I have been guiding a Tour in the eastern Algarve yesterday - Castro Marim and then up the Guadiana-River. The countryside is marvellous and it seems, nature is almost exploding now. Unfortunately I could not take any pictures, because after getting a new camera-battery, my charger refuses to work ...
Anyway, the trip produced a bunch of "new" birds for this year - among them, Collared Pratincoles (expected), Nightingale, Iberian Chiffchaff, Common Quail (many), a male Garganey and a Great-spotted Cuckoo (2nd Cy, a rather late date). We saw all 5 European Swallow/Martin-species during the trip, had excellent views of male and female Montagu's Harriers, saw and heard Lesser short-toed Lark displaying, had great views of Stone-Curlews (they were also very vocal), saw big flocks of Bee-eaters (50+) and Swifts, flocks of male Yellow-Wagtails (mainly flava, few iberiae) and a lot of Woodchat-Shrikes and some Southern Grey Shrikes. 10+ Caspian Terns, some Audouins Gulls, Greater Flamingos, a flock of 50+ Shelduck, Purple Gallinule, Water Rail, Spoonbills and many waders, including some Curlew Sandpipers (first ones now moulting into breeding plumage) and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers at their presumed nest site, which were nice to see, too. I have been fascinated by a group of Willow Warblers (5 to 10 birds) in an wild Olive-tree, constantly calling and moving around inside the tree - there was a Little Owl roosting in that tree and they had find it. We observed the scene at close ranges in the telescope - the owl looking on us and the Willow's jumping around it...
Here are the additional arrival dates:
Garganey (Anas querquedula) -24-03-2010- Castro Marim - 1 male.
Common Quail (Cot. coturnix) -24-03-2010- C. M.(council)- several.
Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) -24-03-2010- C. M. - 5 Ind.
Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) -20-03-2010- Faro (Gambelas)- 1 Ind. (grey morph) displaying. 23-03-2010 - Olhão - 1 Ind. 24-03-2010 - Castro M. (council) - 1 Ind.
Nightingale (Lus. megarhynchos) -24-03-2010- C. M.(council) - 1 Ind.
Subalpine Warbler (S. cantillans)-24-03-2010- C. M.(council)- 2 Ind.
Willow Warbler (Phy. trochilus) -24-03-2010- C. M.(council) - 5+ Ind.
Iberian Chiffchaff (P. ibericus) -24-03-2010- C. M.(council) - 2 Ind.
On Monday morning (22-03) I went into Ludo, near Faro for a bit more then half an hour in the morning. First Pallid Swifts, an Osprey, 2 Booted Eagles (both, dark and pale morph) and a couple of Marsh Harrier's at their previous years nest-site in a reed-bed were well worth the visit. Confusingly both of the apparently nesting Marsh Harriers do have female plumage,... a lesbian couple ? Possibly, since there are confirmed "gay" penguins existing in a German zoo...)