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Sagres Bird Festival 5th,6th & 7th October 2012

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Old Sunday 2nd September 2012, 11:34   #1
Simon Wates
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Sagres Bird Festival 5th,6th & 7th October 2012

Sagres Bird Festival 5th,6th & 7th October 2012

http://www.birdwatchingsagres.com/index.php?lang=en

Again in early October the Sagres Bird Festival will be one of the highlights of the Portuguese birding year. Although running from 30th September the first days will concentrate on activities destined for non-birding locals and especially schoolchildren.

Last year some 700 people attended the festival and despite a lull in migration on that weekend much of interest was seen - you can't really fail to have rewarding birding around Sagres at this time. Hopefully things will be more typical this year!

Just some of the activities include; free guided field trips, economic pelagics, photo courses, dragonfly ID, Raptor ID courses and a talk from guest speaker, Erik Hirschfeld, editor of "The World's Rarest Birds".

Some of the highlights include a large diversity of raptors (some 20 spp.+ being normal), passerine migration and seabird watching from the shore and on pelagics. Species regularly seen at this time include soaring birds such as Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Hobby, Egyptian Vulture and Black Stork for example, passerines such as Spectacled, Subalpine and Darford Warblers, Blue Rock Thrush, Red-billed Chough, Wryneck, Ortolan Bunting, Tawny Pipit to name just a few! Seabirds regularly seen include large numbers of Cory's Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwater, the skuas and on the boat trips Wilson's Storm and European Storm Petrels and Scopoli's Searwater are regulars.

Less frequent but regularly occurring species in October include Spanish Imperial and Golden Eagles, Black Vulture, Eleanora's Falcon, Dotterel and rarities include Ruppell's Vulture (every year recently), the 1st White-backed Vulture for Europe, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Pallid Harrier, White-rumped Sandpiper and Chimney and White-rumped Swifts to name just a few!

If you are down in Portugal at this time its a must!

Alternatively, a long weekend would make a delightful break from the chilly northern Europe. At Sagres, early October is reliably calm and very warm!

Anybody wanting more information see the website or just ask me here.

Simon

Last edited by Simon Wates : Sunday 2nd September 2012 at 12:14.
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2012, 11:39   #2
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The last days of August produced: Honey Buzzards, Bonelli's, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Montagu's Harriers, Goshawk, Eleanora's Falcon, Egyptain Vultures, Black Stork and lots of passrine migrants inc. W. Bonelli's, Melodious, Spectacled Warblers, lots of Whitethroats, Pied Flycatchers and Willow Warblers, some Common Redstart, the first Wheatears, passing Ortolan Bunting, Tawny Pipits and Short-toed Larks...the sea is holding good numbers of Cory's Shearwaters.

I will be increasing my visits in the coming weeks and I'll keep you posted!
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Old Tuesday 4th September 2012, 21:00   #3
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Today, time spent around Sagres brought a bit of variety - too early for numbers of raptors but nice birding all the same. Some 6 or 7 juv. Montagu's and 4 juv.Marsh Harriers, a juv. Goshawk, 4 Short-toed Eagles a juv. Bonelli's Eagle, a few Sparrowhawks, 4 Honey Buzzards, a Hobby, 3 Egyptian Vultures, a Common Buzzard, 2 juv Peregrines and numerous Kestrels - a quick look on the sea brought 50+ Gannets and Cory's Shearwaters and a few Balearic. Passerines inc. some 100+ Woodchat Shrikes, mainly juvs, abundant Willow Warblers, lots of Whitethroat some Melodious, Subalpine and Spectacled Warblers, (and of course the resident Dartfords), Red-rumped Swallows and Sand Martins, Short-toed Larks, Yellow Wagtails, Common Redstarts and Nightingales, the first Northern Wheatears (late this year I'm sure), lots of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, a few Tree Pipits and an Ortolan Bunting. Other birds included Little Bustards, Hoopoes, Thekla Larks, Blue Rock Thrushes and Red-billed Choughs.

No sign of one of the 4 different Eleanora's Falcons seen the last days though, maybe tomorrow

Last edited by Simon Wates : Tuesday 4th September 2012 at 21:07.
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Old Tuesday 4th September 2012, 21:48   #4
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Originally Posted by Simon Wates View Post
Today, time spent around Sagres brought a bit of variety - too early for numbers of raptors but nice birding all the same. Some 6 or 7 juv. Montagu's and 4 juv.Marsh Harriers, a juv. Goshawk, 4 Short-toed Eagles a juv. Bonelli's Eagle, a few Sparrowhawks, 4 Honey Buzzards, a Hobby, 3 Egyptian Vultures, a Common Buzzard, 2 juv Peregrines and numerous Kestrels - a quick look on the sea brought 50+ Gannets and Cory's Shearwaters and a few Balearic. Passerines inc. some 100+ Woodchat Shrikes, mainly juvs, abundant Willow Warblers, lots of Whitethroat some Melodious, Subalpine and Spectacled Warblers, (and of course the resident Dartfords), Red-rumped Swallows and Sand Martins, Short-toed Larks, Yellow Wagtails, Common Redstarts and Nightingales, the first Northern Wheatears (late this year I'm sure), lots of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, a few Tree Pipits and an Ortolan Bunting. Other birds included Little Bustards, Hoopoes, Thekla Larks, Blue Rock Thrushes and Red-billed Choughs.

No sign of one of the 4 different Eleanora's Falcons seen the last days though, maybe tomorrow
Simon I'm in Algarve from 17th September for ten days, (non-birding holiday with family but hoping to have a couple of days at least in the field). I'm based over at Tavira but will have a car. I was going to ask where best to spend a day. I worked the saltpans around Quinto de Lago in June and was looking for something different. Based on what you are saying I'm guessing you'd recommend I spend some time at Sagres?

I still wouldn't mind trying to photograph Little Bittern at Quinto - saw in June but couldn't get a shot - will they still be present now? Also will Lesser Kestrel still be at Silves?

Any info. much appreciated. I'll be with my Portuguese son-in-law who I've managed to get into birding back in Britain so it would be nice to show him so good birds in his homeland.

Cheers

Steve
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Old Thursday 6th September 2012, 11:25   #5
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Yesterday brought much of a same as the day before plus some very nice birds.

- A super pale morph juv. Honey Buzzard gave great views.
- A superb juv. dark morph Montagu's Harrier spent much of day patrolling the grass and scrublands giving close up views.
- A surprise find was a Lanner - in the middle of the peninsula near Vila do Bispo - it looked great for a classic juv. erlangeri. A friend found a Lesser Whitethroat near Cabranosa - also a rarity in Portugal.

Sagres is being Sagres!

Passerines were fewer than the 4th - Willow Warblers were far less abundant for eg - sure there will be other waves of them through yet. Additions to the recent sightings also included a couple of Golden Orioles and a Roller.
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Old Thursday 6th September 2012, 11:37   #6
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Hi Steve,
Maybe I will see you when you are out here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawts View Post
Based on what you are saying I'm guessing you'd recommend I spend some time at Sagres?

Not going to Sagres during Sept-Nov on an Algarve visit would be unthinkable!

I still wouldn't mind trying to photograph Little Bittern at Quinto - saw in June but couldn't get a shot - will they still be present now?

Little Bitterns overwinter in good numbers in the Algarve - Quinta do Lago is by far the best place to photograph them - they are relatively tame there.

Also will Lesser Kestrel still be at Silves?

I've heard rumours about this - but I'm not convinced they breed in the Algarve - what do you know?
Small numbers overwinter near Castro Verde - but the masses are leaving now.

Cheers

Steve
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Old Thursday 6th September 2012, 21:20   #7
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Simon
My wife and I will be in the Algarve from the 6th Oct and will definitely be visiting Sagres again.
last time we visited in Feb 2010, we left it till the end of our trip and only had time to explore the castle area.
We would be interested in a pelagic trip.Would it be advisable to book in advance and what sort of price would it be?
planned date for visit is the 7th
Thanks in anticipation
MIKE

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Old Friday 7th September 2012, 21:58   #8
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Simon
My wife and I will be in the Algarve from the 6th Oct and will definitely be visiting Sagres again.
last time we visited in Feb 2010, we left it till the end of our trip and only had time to explore the castle area.
We would be interested in a pelagic trip.Would it be advisable to book in advance and what sort of price would it be?
planned date for visit is the 7th
Thanks in anticipation
MIKE

,
I and three friends joined a pelagic trip out of Sagres late September last year. It was an excellent trip with 100+ Great Shearwaters and 10 or so Wilson's Petrels the highlights. It was run by Mar Ilimitado so I suggest you contact them for further information.
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 08:40   #9
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Hi Mike,

Yes, Sagres is very different from February in October!

As Stuart says Mar Ilimitado is the preferred option for birding pelagics - they know what they are doing and I recommend them wholeheartedly on my website.

Bear in mind though that they (and another company - Cape Cruiser) are fully involved in Sagres Bird Festival. To go on one of the 3 pelagics scheduled for the 7th Oct you should register for the festival so you may get an arm band and pay 25 Euros. You should book well in advance - most of my field trips are already fully booked. I can see that there is still space on the pelagics though. See this link for all the info you need - and see the link on this page to the registration form for the festival:

http://www.birdwatchingsagres.com/in...mid=54&lang=en

Alternatively you could book direct with Mar Ilimitado the days just after the festival. Hopefully the weather will be suitable - last year a couple of pelagics had to be cancelled due to a very large swell. Normally we have calm weather in October - lets hope so!

Also, you must make time for the land birds too

Simon

Last edited by Simon Wates : Saturday 8th September 2012 at 09:12.
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 08:54   #10
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Late news from 5th Sept. concerns a Lesser Whitethroat found by a reliable (and duly thrilled!) Portuguese birder - this might not seem like a rarity to the folks in the UK but as we are dealing with a migrant that travels SE in the autumn this bird is only the 2nd for Portugal! The first was seen in the Sagres area in 1994.
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 10:13   #11
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Hi Simon, I have PM'd you re: Sagres Festival...........your PM box is full!
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 10:39   #12
Simon Wates
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Hi Simon, I have PM'd you re: Sagres Festival...........your PM box is full!
Sorry Pam - sorted now - I have emailed you!
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 10:50   #13
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Sorry Pam - sorted now - I have emailed you!
No probs, thanks Simon!
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Old Sunday 9th September 2012, 17:40   #14
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The Lanner I found on the 5th (very unlikely to be another) was reported again 6kms away at Cabranosa on the 7th.

Hopefully it will be seen by more observers and photographed.

Although there are a couple of records awaiting acceptance, there are no ratified records of Lanner in Portugal.
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Old Monday 10th September 2012, 18:53   #15
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Stuart and Simon
Thanks for the information.
Really looking forward to Sagres and have decided to have a look around the festival and then maybe book a pelagic trip for later in the week.
Regards

Mike
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Old Monday 10th September 2012, 23:20   #16
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T and I have booked to come over again next month unfortunately missing Sagres festival yet again.
Can't believe the price of package holidays right now.
I was wondering if anyone can give me an update on the motorway toll road situation?
i.e.how does this affect hire cars, do you still have to find a post office within 48hours?
Many thanks
Mick
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Old Tuesday 11th September 2012, 01:11   #17
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Hi Mick, the motorway toll payment is a bit easier now - many hire cars have transponders and the ones that don't usually have their own no hassle system. Saying that, it still costs money - now the high season is over the free N125 is not congested and its fine especially in the west. I would recommend highly Luz Car http://www.luzcar.com/ for good deals and great service and no hidden costs.


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T and I have booked to come over again next month unfortunately missing Sagres festival yet again.
Can't believe the price of package holidays right now.
I was wondering if anyone can give me an update on the motorway toll road situation?
i.e.how does this affect hire cars, do you still have to find a post office within 48hours?
Many thanks
Mick
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Old Tuesday 11th September 2012, 01:18   #18
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Had the pleasure of bumping into an imm. Icterine Warbler on the morning of the 10th! Some friends refound it at 6pm and got good photos. If accepted it will be the 5th for Portugal I think.

The raptors have been much the same but with the first (small, single figures) Booted Eagles. A nice 3rd cal Bonelli's today too, a Goshawk, pale phase Eleanora´s Falcon and a mix of Honey Buzzards, Common Buzzards and Black Kites.

In a way the most notable today were the numbers of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers. They were literally everywhere - 100's, probably 1000's in the pine woods, in open fields on thistles and two or three at the petrol station.
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Old Friday 14th September 2012, 09:48   #19
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Yesterday, the 13th was a different day - the 2 Flycatchers were still common and present in all areas, including the scrublands but only a tiny fraction of the numbers that were present on the 10th. On the other hand, Willow Warblers were more common - a nice start to the day just after sunrise was to see more than 20 birds sunning themselves and blinking at very close range from the car window. They were all in one bush on one of the south facing headlands. There must have been well over 100 in the rest of the bushes nearby - with a few other migrants like Nightingales, Whitethroats and a very showy sunbathing Wryneck.

The 13th was a windy old day - fresh to strong northwesterly. So during the day, although we found quite a lot of nice birds, it was hard work. Little by little a nice selection of small numbers of raptors made standing in the brunt of the wind for a couple of hours more of a pleasure; An Eleanora's Falcon, a few Booted Eagles, 30 Black Kites, a Goshawk or two, Peregrines, Short-toed Eagle, a few Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harrier, 3 Egyptian Vultures plus Common Kestrel and Buzzard and 2 Black-winged Kites further inland brought us 13 raptor species for the day. Little Bustards, Spectacled Warbler, Thekla Larks, Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters, Short-toed Lark, Red-billed Chough and Ortolan Bunting added to the variety. The next days are forecast with very light and variable winds - great!

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Old Sunday 16th September 2012, 21:45   #20
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My news of Icterine Warbler from the 10th that I posted previously refers to a Melodious after all

I'll be back at Sagres on Tuesday - 100% cloud cover forecast for Monday night
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Old Monday 17th September 2012, 09:05   #21
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Sounds great, looks like we're missing the best of migration again!
Thanks
Mick
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Old Tuesday 18th September 2012, 22:09   #22
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I'll be back at Sagres on Tuesday - 100% cloud cover forecast for Monday night
Well, today the weather seemed very promising for loads of passerines - through the day it became clear that there weren't any real numbers. There must have been a mass exodus in the last couple of days!

A few 10's of the 2 Flycatchers, more Willow Warblers a few Whinchats and around 30 Northern Wheatears, a few Yellow Wagtails, 40 odd Red-rumped Swallows a couple of Woodchat Shrikes, a Common Redstart and a Whitethroat was a low showing of migrants for mid-September. A single Bee-eater over the raptor watchpoint was pretty late.

Migrant raptors were at a very low ebb too; 4-5 Egyptian Vultures, around 4-5 each of Booted and Short-toed Eagles, 5 Honey Buzzards, 2 Black Kites, 5-6 Montagu's and 2 Marsh Harriers, an Osprey, Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, and a few apparently migrating Common Kestrels.

Seabirds were a little better; those seen from land around the peninsula's waters today included 2 Manx, 2 Sooty, a few Balearic and close to 100 Cory's Shearwaters, a few Bonxies and Arctic Skuas and at least 2 Pomarines. Gannets, mainly imms were very numerous - fishing. A group of Finnish birders reported a few Wilson's and E.Storm Petrels and Great Shearwater during a short morning pelagic.

Things should get better - I hope.

Last edited by Simon Wates : Tuesday 18th September 2012 at 22:12.
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Old Friday 21st September 2012, 09:48   #23
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Yesterday, 20th Sept brought much of the same raptors as the last days - though fewer individuals - an obvious break in the migration, in fact record low numbers for date recorded. So we should really see a big change very soon.

Pied and Spotted Flycatchers present in vast numbers again around Sagres and very numerous throughout the whole Algarve.

This morning 4 Dotterel - the first of the autumn were present at the classic site - next to the eira (threshing circle) at Vale Santo, Sagres
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2012, 22:33   #24
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Since 24th Sept raptors have been more numerous with many Booted Eagles - reaching 150+ some days - plenty of Short-toed Eagles and most of the raptors mentioned on previous posts. Additions to the raptors this autumn were 1 each of juv. Spanish Imperial and Golden Eagles and....just outside the peninsula 3 imm. Ruppell's Vultures on the 30th September - see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorgesa...es_de_portugal
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2012, 19:22   #25
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Raptors at Sagres today included an early and very nice male Merlin (first of the autumn) a few Honey Buzzards, 1 Bonelli's, 40+ Booted and 10+ Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh and a Hen Harrier, Goshawk, 20+ Sparrowhawk, a few Common Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, a Griffon and a Hobby - all in a short afternoon visit. Migrant Passerines were thin on the ground today but a nice male flavissima Yellow Wagtail brought a little UK nostalgia.
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