Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tavira, Algarve , Portugal....7th-14th March 2015

A welcome sunshine break from the seemingly never ending grey days in the UK was enjoyed in Tavira in the Algarve, Portugal. Warm/hot sunshine every day and some super birds seen during the week's holiday.
Prior to the holiday I had booked a day with birding tour guides June Taylor and Peter Dedicoat: http://www.algarvebirders.com/
Once again we had a fantastic day's birding with them. Our previous day out with them had been in 2013 to Doñana in Spain, this time we  headed to the North of the Algarve to the Baixo Alentejo. http://www.algarvebirders.com/section162590_48969.html

A few pics of a wonderful day in the Alentejo!

Great Spotted Cuckoo

We saw several  G S Cuckoo's during the day!







Southern Grey Shrike
 

Corn Bunting

Red-rumped Swallows

The best views we have ever had of this species.
 
 
 Spanish Sparrows

The Spanish Sparrows very often nest in White Storks nests.


 
 
 White Storks nesting in a tree commune!
 
Great Bustards!

The absolute highlight of the whole day and holiday was seeing c130 Great and Little Bustards during the day at various locations in the Alentejo.

Whilst watching a flock of 30+ ambling about they suddenly took flight! The reason being an adult Spanish Imperial Eagle had arrived on the scene and was later joined by an immature Spanish Imperial Eagle! They were soon to be mobbed by a Common Buzzard and a Red Kite!

Sorry, no pics! What a sight to see, too good to miss by taking a photo, to be honest I was enjoying the few minutes we had them all in view too much to even think of a photo! Black-bellied Sandgrouse also took to the air whilst the Eagles were around.
 



 
 
 
To be continued:

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

'Hands of Fatima' door knockers!

On my recent holiday in Tavira (Portugal), I noticed the grand and more often than not well worn door knockers in the form of hands on several ornate, lattice work and brightly painted doors on the walk in to the town square.

The hands are the 'Hands off Fatima'. A Moorish tradition still carried on and legend has it that they are placed on the door to keep away evil spirits. Fatima Zahra was said to be the daughter of the prophet Mohammed.


I think they are like Marmite...and you either love them or hate them.

Here we go:

 












 
These are my favourite door knockers!
 
 
The hotel also had them to display room numbers.
 
 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

February updates.

Not a lot to say other than a male Blackcap and a Bullfinch pair in my garden towards the end of the month was a treat to see.


A day spent at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre on the 15th of the month was an enjoyable day though it would have been good if the sun could have shone at least once throughout the day! Highlights species in no particular order were: Reed Bunting, Nuthatch, the usual Finches and Tits, Robins aplenty, Jay, G S Woodpecker, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Lapwings aplenty (great to see), Wigeon, Shoveler, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Greylag and Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe, Shelduck, Water Rail, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan and Cetti's (heard only). As per the norm a good visit once again to a great reserve.