Laid-back Birdwatching week, a French birdwatching week
Although the arrival were on a nice sunny day, the 1st days of the trip were cloudy. This did not stop us from going to Sagres. The first bird of the day was an Osprey perched by the road before we reached Sagres. At Ponta da Atalaia, we had our first surprise of the day with a Cuckoo. Later, we went to Cape St Vincent where many Sandwich Terns and Gannets were seen. We spent a part of the afternoon at Cabranosa and saw Marsh and Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kites, Honey Buzzards and Kestrels. The second suprise of tha day was a pair of Red Crossbills showing very well.
Plans changed a bit for the next day as the weather was still unstable. We went to Abicada on Tuesday afternoon. There, we saw many Flamingos and had great views of an Osprey, a bird ringed in Germany.
On Wednesday, we went to Monchique, starting the day at Foia, the highest point. The view on the coast was great as the weather was clear. We had the chance of seeing 4 Kestrels mobbing a Hen Harrier. We also had good views of Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Bunting. We had lunch at Caldas de Monchique and explored the village before coming back to Cruzinha.
On Thursday morning, we could enjoy the activities at Cruzinha for the open day and we were lucky to see a Red-necked Nightjar and a Kingfisher ringed among other birds. We spent the afternoon at Lagoa dos Salgados. As the water level was low, we had great views of Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, White Storks and Little Grebes by the hide. Many waders were present: Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone and Redshank, we even, saw several Purple Swamphen.
On Friday, we spent the morning at Alvor dunes. It was a bit quiet for birds but still saw 2 Black Storks in the distance and enjoyed watching an Osprey trying to catch a fish at the estuary. In the afternoon, we went to Alcalar and learned about this prehistoric necropole.
We started Saturday by a visit to ricefields in Estombar and saw the 4th Osprey of the week. Many Glossy Ibis and Storks were found there. Then, we went to Silves to visit the archeological museum and finished the day by the Iberian Lynx Reproduction Center but did not manage to see any.
On the last day, we explored the wetlands behind Faro airport. The first lagoons had a lot of Flamingos with Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Ruffs. We walked through the saltpans and saw more Flamingos, Shovelers, another Osprey and Glossy Ibis. We found a big group of Spoonbills, 2 birds were ringed, a French one and a Portuguese one. At the hide, we saw a few ducks and a Little Tern fishing. Several Cattle Egrets were perched on a dead pine tree. We came back along the mudflats and saw more waders : Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits and Turnstones.
The week finished after lunch and with a total of 115 species seen on this laid-back week.