Friday, August 31, 2012


Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti) immature, 2nd cy, near Mértola. 30th of May 2012. Foto: Gaby Dienst.

... is almost gone now. Autumn migration (or postnuptial migration) has begun weeks ago, with Bee-eaters and Red-rumped Swallows still passing through in good numbers. Last week, Willow Warblers where most abundant here and also the first Pied Flycatchers appeared.
On a trip to the Cape of Sagres and St. Vincent earlier this week (28-08), we saw a first Whinchat and Short-toed Larks and Tawny Pipits could be found in the open and still dried out countryside. Spectacled Warblers where still around and we also found a group of Little Bustards. Two of apparently three Egyptian Vultures in the area gave good views and a thermal of close to 30 Black Kites (mostly juveniles) was impressive to watch. A juvenile Monatgu's Harrier, two Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine and many Kestrels where other raptors found in the area. Further inland, we found a good flock of the local resident Red-billed Choughs, feeding around a  farm. A chat with a friend, employee of "Strix", the company responsable for surveying the area around the wind turbines between August and November, revealed that Black Stork, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Eleanora's Falcon and European Roller already had been seen here over the days before.

Around Faro last week, Black Terns (2 ad., 1 juv.) were present at the E.T.A.R. east of Faro, as well as a Wood Sandpiper, an ad. male Ruff, at least nine Glossy Ibis, many Common Sandpipers and Yellow Wagtails (M.fl. iberiae and flava) and a Melodious Warbler (on Aug 20th). Little Bittern, including the fledged juveniles, some still with some dune feathers on top of their head, are easy to spot now near the hide at Quinta do Lago. Booted Eagles are also back (well, this year I have observations from late May and July for the place...) and Black-shouldered Kite roosts in the area.
Another friend, Thjis from RIAS (Olhão) is currently ringing in a reedbed in Ludo and caught Reed- and Sedge Warblers, Subalpine Warblers, Willow Warblers, Common Waxbills and also the occasional Western Orphean- and Grasshopper Warbler during the past 10 days or so. I went to visit him there with my son Lukas one morning, who enjoyed it a lot beeing so close to the birds and asked me to go again afterwards.

Even though the inland "steppes" are terribly dry and quite hot on most days in summer, they always "work" and particular raptors are present also during the hot season. in late May/early June I have been visiting this region with a group of German birders. A selection of photos from this trip (8 days-Algarve & Alentejo) is here Birdingtours 26.05 -02.06.2012 (worth having a look!) thanks to Gaby Dienst, who took most of the photos and kindly allows me using them here. The main target species were White-rumped Swift, Rufous Bush-Robin, Red-necked Nightjar, European Roller, Collared Pratincole, Western Orphean Warbler and other, rather elusive summer birds, which we all got during the trip, around 145 species in total.
In early August, in the Alentejo plain, European Roller was still present and on August 18th, about 30 Griffon Vultures, 2 Black Vultures, an immature and an adult pair of the Spanish Imperial Eagle could be watched, the latter one, when attacking a Short-toed Eagle (on passage) when flying over the group of trees they were roosting in. An immature Bonelli's Eagle, as well as several Booted Eagles and still some Lesser Kestrels were seen the same day, as well as quite a few Black-eared Wheatears and a first Northern Wheatear.

Finally, out on the sea we encountered about 6 to 8 Wilson's Storm Petrels and about a dozen "Europeans" about 5 miles off Fuseta last Tuesday (21-08) and Rui Caratão, who joined the trip, got some nice shots which I can share with you here:
Delightfull were also the Bottlenose Dolphins that joined us on our way returning back to Fuseta. I took a small video here:

Over the next weeks, quite a few pelagics are scheduled, 7th, 8th and 9th of September, with vacancies still for the 7th off Fuseta and the other two days sold out. Many Tours are scheduled for the peak migration in September and October and I will be Guiding groups from Sweden, Swizzerland and England, as well as a group of International Tour Operators invited on behalf of the Algarve Toursim Board. I am also going to spend some days at the Strait of Gibraltar (around Tarifa) - the migration hot spot in Iberia.

Até breve!/See you soon!/Bis bald!

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