Saturday, 17 September 2011


Well I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Portugal. It was extremely quiet and peaceful which was exactly what we were after. Cabanas was a tiny little fishing village, within the boundary of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. This proved to be a superb location, as we were right next to some salt pans and lagoons which meant good birding right on our doorstep. The photo below shows our hotel in the background overlooking the lagoons. Great isnt it! The lagoons were absolutely superb for birds. We regularly had a flock of 30+ Greater Flamingo's (above) which were an absolute delight. A smaller flock of Spoonbills were resident as were a pair of Purple Herons. Unsurprisingly, Waders were plentiful. 18 species were seen in total, none of which were out of the ordinary. A couple of days a pair of White Storks dropped in. Surprisingly I only seen one species of Tern the whole time I was there (Little). A single Marsh Harrier that regularly quartered the lagoon area was the only Raptor that I seen locally. Quite a lot of Passerines were in residence as well, including Zitting Cisticola, Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Wheatear and Whinchat.
It wasnt just lagoons that was close by to our hotel, there was also a good area of scrubland and also quite a large orchard. The scrubby area had a resident pair of Woodchat Shrikes and also a regular sighting of Iberian Grey Shrike. Sardinian Warblers were extremely common and there were also a large number of Western Orphean Warblers which were a brand new species for me. The orchard had loads of birds! Alongside lots of common species were Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, and in with the Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were a good number of Western Bonelli's Warblers (below), another new species for me. One night when coming back from a lovely meal I had the pleasure of seeing a pair of Red Necked Nightjars hunting for insects.
Unfortunately other wildlife was very poor. I was very disappointed with the Butterflies with only 6 species seen. Long Tailed Blue was the only new species. Obviously I didnt take the moth trap with me, but I did see a fantastic new day flying species, Crimson Speckled moth (bottom). This is an absolutely beautiful moth. Another new species of insect for me was the Preying Mantis (below). There were 2 of these fabulous creatures on the walls of the hotel itself. So there was plenty of stuff to keep me occupied when Maria let me out to play!

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