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Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 23:40   #1
Mark D
BOG member

Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Bradford, UK
Posts: 116
Cool Algarve, Portugal 98

PORTUGAL October19-25 1998
This report covers a weeks 'birding' in the Algarve and adjacent districts. In this week we covered most of the Rio Formosa salt marshes, the area from Cape St. Vincent to the Alvor estuary, and the Castro Verde plains. Even in late October there are some common migrants still hanging on, such as Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler and Sand Martins. Other migrants I expected to see more of, but didn't, were Common Redstart & especially Barn Swallows. Some surprises were in store as Portugal has a healthy raptor migration & a good bit of sea watching.
I went to Portugal with the hope of seeing over a 'ton' which we did quite easily by finding 140 birds. Another hope was to see the two Bustards, gallinules, & the Azure-winged Magpie, all of which were found in the first two days. However the Little Bustards were unfortunately distant. Everywhere we went we came across some decent birds, such examples were Cory's Shearwater, Great White Egret, Black-shouldered Kite, & Marsh Sandpiper. Overall there were good numbers of waders & passerines to be had. One bird I wanted to locate but disappointingly couldn’t was the Iberian Chiffchaff (if it exists). Having been recently split from 'Common', Iberian are only identifiable by call & song. This proved to be most annoying as most 'chiffs' kept silent except for about three who were all 'common'. One consolation in grilling so many Chiffchaff's was finding recognisable races other than the nominate 'colybita'.
Generally a good trip with more birds & more 'lifers' than expected.
The areas visited were as follows;
19th - Quinta do Lago \ Ludo farm
20th - Castro Verde plains
21st - Quinta de Marim
22nd - Quinta da Rocha \ Sagres \ Cape St.Vincent
23rd - Castro Marim
24th - Quinta do Lago & golf course
25th - Falesia woods \ Airport waterworks

Great-crested Grebe ( podiceps cristatus )
Six seen on one salt pan at Ludo farm on the 19th. Not seen again until our 2nd visit to Quinta do Lago, when only one was found.

Little Grebe (tachybaptus ruficollis)
Very common on most lakes & salt pans, occasionally in good numbers.

Black-necked Grebe (podiceps nigricollis)
Observed only on our last day at the Airport waterworks a couple of hours before my departure. 4 birds all in adult winter plumage.

Cory's Shearwater (calonectris diomeda)
Hundreds seen on the sea from the cliff tops at Cape St.Vincent on the 22nd.

Little Shearwater (Puffinus assimilis)
Four seen flying past Cape St.Vincent on 22nd. 'I.D.' made from seeing circular whitish face patch & pale-ish bar on the secondaries. This species was a major surprise, as I didn't expect to do any sea watching.

Gannet (Sula bassana)
Any prolonged view of a southwest coastal site would produce some Gannets. First seen from the beach lagoons at Quinta do Lago (19th).

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis)
Common at all salt pans & marshes.

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
A single bird seen shortly before my departure at the Airport waterworks (25th), though this species was probably overlooked.

Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
An adult male seen from the hide at Quinta de Marim farm overlooking a small fresh water pool, which has an equally small reedbed. Gorgeous!

Cattle Egret (bulucis ibis)
Common among fields, groves, & surprisingly cattle. One of the most impressive sights of the trip was the Egret roost at Quinta do Lago Lake where hundreds kept on arriving.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Common at any watery location.

Great White Egret (Egretta Alba)
A very surprising find on our way to Quinta da Rocha, one seen standing next to a Grey Heron which helped with size comparison.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Common at all water areas.

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Common at all saltwater sites & occasionally in roadside fields. Some large flocks were recorded, notably 60+ viewed from the Airport waterworks.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
One seen only at Quinta do Lago lake on 19th & 24th.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Quite common at all salt marshes, though more so nearer to Spain

Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Small numbers were recorded at Ludo farm marshes (19th), Quinta de Marim (21st) & a male & female at the Airport waterworks (25th).

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
The largest numbers at Quinta do Lago Lake on both visits, but also seen at Quinta de Marim & the Airport waterworks.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Common at all freshwater sites, especially at Quinta do Lago.

Pintail (Anas acuta)
A lone male at the Airport waterworks (25th) was our only sighting.

Shovelor (Anas clypeata)
Common at any sizeable body of water.

Teal (Anas crecca)
Surprisingly not that common & only seen at Quinta do Lago (19th & 24th) and at the Airport waterworks (25th).

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
A single male seen briefly at Ludo farm marshes (19th). Several were seen at Quinta do Lago lake at the far end from the hide.

Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Quite common at fresh water sites.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Seen only at Quinta do Lago and only in small numbers.

Black-shouldered Kite (elanus caeruleus)
One seen from a road bridge east of Castro Verde. It flew over the road and followed the course of the river

Black Kite (milvus migrans)
Only one seen with seven Red Kites (22nd) en route to Sagres and Cape St.Vincent.

Red Kite (milvus milvus)
First seen while we were travelling to Castro Verde (20th), a single was viewed from the roadside. But more spectacular were the seven soaring near Sagres (22nd).

Montagu’s Harrier (circus pygargus)
One only at Ludo farm marshes (19th) interacting with a “ringtail” Hen Harrier.

Hen Harrier (circus cyaneus)
See above species.

Common Buzzard (buteo buteo)
Singles at two sites near Castro Verde (20th) were our first, and then later the same day we had another two near Guerreiro. Singles near Castro Marim (23rd) and over Falesia woods (25th).

Honey Buzzard (pernis apivorus)
During one of Peter’s detours near Castro Verde (20th) we were rewarded with a lone “HB” taking off from a field. Our second was near Sagres (22nd) migrating with a couple of Booted Eagles.

Booted Eagle (hieraaetus pennatus)
Migrating birds were seen from the roadside between Sagres and Cape St.Vincent (22nd) and never singularily.

Short-toed Eagle (circaetus gallicus)
As with most of our raptor sightings these were seen on the 22nd, near Cape St.Vincent.

Osprey (pandion haliaetus)
One was at Ludo farm marshes (19th) and possibly the same bird at Quinta do Lago (24th). Another was at Quinta da Rocha reserve salt pans (22nd)

Kestrel (falco tinnunculus)
Common around Castro Verde (20th). Singles near Sagres (22nd) and at Castro Marim (23rd).

Red-legged Partridge (alectoris rufa)
A family of about twelve were seen at the Great Bustard site near Guerreiro (20th).

Water Rail (rallus aquaticus)
Seen only at Quinta de Marim where two came out of the reeds and often called to each other (21st).

Moorhen (gallinula chloropus)
Common at any fresh-water area throughout.

Coot (fulica atra)
Very common on fresh water.

Purple Gallinule (porphyrio porphyrio)
A maximum of six at one time was seen at Quinta do Lago (19th & 24th), others were seen at Quinta de Marim (21st).

Great Bustard (otis tarda)
After failing at one recommended site we managed to latch onto a group of birders who unknowingly led us to an observation point where we all saw ten very distant birds in flight. We then left the group and headed for another area near Guerreiro and promptly found the ten Bustards giving superb views (20th).

Little Bustard (tetrax tetrax)
Disappointingly only three were found, seen from the roadside south of Castro Verde. They were in a field along side cattle though a little distant (20th).

Oystercatcher (haematopus ostralegus)
Our one and only sighting was on the beach lagoon at Quinta de Marim (21st).

Black-winged Stilt (himantopus himantopus)
Very common at any salt-water marsh.

Avocet (recurvirosta avosetta)
Seen on salt pans at Ludo farm (19th),Quinta de Marim (21st) and ten were at Castro Marim (23rd).

Ringed Plover (chardruis hiaticula)
Quite common at coastal sites throughout.

Kentish Plover (charadruis alexandrinus)
More numerous than Ringed with good amounts on the salt pans.

Golden Plover (pluvialis apricaria)
One was with a Lapwing flock at Castro Marim (23rd).

Grey Plover (pluvialis squatorola)
Common at coastal locations.

Lapwing (vanellus vanellus)
The first was at Ludo farm marsh (19th), with 100 the next day north of Castro Verde and ten were at Castro Marim salt pans (23rd).

Turnstone (arenaria interpres)
At coastal lagoons Turnstone are quite common.

Sanderling (calidris alba)
Common at coastal lagoons.

Knot (calidris canutus)
Only two were found at Quinta de Marim on the salt marshes.

Curlew Sandpiper (calidris ferruginea)
Singles were seen on two dates. The first at Quinta do Rocha marsh with several Dunlins (22nd) and the second was at Castro Marim (23rd).

Dunlin (calidris alpina)
Common at all salt water areas.

Little Stint (calidris minuta)
Very common at salt-water areas.

Ruff (philomachus pugnax)
Some were seen at Castro Marim (23rd) and then a small group were found on the shore of the Golf Course Lake at Quinta do Lago (24th).

Curlew (numenius arquata)
Common at the coast.

Whimbrel (numenius phaeopus)
Only spotted on two days, at Quinta do Lago (19th) and at Quinta de Marim, though more could have been easily overlooked.

Black-tailed Godwit (limosa limos)
Seen at all coastal water areas.

Redshank (tringa totanus)
Common at all water areas.

Greenshank (tringa nebularia)
Found at most salt pans with the largest numbers at Quinta de Marim (21st).

Wood Sandpiper (tringa glareola)
Only seen at Castro Marim (23rd) where two were found on roadside pools.

Common Sandpiper (actitis hypoleucos)

Green Sandpiper (tringa ochropus)
One only was at a reservoir north of Castro Verde (20th).

Marsh Sandpiper (tringa stagnatilis)
A flighty bird seen at Ludo farm marshes (19th) was our first with a possible second at Castro Marim (23rd).

Common Snipe (gallinago gallinago)
Recorded at all salt marshes and at the airport water-works.

Mediterranean Gull (larus melanocephalus)
Upto ten were seen washing in the fresh water pool at Quinta de Marim (21st).

Little Gull (larus minutus)
A 1st winter was seen briefly at Quinta do Lago Lake (24th).

Black-headed Gull (larus ridibundis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (larus fuscus)
Most numerous Gull in the Algarve.
Yellow-legged Gull (larus cachinnans michahellis)
Quite common

Sandwich Tern (sterna sandvicensis)
Ones and twos at any coastal site

Caspian Tern (sterna caspia)
An Osprey (19th) scared up two with Gulls at Ludo farm. Another seen at a salt pan roost at Quinta de Marim (21st). A maximum of four at Castro Marim (23rd) with another single in the Quinta do Lago area (24th).

Wood Pigeon (columba palumbus)
Our only sighting was a flock of eight over the Quinta da Rocha reserve (22nd)

Rock Dove (columba livia)
Feral birds were seen at many locations. “Non diluted” birds were seen while travelling through the mountains (20th), and on the cliff face at Cape St.Vincent (22nd).

Collared Dove (streptopelia decaocto)
Only seen on two dates the first being the 21st at Quinta de Marim and the next the 24th at Quinta do Lago.

Little Owl (athene noctua)
Single birds were at several sites. One individual had a blackened eye at Quinta de Marim (21st). Two were heard calling from the apartment roofs on the morning of the 24th.

Kingfisher (alcedo atthis)
Common at all water areas

Hoopoe (epops epops)
Pleasingly common around well treed areas especially near gardens.

Skylark (alauda arvensis)
Very common near Castro Verde and Castro Marim

Crested Lark (galerida cristata)

Calandra Lark (melanocorypha calandra)
Hundreds seen in flocks around the Guerreiro area (20th)

Crag Martin (ptyonoprogne rupestris)
Only found at Cape St.Vincent (22nd) where they were common

Sand Martin (riparia riparia)
Recorded on the 19th only at Quinta do Lago when four were with Swallows

Swallow (hirundo rusticola)
Eight were seen on the 19th with two at Ludo farm and six at Quinta do Lago. Others noted were four at Quinta de Marim (21st), two at Cape St.Vincent (22nd), and our last two were on our way back from Castro Marim (23rd)

Water Pipit (anthus spinoletta)
Belatedly seen near Castro Marim (23rd) on the approach to the bird observatory. Three more were at a cattle farm near the western end of the salt pans

Meadow Pipit (anthus pratensis)
Common at all salt pans

Tawny Pipit (anthus campestris)
Just one recorded near Guerreiro (20th)

White Wagtail (motacilla alba alba)
Seen with Water Pipits near Castro Marim (23rd) where there were upto eight at one time. Others were at Quinta do Lago (24th) and at the airport water-works (25th).

Grey Wagtail (motacilla cinerea)
Daily views from the apartment balcony where upto two were present most days. Also singular birds at Quinta de Marim (21st) and the airport water-works.

Yellow Wagtails (motacilla flava \ flavissima)
Our first flew over us at Quinta da Rocha (22nd) though its variety was unknown. At the cattle farm near Castro Marim (23rd) there were two male Blue-headed and a female

Robin (erithacus rubecula)
Heard and seen daily from the apartment, also at Quinta do Lago, Quinta de Marim, Falesia woods and the Albufeira sewage works.

Bluethroat (luscinia svecica)
When spotted only seen briefly and in singles. Ludo marshes had a male (19th), females were at Quinta da Rocha (22nd) and Castro Marim, and finally a male at Quinta do Lago (24th)

Redstart (phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Surprisingly only one, a female, with Black Redstarts on the golf course at Quinta do Lago (24th)

Black Redstart (phoenicurus ochruros)
A cracking male from the apartment (20th) was the first. Two females were at Cape St.Vincent (22nd), with another Two at Quinta do Lago golf course (24th)

Stonechat (saxicola torquata)
Extremely common

Whinchat (saxicloa rubetra)
Our only sighting was a male in the Entradas area near Castro Verde (20th)

Northern Wheatear (oenanthe oenanthe)
Several were seen around Castro Marim (23rd) with singles at Ludo farm (19th) and Falesia woods (24th)

Black-eared Wheatear (oenanthe deserti)
After patiently checking all Wheatears found near Castro Marim we eventually I.Ded a female (23rd)

Blue Rock Thrush (monticola solitarius)
A male seen on a restraunt roof top near Cape St.Vincent (22nd)

Ring Ouzel (turdus torquatus)
On the approach road to Quinta do Lago a male was spotted on a golf course fairway (19th). A first winter female was seen from the apartment (24th) in “the” bush.

Blackbird (turdus merula)
Common amongst suitable habitat

Song Thrush (turdus philomelos)
One from the balcony (19th) and one at Quinta de Marim (21st) were our only sightings.

Mistle Thrush (turdus viscivorus)
A small number were feeding on a golf course fairway outside Quinta do Lago (19th). A larger flock was in the same area on the 24th. A single was found at Falesia woods (25th).

Zitting Cisticola (cisticola juncidis)
Common among low vegetation.

Cetti’s Warbler (cettia cetti)
Heard and seen at Quinta do Lago Lake (19th & 24th), also at Quinta de Marim (21st) and near the sewage-works (24th-25th).

Reed Warbler (acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Single birds at Quinta do Lago (19th), from the apartment (20th), and near the sewage-works (24th).

Dartford Warbler (sylvia undata)
Disappointingly only seen on two days, the first was a 1st winter male at Quinta de Marim (21st). The next day we had better views at Cape St.Vincent and Quinta da Rocha.

Spectacled Warbler (sylvia conspicillata)
A male was seen briefly at Castro Marim (NE) on a trackside bush (23rd)

Garden Warbler (sylvia borin)
Observed just once at Albufeira sewage-works

Lesser Whitethroat (sylvia curraca)
Singular birds seen at Quinta de Marim (21st), from the apartment (23rd), and near the sewage-works (24th)

Whitethroat (sylvia communis)
A female seen twice from the apartment (20th & 25th)

Blackcap (sylvia atricapilla)
Common from the balcony where numbers grew during my stay.

Sardinian Warbler (sylvia melanocephala)

Chiffchaff (phylloscopus colybita/abietus/tristris)
Three races were identified during my weeklong stay, though unfortunately not the recently split Iberian Chiffchaff. In the field Iberian can only be ID-ed via its calls and song. The only Chiff’s we heard were common “colybita”. Several “abietus” were seen and on two occasions birds with “tristris” characteristics were noted.

Pied Flycatcher (ficedula hypoleuca)
A first winter male was at Quinta do Lago on my first day (19th).

Spotted Flycatcher (muscicapa striata)
Seen only at Quinta da Rocha near the observatory (22nd).

Great Tit (parus major)
Periodically seen from the apartment on most mornings.

Blue Tit (parus caeruleus)
One was seen briefly on the 19th from the balcony.

Short-toed Treecreeper (certhia brachydactyla)
After struggling to find this species we finally located one at Quinta do Lago golf course (24th) and then typically went on to see or hear several in Falesia woods the next day.

Southern “Great” Grey Shrike (lanius meridionalis meridionalis)
Observed almost daily in any open country with a substantial bush present.

Spotless Starling (sturnus unicolor)
Spectacular numbers were seen coming into roost at Quinta do Lago (19th), others were seen throughout the week though they’re not as common as Starlings in Britain.

Jay (garrulus glandarius)
Several were seen on the journey through the mountains south of Castro Verde.

Azure-winged Magpie (cyanopica cuana)
When one was found another nine or so joined it, notably at Falesia woods (25th) where at least 26 moved past us. Also seen at Quinta do Lago, Quinta de Marim, Quinta da Rocha and on our way home from Castro Marim.

Jackdaw (corvus monedula).
Good numbers were seen at Cape St.Vincent (22nd) which were our only sightings.

Carrion Crow (corvus corone corone)
Four were seen while travelling to Castro Verde (20th).

Raven (corvus corax)
Two were seen south of Castro Verde with one or two the same day (20th) in that area.

Tree Sparrow (passer montanus)
On my last day in Portugal two were seen in a flock of House Sparrows at a playing field near Falesia woods.

House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Common around houses!

Spanish Sparrow (passer hispaniolensis)
Our first was a male sitting at the base of a Storks nest south of Castro Verde (20th). The next sighting was at Quinta da Rocha (22nd) on the perimeter fence of the private salt pans. Several were at the cattle farm near Castro Marim (23rd). Finally a single male near the sewage-works (24th).

Common Waxbill (estrilda astrild)
Seen every day from the apartment and in small numbers at all the “Quinta’s”.

Chaffinch (fringilla coelebs)
Only two were seen all week, one at Quinta do Lago (24th) and the other at Falesia woods (25th).

Serin (serinus serinus)
Small numbers were seen at Quinta de Marim (21st) and two were at Castro Marim (23rd). Flocks were at Quinta do Lago (24th) and Falesia woods (25th).

Siskin (carduelis spinus)
Three were in the woods at Quinta do Lago golf course (24th).

Greenfinch (carduelis chloris)
Seen every day from the apartment.

Goldfinch (carduelis carduelis)
Linnet (carduelis cannabina)
Our only sighting was of three overhead at Castro Marim (23rd).

Corn Bunting (miliaria calandra)
Unfortunately our only Bunting, though it was nice to see this bird in large numbers near Castro Verde (20th). Common in many areas.


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