|European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster). Algarve, April 2017. Photo: GS.|
European Bee-eater is definitely one of the most emblematic bird species for spring in south Portugal. The first birds of this trans-Sahara migrant arrive during the second half of March at the Algarve coast, with most nest sites being occupied during April. Their wonderful flight calls are often the first sign of their arrival (usually a flock).
The Black-eared Wheatear inhabits hot and arid areas with sparse vegetation and some rocks or barren ground, mainly found in the the higher altitudes of Serra do Caldeirão and along the Guadiana valley as well as further inland, in the open plains of the Baixo Alentejo. During spring migration however, in April or early May, they can show up everywhere along the Algarve coast, even in the dunes or on a golf course, if wind conditions are favourable.
|Another male Western Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica). This species occurs in two different color morphs - a pale throated one (this photo) and one with a dark throat (the photo above). Algarve, April 2017. Photo: GS.|
|Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans). This male was found next to the sea and most probably flew in directly from north Africa during the previous night. Algarve, March 2017. Photo: GS.|
|Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans). Same Ind. as above. Algarve, March 2017. Photo: GS.|
|The Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) is an early messenger of spring and during February the first ones arrive (occasionally even in January). Baixo Alentejo-region, 14-April-2016. Photo: GS.|
|Also back quite early: The Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator). In the first half of March the first ones arrive usually here.|
|The Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) inhabits open, arid landscapes with short and sparse vegetation.|
|Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) the same Ind. as above. Sagres-area, 22-April-2017.|
|A male Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) seeking shelter on top of the sea cliffs of the west Algarve after a long flight over the sea in late March 2017.|