Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pootling in Portugal

 I have been in Portugal during the last week, enjoying good food and wine, warm sunny weather, wonderful landscapes and of course wildlife - especially birds. I love going to the Mediterranean at this time of year because the flowers are spectacular, butterflies are on the wing and many birds are in the middle of migration meaning that all sorts of species can be seen.

The birds are also in full breeding plumage, making them very smart indeed. Many of the waders are busy feeding, washing and tending to feathers and resting, before the big fly north - many going right up into the Arctic circle.

Some of the more exciting bird species seen included: Short-toed Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Black Kite, Montague Harrier, Calandra Lark, Great & Little Bustard, Great Grey Shrike, Purple Gallinule, Short-toed Tree-creeper, Stone Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Little Tern, Little Stint, Whimbrel, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Ortolan Bunting, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Azure-winged Magpie, Hoopoe, Crested Tit, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove, Quail (not seen - but frequently heard!), Nightingale, Common Waxbill, Crag Martin, Woodlark, Rock Bunting and Spanish Sparrow.

Here are one or two photographs to give you the flavour of the week!        

My favourite place was the central plains - not a place that many people venture to!

Still in the plains - this was Great and Little Bustard country along with many, many other species.

Many of the waders such as this Dunlin were frantically feeding up before the long haul north 

Plenty of washing and preening was going on to get feathers in good order. Here a group made up of Dunlin, Kentish Plover and Little Ringed Plover

Waders resting up. Here, Knot in spectacular summer breeding plumage join Dunlin and Little ringed plover.

Turnstone look so handsome at this time of year. These were taking a siesta between feeds!

Some species had not yet got into summer breeding plumage - just to keep you on your toes! Here a Curlew Sandpiper is starting to change from winter to summer 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful photos and explanation of birds at this time of year. We have just returned from Portugal too where we saw plenty of birds and wished we could recognise more of them - and that we had a better camera!