Thursday, 24 May 2012

Algarve, Portugal.... 2nd-12th May 2012

The weather was cool, cloudy and showers of rain for the first 3 days of the holiday, fortunately the rain was throughout the night. From Saturday the weather was on track, dry and plenty of warm/hot sunshine, so it was birding and sunbathing for the remainder of the holiday! It was lovely to be back at Lagoa dos Salgados (known commonly by Brits as Pera Marsh) always my first port of call. Highlights on the Lagoon were huge numbers of Dunlin, Avocets and Black-winged Stilts aplenty, Greater Flamingoes in good numbers, an average of 6 Spoonbills regularly seen, Glossy Ibis x2, White Stork, Black Stork flyover, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mallards, Gadwall, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover and a single Grey Plover and Spotted Redshank both in summer plumage were seen though distant and a short visit from a Caspian Tern was pleasing to see. There were literally hundreds of Swallows and Martins over the water early morning and at dusk with a few Swifts for good measure, a wonderful sight to see. Very few Crested Larks were to be seen though with them nesting it wasn't surprising, not many Zitting Cisticolas seen or heard and what was more surprising was that not a single Wheatear, Stonechat or Bluethroat was seen here after umpteen visits during the holiday. A pair of Stonechats were seen at Alvor Estuary so there are still Stonechats in the Algarve according to that! A Boardwalk was built alongside the Lagoon and Dunes a few years ago and I am sure this has had a detrimental effect on the wildlife which have possibly found quieter areas due to the increased traffic ie: Joggers, cyclists etc along the boardwalk. I suppose with the economy how it is and has been over the last few years tourism comes first ( as in many holiday resorts) for the Algarve. However a pair of Woodchat Shrikes were a very welcome sight and also the colourful and numerous Bee-eaters! Azure-winged Magpies were plentiful, Little Owl was spotted twice and Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird were seen on almost every visit. Whimbrel and numerous Cattle Egrets fed on the scrubland daily along with Red-legged Partridge.
Further posts to follow.

  Azure-winged Magpie.
Black-winged Stilt about to land!
Cattle Egret (Courtship colour).
Cattle Egret.
A sight to see when the Cattle Egrets try and hitch a lft!
White Stork.
Zitting Cisticola.
Greater Flamingoes.


  1. So beautiful shots!

  2. Thank you very much for your kind comment Crissi!

  3. A super read Pam,what a great place to go birding in!
    All your pics are wonderful too,the blushing Cattle Egret is stunning!

  4. Thanks for your lovely comments Ruth! I have never seen a Cattle Egret in such bright breeding plumage so it was a real treat to see.

  5. What a fantastic selection of birds Pam. Great photos too! I may have to get over there myself in furture when funds permit!

    p.s.Those Azure-winged magpies are stunning looking birds!

  6. Thanks Jason!

    The Magpies certainly are stunning looking Jason! They normally stay in flocks and once one spots you it takes flight and the rest follow making it difficult to get a decent image of them! A lovely bird to view all the same!

  7. Hi Pam. We are in our third winter in the algarve in our camper van. Your pics are great and we have seen most of the birds on our walks. This year we spotted a different bird near carrapateriea on the west coast above sagres. It turned out to be a common waxbill reintroduced from Africa. There were a small flock of them on a river bank in the reeds. They looked like jack nicholsons joker in batman with their big red smile and beak. Also big flocks of griffon vultures just off to Africa for the winter. Upwards of 500 birds in a flock. Great to see your pics. Keep it up. We originate from Nottingham. All the best rob and Sarah Whiteman.

  8. Hi Rob and Sarah, thank you for your kind comments!

    If you visit Silves walk alongside the River Arade as Cetti's Warbler is often heard and occasionally seen and a good area for you to see a few more Common Waxbills.

    I posted in November of an Autumn holiday I enjoyed in early October.

    Enjoy your Winter in the Algarve!