Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Birding around Faro

Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild - an introduced species that has successfully conquered the Portuguese wetlands. I heard it been called "Tamagochi" by some local birders...

The second common exotic species here is the Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus - here a female. The males are bright yellow with a brown hood. These birds also prefer wetlands with reeds, where they nest in autumn.

Audouin's Gulls Larus audouinii in Tavira

The Booted Eagle Aquila pennata - photos showing the dark and the pale morph - winters in the Algarve, particularily around Faro. These birds are surprisingly vocal.

First Caspian Terns Sterna caspia arrive on the Algarvian coastline in the last days of August or early September already and some Individuals are staying here until late April...

The Ferrugineous Duck Aythya nyroca - here two males - is a rather rare and vulnerable Duck-species in Europe and can be found wintering near Vilamoura with some regularity.

Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica are mainly seen in the channels of the Ria Formosa. This Ind. has been photographed near Tavira.

Faro-area is also the centre of the winter-distribution for Hoppoes Upupa epops in Portugal. They often feed on Golf courses. This one does so, accompanied by a Meadow Pipit.

Unbeatable colours - the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio.

The Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus is a regulary guest - when will the species start nesting in the Algarve ?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ring-billed Gull in Castro Marim

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis (1st Winter) Cerro de Bufo (North-Western part), Castro Marim Reserve, 12th of December 2009.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Penguins in Ria Formosa ?

Today: Juvenile Razorbill Alca torda at the harbour of Ilha da Culatra, Ria Formosa.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Surf Scoter in the Central Algarve !

Today I received a phone call from a friend and experienced Birder and Ringer here in the Algarve, saying that he found a Velvet Scoter on the sea just out a small lagoon between Quinta do Lago and Quarteira (Praia das Dunas Douradas). I was quite busy with other stuff at the moment and actually decided I would not go, though I had never seen this species in Portugal, but knew it well from Germany. Few minutes later the phone ringed again:"Its a Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata !" Now that was more convincing and 5 Min later I was in the car. Just before arriving I received the message that the birds (the bird was found in a group of 14 juvenile Common Scoters Melanitta nigra) had just left. We met at a nearby beach few km's east an could relocate the flock - but before we could aproach it, the birds flew again and moved back to the first place ! There, we finaly came close enough to see them well (its a juvenile) and make some record digiscoping-shots of the bird, before they moved on again.... A super-rarity in Portugal, most European records are made in Ireland. (Observers: João Ministro, Miguel Mendes, Georg Schreier)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

(Un-) Common Gulls in the Algarve

Common Gull (Larus canus)- here an adult bird in winter plumage, Ilha de Faro, 01.Dez. 2009 (seen with João Ministro).

Another Common Gull (Larus canus) - in 1st winter plumage. Lagoa dos Salgados, 29. Oct. 2009.

Todays bird is, as far as I remember, the first adult I saw here. Juvenile / first winter birds, I find one or two per year.

This is a new Forum/discussion-group about Gulls in the internet.