|Pallid Swift, Praia da Rocha|
|Common Swift, Praia da Rocha|
|Alpine Swift, Cabo de São Vincent|
|Cabo de São Vincent|
Dawn and I made two trips to the Alentejo, which was roughly a 100 km drive from our base in the Algarve. The first time we set off at 04:00 to arrive there at first light. Our first destination was the LPN reserve just north of Castro Verde ( 37°44'10.57"N 8° 1'53.81"W). As we approached the reserve headquarters we could see small falcons silhouetted against the fading night sky. Many of the Lesser Kestrels that nest colonially at the site were hunting insects around the buildings. As the sun began to rise I left Dawn snoozing and attempted to photograph the Lesser Kestrels, but unfortunately they stayed distant.
|Male Lesser Kestrel|
Whilst I was watching the Lesser Kestrels, a Roller flew past. At least two pairs were in the area - they were nesting in the same buildings as the Lesser Kestrels.
From the permissible footpath it is possible to see Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Great and Little Bustards, Montagu's Harriers, Quail and other species. Little Bustards doing their wing quivering display flight were easy to see and one was on the ground doing his display complete with his mouth fart call. That sound carries quite a distance. When you first hear it you think the bird is right next to you, but it is more likely to be at least 200 metres away. At least 14 Quails called close to the footpath and two showed briefly.
|Digiscoped Little Bustard|
|Montagu's Harrier Carrying Prey|
|Bustard Habitat Near Guerreiro|
The Castro Verde area really requires more time to do it full justice. It is a large area to work, but with a little effort many of the species can be seen in a day.
The rest of the trip was spent at several sites along the coast and up in the hills around Monchique. On the slopes below Picota many Iberian Chiffchaffs were singing and a couple of Iberian Green Woodpeckers showed occasionally. On the summit of Picota time had stood still. We were last there in October 2015 and there were Two-tailed Pashas, Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails gliding around at head height and they were all there again this time. It is like a butterfly park up there as these beauties just glide past you at touching distance.
I'll finish with a few random images including one for Paul Riddle.
|Breeding Condition Cattle Egret|
|A Very Dark Little Owl|
|Greater Flamingo - Always the First and Last Species to be Seen in The Algarve|