Friday, July 31, 2009

White-headed Duck and Red-knobbed Coot

On Tuesday I met up with a couple of friends visiting the Algarve. It has been Magnus Robb ("The sound approach to birding" ), Pim Wolf (former member of the Dutch rarities committee) and Joao Tiago Tavares (a Portuguese ornithologist working on Bonelli's Eagles over the past years) - so, a nice bunch of birders, actually....
After a Coffee, we went to Ludo, were we saw a Red-crested Coot (Fulica cristata) and to Quinta do Lago, where five or more Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus-juveniles mainly) were observed and heard near the hide. Purple Gallinule with chicks, an 2nd Summer Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) and several Mediterranean Gulls were present. Little Terns (Sterna albifrons) and Kingfishers (Alcedo attis) were fishing right in front of the hide. The Little Grebes (Tachybabtus ruficollis) were still on the nest or had small chicks and several Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) were mixed under all the Gadwall and Mallard on the lake. Black-headed Weaver (Ploceus melanocephalus) were present at both sites. And many Iberian Magpies gave good views, a lot of them juveniles. A Hoppoe and a Black Kite, Greater Flamingos, Avocets and Curlew Sandpipers were seen, as well.
Our next target was Lagoa dos Salgados, west of Albufeira. Arriving there, after a bit more then half an hour driving, a flock of about 300 Greater Flamingos in the lagoon could be seen from a distance already. Hundreds (probably thousands) of House Martins, Common- and Pallid Swifts were feeding above the lagoon. We spotted a few Alpine Swifts (Apus melba) among them.
Next to were we stood, a female White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) was swimming. Two females have been present here during the past weeks and an adult male had been observed for at least two weeks in spring 2008, until the lagoon had been drained once more, to avoid it flooding the nearby Golf course... This place definitely has potential for a breeding site for this highly endangered species - if only there would be a management of this wetland and an approved conservation plan...
In the evening, around sunset, a flock of about 180 Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) arrived and landed on the opposite side of the wetland to roost here for the night, gathering with the 30+ birds which were present already. An adult Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) was one of the last birds for the day. When leaving the site, Stone Curlew (Burrinhus oedicnemus) called loudly and near the access to the motorway, a Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) perched on a telegraph wire near a pine forest - quite an unusual sighting. All in all a successful and not at all boring birding-trip.
Even more so, if one knows, that the others had seen birds like Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, European Roller and White-rumped Swift during the morning in the Alentejo already...

No comments:

Post a Comment