Monday, January 26, 2015

What's been around recently

Penduline Tits (Remiz pendulinus) can be found  in small numbers in reed beds in all Algarve during winter, but are not known to breed in the region. 23 Jan 2015, near Quarteira, Foto: GS.

The rarities reported in my previous blog-posts here, are still around - the Red-brested Flycatcher, the Red-knobbed Coot and also the North American Wigeon.

During a half-day tour around Faro last Thursday morning, the species-list included Ferrugineous Duck, Greater Flamingo, Little Bittern, Black-winged Kite, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Purple Swamphen, Little Stint, Pied Avocet, Red-brested Flycatcher, Red-rumped Swallow, King Fisher, Hoppoe, Azur-winged Magpie, Common Waxbill and Black-headed Weaver, among others.

Last Saturday, January 24th, a nationwide count of Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) took place, on initiative and coordinated by Gonçalo Elias. In total, 72 - 81 Ind. were counted in all Portugal that day (link to table of results here) I participated together with two friends and we covered the areas of the Ria Formosa Natural Park west of Olhão, all the way to Quinta do Lago, where we got at least 6 Ind., possibly 8 different Ind. (its hard to exclude double counts entirely, hence the unsharpness) Still we probably might have overlooked a few birds, since we could not cover all of these areas. Impressive! Ringed birds photographed during the census came from Germany and Latvia. These are wintering birds. During peak migration, in March and September/October, numbers might be significantly higher in these areas. Other the the lagoon system of Ria Formosa, Ospreys can be seen with a little luck at all coastal lagoons, estuarys, the bigger rivers, inland dams. An reintroduction program for the species at the Alqueva reservoir in the Alentejo region, close to Spain, aims to build up a breeding population again. The last breeding pairs were found at the west coast of the Algarve (Aljezur-area) nesting on sea-cliffs, but dissapeared during the 1990s. Since then the species was extinct in Portugal. A report of the reintroduction program at the Alqueva dam (2013) is here:

First winter Osprey (Pandeon haliaetus) at Ria Formosa Natural Park, between Faro and Olhão, showing moult in inner primaries, 21 Jan2015. Foto: GS.

The following close up photos of Passerines are all made (on a rather dull day) near a small coastal lagoon east of Quarteira at the end of last week.

Male Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melnocephala) showing the red eye ring. Surely the widestspread and most common Sylvian Warbler in the Algarve. Found in almost all habitats all year around.

Crested Tit (Parus cristatus) is not uncommon in Pine forests along the coast, but can also found in mixed Corkoak forests of the hinterland - such as in Serra do Caldeirão or Monchique mountains, where it is as abundant as Great- or Bluetit.

 Hoopoes (Upupa epops) are surely emblematic birds of the Algarve, still and always a "looker"...

Red-crested Pochards (Netta rufina) and Common Coots (Fulica atra) feasting on Algae at a coastal lagoon, west of Faro.
Besides the same two species in the photo above - can you spot the Red-crested Coot (Fulica cristata) ?
One last observation of interest: Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) - at least 17 Ind. about 1km off Vilamoura-beach on January, 23rd and 11 Ind. off Quarteira before sunset today.


  1. Hi Georg ,

    Myself and Stanley Chritsophers spent a productive week birding along the Algarve and nearby Spain last week . We saw 143 species and came across some interesting sightings . Would you be interested in seeing our report ? You would be more than welcome .


    Bob Bosisto

  2. Hi Bob, thanks for your comment. Sounds like you had a good week. Around 150 species is what you can expect in a week here. I think 168 species was my "best" result, regarding diversity, when guiding a group here, but this includes local knowlegdge built up in over 10 years... would be interested to see your report. If you go to my website you'll get my e-mail contact. People visiting here often make remarkable discoveries, possibly because they look into places we ignore ;) Cheers, Georg Schreier

  3. I so enjoyed looking at your photos. Thank you!