Saturday, 12 March 2011

back in jan i went down to portugal for a week, non birding mind but i had my bins and camera to hand at all times:). we stayed on the algarve coast near portimao. even without any proper birding there were a few potential lifers of which i scored two - azure-winged magpie and caspian tern. the magpies were a lot easier than i was expecting - just in the scrub around the apartment. caspian tern was a lucky tick on the final evening when two appeared in front of me at lagos marina whilst sitting at a coffee bar. a redhead goosander was probably a major rare find for portugal not that it means anything to me, the place looks great for yank rares tho. most of the expected med bird species were seen but no other wildlife except for jamming a mongoose which crossed the track in front of the car. of course first thing i did was get down to the beach to perve on the local portuguese beauties....

nice moult, shame about the face

didn't waste any time getting stuck into the ylg's. on average they seemed to be slightly darker/dirtier/more streaked than birds i've seen in the west med (and which turn up in uk). there was a nice variation to keep up the interest (!), aren't gulls great...

super advanced 1st-winter?? completely moulted tail (2nd-winter type feathers) and all tertials

with a pale shade of grey on the mantle and pale centred coverts i'd call this an argenteus if i saw it back home. being as they're rare in portugal, maybe i shouldve looked at this more closely. or maybe not
news for y'day: some mild sunny weather at last so went for a walk round the east side checking for migrants. two firecrests at culver, one of which was doing a lot of singing - someone thinks it's spring. blackrock to baywatch without a sniff of a rock pipit, what's that all about? it's been a few years since my last littoralis. checked through all the remaining brent with nothing rare amongst them. at least the four little egrets at bembridge must be a sign of spring cos i've only seen one around all winter. also 24 blackwits on the lagoon was the most i've seen there, some coming into sum plum now. nothing of interest on brading marsh except for some impressive log piles - for better or worse the marsh is pretty much a treeless landscape now. there's some bits that look good for waders tho so an lrp or summink could be on the cards soon. the sewage works was good if you like chaffinches. roll on april.

foreland clifftop path, still open to rebels and those who want to check the fields for wheatear

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Spring has sprung

the start of spring is always marked by hearing my first Med.


Black-headed gull amongst the ridibundus