Sunday, July 5, 2009

Golden Eagle and starting wader-passage

when doing my field-work around the wind-farm in the Caldeirao-mountains last week, about three quarters of an hour north of Faro, I had a first for the area: An immature Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos (3rd calender year male) - fantastic bird ! The eagle flew along a slope, very low above the ground, perhaps intending to flush a Hare, a Rabbit or a Red-legged Partridge with this technique and finaly perched in an Cork-Oak Tree. Later it just lifted wings again and then crossed the valley high, then gliding and finaly diving down to disappear somewhere near the Odelouca-River. An immature Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus perched on a telegraph-post next to the road has been another nice observation during these samples. The bird was probably just crossing through the Serra - on the way from the breeding grounds in the Alentejo-plaines to wintering areas near some Algarve wetlands or pasture areas.
In the saltmarshes and saltflats of the Algarve-coast the first Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa arrived, all adults and still in breeding plumage. Another wader indicating "autumn migration" is already on the way, is Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus - wich I saw on a reservoir in the Castro verde plaines as well as in Castro Marim Reserve during last week. In Castro Marim, where I was accompanied by a small group of people, we observed also 3 to 4 juvenile Great-spotted Cuckoo's Clamator glandarius, one apparently still being fed by their favourite host-species, an European Magpie. A family of Lesser Short-toed Larks Calandrella rufescens and a couple - still in full breeding plumage - of Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis has been remarkable, too. For the Grebe its quite an early date.
On the beach, besides the local Little Terns there, also the first Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus show up now. An adult breeding Mediteranean Gull in soar, with the sunlight shining through the feathers and nothing but sea and sand behind it, is one of the most beautiful sightings I can imagine, I just found out.

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