Sunday, 25 November 2012

Autumn in the Algarve...continued.

A 'Dolphin Search' trip on a RIb boat was an experience to say the least. Naively I expected the boat to leisurely cruise out to wrong I was! Once out of the Marina the boat sped out to sea and I held on to the bar in front of me for dear life! Once over the shock I felt ok and quite enjoyed the experience. The Bottle-nosed Dolphins were a delight to see as they swam in front and under the boat. After several minutes with the Dolphins the boat took us along part of the Algarve shoreline. The cliffs were spectacular and some of the secluded beaches looked very inviting.

The Little Owl in the following image was a daily sighting as it arrived each morning and perched on the roof of a Villa that was behind our accomodation. It would perch and preen all day on the roof and leave at dusk. It was a pleasure to see it each day and to have such good views! There are a few vineyards in the area so no doubt the Little Owl did not have far to go hunting in the evenings, it's call was often heard.

Whilst out on a drive to Odelouca Valley we came across a huge flock of White Storks feeding in a field, with good numbers of White Storks flying above! Several cars also stopped to view the spectacle. As we watched the White Storks two large flocks of Cattle Egret flew into the field and joined the Storks feeding. I have seen large numbers of White Storks on the thermals in this area on previous visits but never seen so many on the deck so to speak. I was later informed that the area is a favoured wintering area for the Storks that do not migrate.

Common Waxbills are a lovely little bird to see....when they perch long enough that is! I struggled to get just one decent image of them!

Large numbers of Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Lapwings, Common Snipe and Ringed Plovers were seen at Lagoa dos Salgados during the first week of the holiday, though numbers reduced greatly as the days passed of the latter three species. A Great White Egret was a joy to see (though distant) and a good sighting for this reserve. Two Caspian Terns put in numerous appearances on several of our visits to the lagoon and I was lucky on one of the days to get a record photo of them with a Sandwich Tern, though again they were distant. A Squacco Heron was a delight to watch as it crept stealthily in the vegetation ready to pounce on it's prey!

Quinta do Lagos Estuary was the quietest I have ever seen it, just a handful of Kentish Plovers, a few Turnstone, Redshanks and Godwit (sp, a couple of Cormorants and a Whimbrel! The Lake alongside the Golf Course was a little busier with a few Purple Gallinule seen, plenty of Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a couple of Little Egrets. Whilst talking to a fellow Birder he suddenly looked skywards and said "raptor"! It was a Griffon Vulture..hooray! I had missed by one day at a Raptor Viewing Point a huge (700+) migration of Griffon Vultures so this lone Griffon Vulture was a joy to see if only for a minute as it circled the Lake and then was up and away! A record photo of the Griffon Vulture.

It was good to see a few Butterflies and Dragonflies during the holiday, though the Dragonflies hardly settled so I have numerous blurry images that tell me nothing as to an ID of them. I did manage a photo of what I believe is a Broad Scarlet Darter, so all was not!

Broad Scarlet Darter

Egyptian Grasshopper

Meditteranean Tiger Moth

Geranium Bronze Butterfly
Wall Butterfly
That's all folks. If you have reached this point in the post "Thank you" for your interest.


  1. Wow,what a great read with my morning coffee today Pam!
    Your Dolphin experience sounds amazing and well done on capturing them with such a stunning picture!
    All your pics are super,I love the Little Owl,architecturally too,a really splendid shot!
    Glad you caught up with a Griffon Vulture too,he's huge!!
    Thanks for sharing your Algarve adventures with me Pam,I rely on you and David Attenborough to keep me up to speed with all things foreign! lol

  2. What a wonderful collection of wildlife you saw Pam and you took some lovely photos too! My goodness, it looks a great place for a Nature lover to visit. I wonder how many people who go abroad never see anything but the hotel swimming pool, such a wasted opportunity!

    How lovely to see the owl regularly and get photos too. Well done with the Griffon Vulture, a magnificent sight I'm sure. The Common Waxbill does look a pretty little bird.

    You had me giggling about the Dolphin experience as I know how tightly I would have been hanging on to that bar. I don't think I would have dared let go long enough to take that lovely photo of the Dolphins :-)

  3. Thank you Ruth for your kind comments. I am pleased you enjoyed the read with your coffee break!
    I am honoured to be included in the same sentence as Sir David but fear I have a long, long way to go to be on a par with! I will do my best however.;-)

  4. Thanks Mark! I was particularly pleased with the sighting of such huge numbers of White Storks and the Dolphins!

  5. Thank you Jan for your kind comments.
    There are lots of holidaymakers who do not venture far! I try and encourage those I speak to (mainly British)who happen to walk by the Lagoon I frequent to have a look through my scope at say the Flamingoes of which most people will recognise! there reactions are usually one of delight in seeing a bird at close quarters. All we can do is!
    The Dolphin photo was taken whilst the boat was stationary...well as stationary as a boat out at sea can! It was good fun and a great experience!