina S = common
• Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis S = common
• Rock Bunting Emberiza cia F = 1 , 09/10
• Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra A & S = common winter flocks
Total 139 Species





Butterflies seen:
Small Copper,Southern Speckled Wood,Southern Small White,Swallowtail,Two Tailed Pasha, Common Blue,
Long tailed blue,clouded yellow.
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Old Monday 16th January 2012, 19:18   #17
Bon Dia
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Stoke
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Algarve 2 - 16 Oct - Algarve Toll Charges

Fab report Tina and great list of birds.
You and other Algarve birders will not find it quite so accessible, in the future, since the government introduced toll charges on the main motorway , the N22 from last month.
Since the system works electronically, it also appears that there are no proper arrangements in place for hire car users.
So be prepared for delays if you intend to use the N125 as an alternative.
Further information can be found at:
http://www.algarveresident.com/0-446...-on-december-8

Thanks for posting.
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