Sunday, 15 February – Arrival, Ludo and Ria de Alvor
For this first “Laid-back” birdwatching week of the year, I left Cruzinha under clouds and even had rain en route to the airport. I picked Tim and Lucy up at Faro airport after only few minutes' search, and set off to Ludo for a couple of hour’s birdwatching. (As they were to leave a day earlier, it was important that they did not miss too many birds!)
At Ludo, we first stopped in front of semi-dried tanks where a few waders were feeding. Sanderlings, a Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper were in the first tank while a light morph Booted Eagle was soaring. Many Barn Swallows and House Martins were flying around. We heard a Cetti’s Warbler singing in the reedbed and a Zitting Cisticola. More waders were feeding in the second lagoon: Redshanks, Dunlins and Sanderlings. As we could see them together and almost side by side, it was possible to compare them. The Redshank was the biggest and with bright red legs. The Sanderling was smaller and very light while the Dunlin, small as well, was browner and darker. Whilst we were watching them, a Marsh Harrier graced us with a fly-past! The next stop was in front of a lagoon usually rich in ducks but quite empty this time. The only birds present were Coots, Gadwalls , Little Grebes and Cormorants. In the trees nearby, many White Storks were around or on nests. Another light morph Booted Eagle flew over the lagoon. On the other side of the road, many Cormorants, Coots and some Great Crested Grebes were in another lagoon. Just as we left, we saw a Greenshank and a Black-winged Stilt near the track. We drove past a big pile of salt and stopped again to look at some waders from the car. A flock of Sanderlings were feeding but there were also two Little Stints with them. These smaller waders are quite easy to find and identify when you can compare them with other species. More saltpans yielded a few Flamingos swimming in deep water, before parking near a golf course and walking back to the last lagoon to catch a better look at Black-tailed Godwits feeding. A Hoopoe flew near us but landed out of sight. A couple of Flamingos were in the middle of many Wigeons and Shovelers in a distant lagoon.
Next, we walked to the now famous 15th hole as a Red-breasted Flycatcher has been present there since December. On the way, we had an excellent view of the Hoopoe seen before and a Mistle Thrush hopping in the pine trees. After a few minutes searching for this bird, its calls finally led us to find it perched on a pine tree. It flew and hunted insects the way flycatchers do before perching close to us, still calling and cocking its tail. Sometimes it showed the white on its outer tail feathers. We showed this bird to a couple of birdwatchers we met earlier.
After this great sighting, we walked to the bird hide. Along the golf course, we saw Serins, House Sparrows, a Hoopoe and a couple of Mistle Thrushes, all feeding on the green. Passing by Roman ruins were a mixed flock of Waxbills, and a bit further along, more Serins. Waxbills are tiny birds with a red beak and red breast which have escaped from cages in the late 60’s and spread over Portugal. On the ground, a line of the infamous Pine Processionary caterpillar was making its way to a hole in order to pupate.
The bird hide overlooks a small lagoon usually rich in birds and we were not disappointed. Many ducks were present: Mallards, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Pochards and Tufted Ducks. Coots and Moorhens joined the show, with Little and Great Crested Grebes- some of them displaying. A Purple Swamphen was climbing a patch of reeds, and another showed-up closer. We could see the bluish plumage of this big bird, its red legs and beak and white bottom. In the distance, two Glossy Ibis were walking on the green near a flock of feeding Coots. A mixed flock of Black-headed and Lesser black-backed Gulls was resting in the middle of the pond, along with one distinct bird. Its lighter grey plumage and dark bill showed it to be an adult Audouin’s Gull. Chiffchaffs were feeding in the vegetation surrounding the lagoon, whist Barn Swallows and House Martins flew over the water, catching insects. In the middle, one bird was different, almost all brown: a Crag Martin. This species spends the winter along the coast. The birdwatchers we met earlier arrived and with them found a Mediterranean Gull. Unfortunately, our time was up and we had to head back to the car, but not before Lucy found an Azure-winged Magpie on the green.
A quick picnic was had before going to the airport. Still birding en-route, we saw another Booted Eagle by a big pile of salt; this time a dark morph. We even had time to stop and look at Flamingos, an Osprey carrying a fish and a light morph Booted Eagle.
We met Malcolm and Sarah at the airport before driving back to Cruzinha (A Rocha Portugal’s field-study centre). Part of the trip was with rain but we still managed to see two Black-winged Kites from the motorway and one on the track to Cruzinha.
There, a 1 hour break from birding ended up as a second lunch, letting us meet the A Rocha team members: Paula, Marcial and Lieske (resident) Amy, Hannah, Jens and Maaike (visiting). A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showed-up while we were eating, to prove how interesting meals can be! After a delicious meal, we walked down to the Ria de Alvor estuary, along with an unexpected guest: Linda, one of A Rocha’s dogs.
Just out of Cruzinha, we saw Barn Swallows and Crested Larks. A Kestrel passed near us, whilst a distant Black-winged Kite showed us it too could hover. Malcolm found a Lapwing. When we passed near a house, two Hoopoes flew away. One of them landed on the track and we had good views of it. From the last bit of track leading to the marsh, we saw another Kestrel perched on an Almond tree. A flock of Skylarks was moving around and a Grey Heron hunting in the field. A Crag Martin flew near us, prompting us to started looking closer at the Barn Swallows and House Martins around us. That is how we found a Red-rumped Swallow, the first of the year! Before reaching the marsh, we had a look at a Cattle Egret in a field.
From the dyke going around the marsh, we had a look at the Flamingos. Many Barn Swallows, House and Crag Martins were flying around us and quite close as the wind was strong. As it was low-tide, we had a look on the mudflats and sandbars on the estuary. Whimbrels and Oystercatchers were feeding. Sarah spotted a Sandwich Tern in flight. A bit further, we had a close view of a Whimbrel. On a more distant sandbar, a Kentish Plover a Redshank and Sanderlings were feeding together. Near a seashell farm, many waders were foraging: Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Sanderlings and Grey Plovers. In the marsh, A Redshank and a Greenshank were almost standing side by side, allowing us to compare them: red legs and brown plumage for the Redshank, greenish legs and grey plumage for the Greenshank. A male and female Stonechat were perched on a bush. As we walked towards old saltpans, we looked at a Ringed Plover having a bath while many other waders were feeding.
We stopped near abandoned dried saltpans, where we only saw 2 Flamingos. From there, the track turned to be very muddy. We saw Black-winged Stilts, Flamingos and a pair of Shovelers found by Tim. While we were looking at the Flamingos, Lucy spotted a Shelduck.
We all walked back to Cruzinha. The first part of the path goes uphill and we stopped half way to look at a female Stonechat found by Lucy and a Chiffchaff spotted by Sarah. Tim was looking at a Kestrel in a tree when a flock of Greenfinches landed in an Almond tree in blossom: nice picture! We stopped again before reaching Cruzinha as there was a flock of Azure-winged Magpies in a tree. These birds were moving to roost. The blue of their wing and back was seen well in flight. While looking at these birds, we found a mixed flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers. When we reached Cruzinha, more Azure-winged Magpies were flying to roost.
We had some time to rest before the first of a long series of good dinners.
Monday, 16 February – Sagres
After a good night’s sleep, the birdwatching group headed to the end of the world! Cape St. Vincent in Sagres is the most south-western point of Europe; ancient people believed the world ended here. We left at 8:00 under a grey sky and the trip went smoothly. We saw our first bird on the way: a Buzzard perched on a post before reaching Sagres.
Our first stop was at Sagres, at Ponta da Atalaia. Sarah found a Blackcap just when we got out of the car. We walked towards the landmark and stopped to look at Thekla Larks on the ground near us. While we were looking at these birds, Tim found Linnets. A Stonechat was also present and we saw a Corn Bunting singing from the top of a bush. A few metres further, we had to stop again as a male Ring Ouzel perched on an Agave leaf was showing well! Many Spotless Starlings were perched next to it and in the sky, four Kestrels were interacting. We resumed walking once these birds flew away. Near the landmark, three Choughs were feeding. Two perched on the landmark and flew away only when we got pretty close to them. From this higher spot, we could see Sagres fortress where Henry the Navigator had his navigation school. Many Gannets were passing at sea, flying north and some of them were close to the coast. A juvenile was swimming in front of the fortress and Sarah found a Shag flying towards us. A Sandwich Tern also flew in front of us. A female Sardinian Warbler was alarm-calling in the bushes near us and even showed herself for a few seconds. The male Ring Ouzel then reappeared, perched on the top of a bush. Two more Shags passed along the coast, so everybody had a good look at them.
As no new birds were seen, we went back to the car. On the way, we saw a second Ring Ouzel, a female this time, perched on the top of a bush. The pale markings on the wings were pretty visible. At the same time, Tim found a female Black Redstart. Back at the car park, we had a glimpse of a Sardinian Warbler.
Then, we headed to Cabranosa, one of the best spots to watch raptor migration in autumn. We took a dirt track and stopped to look at a mixed flock of Linnets, Chaffinches, and Greenfinches. We had a coffee break and as it was a bit windy, we chose the sheltered side of the path to walk to the migration spot. In the pine hedge, we heard a Sardinian Warbler and Malcolm managed to see it. The landscape had changed since the last visit as many Pine trees have been cut. Branches were still on the ground, offering good cover or perching to passerines. We saw Stonechats, Chaffinches, Thekla Larks, Mistle and Song Thrushes. From the migration spot, we looked around but did not see anything. We moved to what was left of the pine wood and crossed it to have a look at the scrubby area behind, but no birds were in sight. We came back to the car by another track, found a few Paperwhite Narcissus and saw more Greenfinches and Chaffinches.
As we still had time before lunch, we went to Cape St Vincent but it was very windy and only a few Gannets were visible at sea. On the way to the picnic spot, we stopped at Beliche fort to try to see Blue Rock Thrush, a species we missed earlier. We saw a Blackbird when we arrived and two Ravens also appeared, giving us nice views. After a little while, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon showed up. This was probably a female judging by its size. As we left, a female Ring Ouzel perched on top of a bush.
We had our picnic in a sheltered spot, along the pine hedge leading to Cabranosa. No birds were seen during lunch but we saw two Barn Swallows as we were leaving. We had a drink in a local café before continuing; a White Stork glided quite low just as we left the place.
We went back to Cruzinha via Vale Santo. The first halt was in front of a field where male Little Bustards usually display. The strong wind made observation difficult and it was still early for display so we did not see any. Instead, we played at “find the Little Owl” as one was perched on a pile of rocks but it was not very obvious. In the distance a flock of about 20 Choughs was foraging and a Kestrel was hunting. We moved and stopped again near old farm buildings. There, we looked again for Little Owls but without success. We walked to try to see again the Choughs.
Unfortunately, we did not see them but found more Lapwings and a Kestrel hunting. Back at the car, a mixed flock of passerines was feeding in a field: Skylarks, Linnets and Corn Buntings. Two White Storks were also seen as we left. The rest of the trip towards Vila do Bispo was quiet, with a few stops to look at Stonechats, Thekla Larks and a Southern Grey Shrike perched on a wire.
As we had still time, we went to Figueira to look for the Eagle Owl. Unfortunately, we did not see it but it was a nice walk to the beach.
We came back to Cruzinha just in time to celebrate Maaike’s birthday.
Tuesday, 17 February – Monchique Hills
After spending a day on the coast, Monchique offered a totally different landscape and habitat. We left Cruzinha around 10:00 am with windy weather but Monchique was out of the clouds.
On the way we saw many Storks. The temperature dropped as we approached Foia, the highest point (902 m). It was very windy and cold at the top but we tried birdwatching anyway. We walked a few metres away from the car park to a viewpoint and enjoyed the view on the coast. We followed a small road but had to give up because of the wind and find a more sheltered place. We indeed had only seen two Meadow Pipits. We treied qnother track but besides being protected from the wind, we saw few birds: Blue Tit and Goldfinch. We went back to the car and had a few glimpses of a Dartford Warbler. The last metres to the car were difficult because of the wind.
We went down the mountain to explore another area and try to see Rock Buntings. This place was less windy and Lucy saved the day when she found two Rock Buntings foraging on the side of the road. We had excellent views of this bird, with a nice light. Before leaving, we had to give way to a shepherd with his sheep and goats.
Before lunch, we had a look at a place with big old Cork Oaks to find other species. We heard a Green Woodpecker. Iberian Green Woodpecker belongs to a different subspecies (sharpei) than the other European ones. They also have a different call and a slightly different plumage. We saw and heard a Jay, Chiffchaffs and Chaffinches.
We then drove to Caldas de Monchique, a small thermal village. On the way to the picnic tables, Lucy found a Grey Wagtail. We had lunch in the shade of big trees, listening to running water and watching to a Nuthatch.
After lunch we walked around a bit and saw a Robin and a Blackcap. We stopped near a Cork Oak; usually good for Firecrest. We not only found one- we also found two Nuthatches. The Firecrest was always moving so we didn't get great views- but everybody managed to see it. At the same time, Sarah and Malcolm met some acquaintance, small world! We stopped by a small chapel where we saw Chaffinches, Chiffchaffs, a Robin, male and female Blackcaps (we had seen mostly female until that moment). Lucy found two Long-tailed Tits close at hand- until a Blue Tit chased them away.
We came back to the centre of the town for a well-deserved drink at a café, watching House Sparrows. The drive back to Cruzinha gave us views of quite a big fire.
Wednesday, 18 February – Alvor Dunes
No visit was planned for this morning so everybody had time to relax, rest or explore Cruzinha’s surroundings by bike or on foot. We all had lunch outside and left afterwards.
At Alvor, we parked near the beach. We explored the dunes using the boardwalk. The first species sighted were passerines: Meadow Pipits, Corn Buntings, Stonechats (many of them) and Crested Larks. We had nice views of a Zitting Cisticola which landed near us and started preening on the ground. From the dunes, we had a different view of Ria de Alvor and could see the place visited on Sunday from a different angle. We looked at the birds on a sand bar in the Ria de Alvor estuary. As the tide was still high, many gulls were resting on an island. In the middle of them, one bird was different: an Audouin’s Gull. However, it was not a great sighting because of the distance and heat haze. The tide was going down and birds started to move to new places appearing out of water. Oystercatchers and Sanderlings appeared near the gulls, whilst a Sandwich Tern passed us in flight. A Mediterranean Gull showed-up in the flock of gulls and we were able to compare it with Lesser Black-backed Gulls: it was smaller and lighter grey. At the same time, we saw an Osprey flying in the distance. We passed the area where Kentish Plovers nest and we saw three of them, including a male and a female, so we could compare the plumages. A Golden Plover was also present. As it is strange to see this species alone and in this kind of habitat, we tried to turn it into something else but did not manage.
We came back by the beach. No birds were seen at sea but Kentish Plovers, Sanderlings and Crested Larks were on the shore.
The last part of the walk was along the river. We had quick but nice views of a Dartford Warbler, much better than the previous day at Monchique. We looked at the mudflats as many birds were feeding. We added Turnstone to our list as we did not manage to see this bird on Sunday. A few Bar-tailed Godwits feeding in the middle of Dunlins, Sanderlings and Grey Plovers were another addition to the day list. In the distance, a Caspian Tern was preening on a sandbar near gulls, allowing us to compare sizes despite the distance. Kentish and Ringed Plovers were also found amongst the other waders. Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls nearby allowed us to see the differences between these two species. The adult Mediterranean Gull does not have black on the primaries and the beak is brighter red and thicker. The light grey of the wings was seen well in flight. This bird landed a bit further near a Bar-tailed Godwit. Turnstones, Green and Redshanks and Whimbrels were also present in this area. Lucy found a Little Egret in the distance. We continued walking on the boardwalk and decided to come back on the longest path, which was a good idea! Lucy found a passerine perched on a bush. This bird had orange at the base of its tail: a Bluethroat. We had excellent views of this bird as it stayed for a while on top of the bush and then foraged on the ground near us. This bird was a juvenile, without blue on its throat. When we arrived near Alvor harbour, we heard a Kingfisher, which then landed in sight near us. We came back to the car after seeing more Stonechats, Blackbirds and Meadow Pipits.
Thursday, 19 February – Open Day at Cruzinha and Lagoa dos Salgados
As Thursday is Cruzinha’s open day, everybody could enjoy the activities occurring at the centre: moth identification and bird ringing demonstration. Few birds were caught in the morning: Serin, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird and House Sparrow. In total 12 birds were caught; not a great morning! The activities stopped at 1:00 pm and we had a delicious lunch outside again.
During the morning, Tim and Lucy had seen a bird whose description matched that of an Osprey. We checked this bird before leaving: it was indeed an Osprey sitting in a field. Whilst walking back to Cruzinha, we checked out a likely place for snakes and found a Viperine Snake.
After these sightings, we went to one of the richest but still threatened Algarvian wetlands: Lagoa dos Salgados. This place is usually good for waders, ducks and herons. When we arrived, we saw that the lagoon had a lot of water and many birds. On the way to the car park, we saw a Kestrel perched on a tree. We parked by the beach and walk to the “bird hide”.
Many birds were present. A few Flamingos were feeding in the northern part, with Coots, Teals, Mallards, Shovelers, Gadwalls and Little Grebes. Sarah found a Pochard but this bird was always diving. A Purple Swamphen was standing on a dyke. This was a nice sighting despite the distance; these birds are rarer since management works have been conducted in the lagoon. Many Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were sitting on the dyke in front of us. Close to us, a Moorhen, Common Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilt were feeding. In the southern part of the lagoon a small flock of Sanderlings was flying from one island to another. On one island, an interesting group of gulls was resting – comprising of six different species! Black-headed, Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed, Audouin’s, and Mediterranean joined a first winter Common (or Mew) Gull. Common gulls are not common in the Algarve but this individual had been present for a few weeks. Whilst we were looking at these birds, Tim found a Purple Swamphen swimming across the lagoon.
We decided to explore the southern part of the lagoon by using the boardwalk. As we left, a Magpie appeared. We met a few people who were at Cruzinha in the morning and while I was chatting with them, the rest of the group saw a Zitting Cisticola. We had another look at the island with gulls. Everybody had good views of the Audouin’s and Mediterranean Gulls. From the boardwalk, the perspective on the lagoon was different. Lucy and Sarah spotted a Grey Heron while I found a Ferruginous Duck. Unfortunately, this bird was diving a lot and surfacing near a female Pochard, creating some confusion. We walked towards the end of the lagoon. Before getting there, a group of Golden Plovers flew above us. There, the Common and Ring-billed Gulls, also present for a few weeks, were in a group of Black-headed Gulls fed by visitors. The Ring-billed Gull was away from the rest of the birds and flew away a few minutes after we arrived. The other species stayed a bit longer before also flying away. This was a good sighting even if it was quick. It was a pity we could not compare the two species’ plumage as they are quite similar. Tim noticed that the Moorhen in the Algarve have more red on the beak than the UK ones. We looked around from the bridge crossing the lagoon but only saw House Sparrows so we started walking back to the car.
We spotted at a Water Vole eating vegetation near the boardwalk. Further, Lucy and I stopped to look at Chiffchaffs. One of them was greyer than the others, possibly a bird belonging to the tristis subspecies, from Siberia (which was confirmed later on by another birdwatcher). We looked again at the Ferruginous Duck and realised there were actually two birds. This time, they were not diving but sleeping so their heads were not visible. However, the white undertail was in sight. Before reaching the car park, a passerine landed near the vegetation bordering a puddle: a Bluethroat, and this time an adult which actually had a blue throat! We had excellent views of this bird feeding. Another appeared and started singing from the top of a bush, another good sighting. We came back to the minibus and finally saw a Grey Heron as we left.
Friday, 20 February – Castro Verde
Friday was the longest day of the week in terms of time spent on the field. The Castro Verde area has a totally different landscape from the Algarve and different birds as well…
We left quite early (about 8:00 am) to be in the field early. The sky was without any cloud but it was cold and it got colder on the road, with the temperature going down to 2ºC!
We arrived at Castro Verde under a grey sky and the temperature was 7ºC. We drove along a small road leading to the LPN (Liga para a Proteção da Natureza) reserve (also called Vale Gonçalinho) centre. We stopped at the beginning to look at a flock of passerines: Greenfinches and Corn Buntings. We made use of a higher spot on the road to have a look around. A flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers was in a field on the other side of the road. We saw Carrion Crows in flight and a Red Kite; the first raptor of the day. As few birds were visible and it was cold, we moved on to the next stop. On the way, we saw more Corn Buntings, a Magpie and three Kestrels. The second halt was from a high spot overlooking a pond. A group of big birds caught our attention and the ID was quickly confirmed: Great Bustards! About 30 birds, including some males displaying were in sight. Everybody had excellent views as they were not far and the light was good. We even saw one in flight as another bird arrived and joined the others. Mallards and Gadwalls were on the pond and a Black-winged Stilt on the shore. A couple of Dutch birders arrived and we showed them the Bustards. On a tree, we saw the first Southern Grey Shrike of the day. On the other side of the road, I spotted three Little Bustards in flight but they landed and disappeared in the vegetation so unfortunately not everyone saw them. Another Red Kite appeared and at this point it seemed the sun was going to break through the clouds.
Next we turned onto a dirt track leading to the LPN reserve. On the way to the reserve, we saw Crested and Calandra Larks in flight. We could see some of the characteristic features of this species: black underwing coverts contrasting with the white rear-edge of the wing. When we got in view of the centre, three Great Bustards flew over the road. At the centre, we had a quick chat with the LPN workers and associates, plus leaving a donation. From the exhibition room, the group saw a “strange Kestrel” perched on a fence: it was a male Lesser Kestrel, another good sighting.
After a coffee break, during which we enjoyed more views of Lesser Kestrels, we started walking in the property surrounding the centre. Our first stop was in front of a tower where Lesser Kestrels nest. Nest-boxes have been installed for this species but we only saw Jackdaws. Two Black-bellied Sandgrouse appeared and landed in a field but they flew away before we all had a look at them. We passed the first gate and found a Little Owl on a pile of rocks. This bird was easier to see than the one seen on Monday. A few Calandra Larks were displaying around us. In a distant field a flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers was constantly disturbed by the passage of a Red Kite. We walked to another structure built for Lesser Kestrel to breed. A Cattle Egret was perched on top of it and a Hoopoe landed on a rock near it. We resumed walking and stopped at a higher place to scan the surroundings, without success.
A Calandra Lark decided to land on a rock so we could have a look through the telescope. At the same time, Tim saw some unidentified birds we did not manage to find again. We stopped near old farm buildings where Spotless Starlings were perched. There we met again the Dutch birder who had seen the same birds as us. A few Barn Swallows were flying, Lapwings feeding in the field in front of us and Calandra Larks displaying.
On the way back to the centre we had a look at the cows and found three Great Bustards in a different field. Many Spotless Starlings in a Eucalyptus were making a huge amount of noise, but flew away when we approached. A Greenshank also passed in flight. Just before reaching the centre, we spotted a flock of thirteen Little Bustards. These birds were joined by more and in total we saw twenty-four! Everybody saw them, including the white on the wing and their particular way of flying. They landed and we tried to find them again but without success as they were far away and the heat haze interfered. Back at the centre, we tried to relocate the Little Bustards and managed it. Even if these were not great views, we saw them moving in the tall grass.
We had lunch at the picnic tables chatting with other birdwatchers but seeing few birds.
After lunch we drove towards Entradas and stopped by a lagoon where a few birds were visible. Chiffchaffs were feeding in the vegetation by the car park. Coots, Little Grebes, Mallards, Gadwalls and a pair of Shovelers were on the lagoon. In the vegetation bordering the lagoon a Little Egret and a Spoonbill were resting. We also found a Great Egret and the three white birds were visible together in the same frame. A Grey Heron also appeared and landed close by. Unfortunately, as the Spoonbill was resting, we could not see its beak, only for a few seconds when it was preening. A call caught our attention and we spotted a Black-winged Stilt near us. A Snipe flew from the margin of the lagoon but it was too quick for everybody to see it, so we looked for another one and found one seen well by everybody. The group saw a mystery bird while the Spoonbill flew over us, so the beak was well visible this time. We continued without seeing any birds, just some Cattle Egrets and White Storks on their nest. As we were driving further from the village, the landscape started changing, with more trees. That is where a big flock of Stock Doves flew over the road. We crossed a river and from the bridge we saw a Green Sandpiper. Unfortunately it flew away but we all saw its white rump and tail.
We saw a close Hoopoe as we reached another village, and a group of Sparrows on a fence, but they flew away before we managed to have a good look at them. Fortunately, the sparrows perched on a tree where we could see them. It was a mixed flock of House and Spanish Sparrows. The latter species was more abundant and some characteristic males were in sight: more black on the chest, white cheek and brown top of the head. We saw a female Black Redstart while crossing the village and it turned out that the mystery bird seen earlier was probably that species. We then drove towards a vantage point, past many Stork nests and Southern Grey Shrikes perched on wires.
Few birds were seen from the hill but the view was great. Sarah found a Red Admiral and after scanning the environs we spotted two Cranes near a pond. We saw them well despite the distance. Many Wood Pigeons were in the trees nearby.
As we still had some time, we tried a new road, hoping to see more birds. We came down the hill on a different track. On a pile of rock near the path, a Little Owl was hiding. Then we got a bit lost but this allowed us to see an adult Great Spotted Cuckoo on the side of the road so it was not that bad! Again, many Southern Grey Shrikes were perched on the wires.
We stopped near a small lagoon. Few birds were present; only two Mallards, Magpies and a few Red-legged Partridges - heard. In a fenced field, Sarah found Red Deer and five Ravens passed in flight.
We came back to Castro Verde on a different road passing in front of a field with many Cattle Egrets. We stopped near a pond where another birdwatcher’s car was stopped. Gadwalls and a Spoonbill had caught their attention. However, the Spoonbill flew away just after we arrived. Further, we stopped again as Tim had spotted a Kestrel. We used this halt to look around and found a female or juvenile Hen (or Northern) Harrier hunting. We stopped again to look at another pond and found another Little Owl on another pile of rocks. This one was very close and gave great views until it flew away. At the same time, a Little Bustard flew from the field on the other side of the road. This time we saw it well in flight. Two more birds flew from the same field but these were different; Stone Curlews. They landed in another field nearby so we set the telescope to see them better, but we never managed to find them again! The rest of the trip to Castro Verde was quieter.
We drove back to Cruzinha with plenty of time to spare before dinner. We went to a typical Portuguese restaurant in Mexilhoeira Grande where we had local food and wine from the region visited during the day.
Saturday, 21 February – Silves
As Friday was a long day, we had a later start on Saturday. However, Tim, Lucy and I had to wake up early as they had to be picked up by an airport shuttle at 6:43! The rest of the group headed to Silves around 10:00, in the company of some of A Rocha Portugal’s volunteers. This day was more cultural and we did less birdwatching. Before leaving Cruzinha, we enjoyed some drumming by the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
On the way to the castle, we passed in front of the cathedral. A big statue of Don Sancho I stands in front of the entrance door. He conquered Silves to the Moors in 1189.
In the castle, we first had a look at the exhibition about the Iberian Lynx in the castle cistern. We then walked around the wall. From there we still looked for birds and saw White Storks, a Black Redstart and a Monarch butterfly.
After this visit, we walked to the archaeological museum. It keeps items from different periods, mostly from Moorish times (the ceramics collection being one of the largest in Portugal). The museum was built along the medina quarter wall and is organized around the arabic cistern-well. This was part of a construction set built to provide water to the city and is quite unique; only one similar example exists in the world (in Egypt). We finished the visit by having a look at an exhibition and at the city from the medina quarter wall. From there, we saw many other White Storks, some quite close. A few Crag Martins were perched on a building and a male Black Redstart was walking along a roof. On a distant chimney, Sarah found a Yellow-legged Gull.
We came back to the minibus and stopped on the way to look at another Monarch. We then drove along the river and parked near a shady place for our picnic. During lunch, we saw White Wagtails (Motacilla alba), Blackcaps, White Storks, and a Kestrel.
After lunch, we had a look at the river but only saw two Common Sandpipers. We came back to Cruzinha driving along the river. As we saw some birds, we stopped and had a look. In a pond by the river we saw some Moorhens fighting and some Mallards. This part of the river is tidal and, as it was low tide, mudflats were visible. Redshanks, Greenshanks, two Herons, Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were feeding there. The rest of the trip was quiet without any new birds.
The rest of the afternoon was free for everybody.
Sunday, 22 April – Ludo and departure
For the group’s last day, we left Cruzinha with sunny weather but on the motorway, we soon realized the strong wind was back.
We went to Ludo, a complex of saltpans and lagoon behind Faro airport. There, we first crossed a pine wood area where processions of caterpillars were on their way to find a place to pupate. We passed quickly on from the saltpans as they were dry and no birds were in sight. Storks catching a thermal caught our attention and we stopped near a lagoon usually good for ducks. This time, however, it was almost empty with only a Cormorant and Coot visible. We passed a big pile of salt and stopped to look at the pond next to it. Many waders were present: Sanderlings, a Greenshank, Redshanks, Black-winged Stilts and a Little Stint. Only Redshanks and Sanderlings were seen in the other tanks.
We parked near the golf course and walked to the hole n°15, famous for its long staying Red-breasted Flycatcher. The strong wind made finding the bird difficult and there was no movement in the place where we saw it the previous week. We stayed a bit, had a glimpse of a Green Woodpecker and walked further. Some Chiffchaffs behaving like flycatchers created a false alarm but we finally spotted the bird in a Pine tree. The observation was difficult as the bird was high up and often hidden by branches. Fortunately, it came down in a bush close to us and on the ground. Everybody had a good look at it before it went back to the Pine tree and disappeared. As we still had time before lunch, we looked at the lagoon near the car park. The light was pretty bad and there was heat haze but we still managed to see Great Crested Grebes, Coots, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks and Wigeons.
We then walked to the hide, taking lunch with us. Stopping by roman ruins we looked again at the lagoon. We saw many Coots and Wigeons but also managed to find a Pintail (Anas acuta) and Black-tailed Godwits, even if the observation was difficult. We walked along the green where House Sparrows and Serins were feeding together.
The lagoon next to the golf course is usually a very good spot and has a good bird hide. Many birds were visible: Coots, Moorhens, Little Grebes, Teal, Shovelers, Tufted Ducks, Pochards and Gadwall. Purple Swamphens were feeding on the “islands”. One landed on top of a patch of vegetation and stayed there a little while, enough to give nice views and some pictures. A Glossy Ibis was feeding nearby and we saw it well before it disappeared behind reeds. Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull were swimming in the far part of the lagoon. Coots were feeding on the green. Malcolm spotted an obliging Kingfisher which perched and fished in front of the hide. As many terrapins were present, Sarah and Malcolm learned how to identify them: dark with yellow spots for European Pond Terrapin, and lighter and plainer for the Spanish Pond Terrapin. Many passerines were hiding in the vegetation in the lagoon; some of them were Chiffchaffs, others Black-headed Weavers. Other birdwatchers joined us in the hide and we had a chat with them. The Glossy Ibis crossed the lagoon in flight and everybody saw it. Someone found a Snipe close to us and we had fantastic views of this bird. We also showed Mediterranean Gulls to some of these birders. For us, it was lunch time.
We had picnic in front of the hide, near Pine trees and surrounded by Chiffchaffs. After lunch, Sarah and Malcolm stayed a bit in the hide whilst I took the cooler back to the car. When I returned, we spent some more time looking for new birds. The Kingfisher seen earlier reappeared and perched in the same place. An Audouin’s Gull was now swimming in the middle of a flock of about 80 Mediterranean Gulls. I spotted a Little Bittern in flight but it disappeared as soon as it landed in the reedbed and unfortunately we did not see it again. We decided to move to the other hide.
This hide overlooks mudflats. A Spoonbill was pretty close and we had good views of it (the best of the week). A Little Egret and Black-tailed Godwits were also feeding in front of the hide. While checking a group of gulls, I found a Curlew. We walked along the dike to look at more Black-tailed Godwits. They were feeding with Teals, Black-winged Stilts, Snipes and a Common Sandpiper. Some of the Godwits were in breeding plumage, with orange feathers on the neck and head. Sarah spotted a Sardinian Warbler in the bushes along the track.
We came back to the first hide and looked one more time for the Little Bittern. After a few minutes, a lady entered the hide and told us she had found one and indicated us the place. They also showed us pictures; there was no doubt about the bird’s ID. We waited a bit and Malcolm was the first one to spot it. Unfortunately, it hid again in the reeds but Malcolm’s description matched with this species. The bird showed again, finally everybody saw it well and it even called from the edge of the reedbed. Once it came back in the cover of the reeds, we realized there were two birds!
We came back to the car and stopped again near the roman ruins. A group of 15 Spoonbills was on an island of the lagoon. We drove again between the saltpans and had a last look at the Little Stint with the Sanderlings. I dropped Sarah and Malcolm at the airport and it was time to say goodbye after another great birdwatching week.
- Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna): 1 at Ria de Alvor.
- Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) seen at Ludo.
- Gadwall (Anas strepera): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and Ludo.
- Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo.
- Mallard (Anas plathyrhynchos): seen at Alvor dunes (1 male and 1 female), Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Alvares), Silves (1 male and 1 female) and Ludo.
- Northern Pintail (Anas acuta): 1 male at Ludo.
- Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (1 male and 1 female at Entradas) and at Ludo.
- Common Pochard (Aythya ferina): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo.
- Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca): 2 at Lagoa dos Salgados.
- Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula): seen at Ludo.
- Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa): seen at Castro Verde (Alvares, Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and heard at Cruzinha.
- Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Entradas) and Ludo.
- Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus): seen at Ludo.
- Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus): seen from Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape).
- Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (2 at Entradas) and Ludo.
- European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis): 4 at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia).
- Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus): 2 at Ludo.
- Cattle Egret (Bubulcus Ibis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and Silves.
- Little Egret (Egretta garzetta): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes (3), Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (1 at Entradas) and Ludo (1).
- Great Egret (Egretta alba): 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes (1), Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (1 at Entradas), Silves (2) and Ludo.
- White Stork (Ciconia ciconia): seen at Ria de Alvor (1), Sagres (1 at the cape, 4 at Vale Santo), on the way to Monchique, at Castro Verde (Entradas, Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, Santa Bárbara de Padrões and Alvares), Silves and Ludo.
- Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus): 2 at Ludo.
- Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia): 2 at Castro Verde (1 at Entradas and 1 at Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and 17 at Ludo.
- Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus): 12 at Ria de Alvor, seen at Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo.
- Black-winged Kite (Elanus ceruleus): 2 seen on the motorway, 1 on the way to Cruzinha, 1 at Ria de Alvor and 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas).
- Red Kite (Milvus milvus): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus): 1 adult male at Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis) and 2 at Ludo.
- Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus): 1 female/juvenile at Castro Verde (Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo): 1 at Sagres (Vale Santo) and 3 at Castro Verde (2 at Vale Gonçalinho and 1 at Entradas).
- Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata): 3 (2 light morphs, 1 dark morph) at Ludo.
- Osprey (Pandion haliaetus): 1 at Alvor dunes, 1 at Ria de Alvor and 1 at Ludo.
- Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus): seen at Ria de Alvor (2), Sagres (4 at Ponta da Atalaia, 2 at Cabranosa, 3 at Vale Santo), Lagoa dos Salgados (1), Castro Verde (Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and Silves (1).
- Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus): 1 at Sagres (cape).
- Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Entradas), Silves and Ludo.
- Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados (2) and Ludo.
- Coot (Fulica atra): seen Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Entradas) and Ludo.
- Common Crane (Grus grus): 2 at Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis)
- Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax): seen at Castro Verde (24 at Vale Gonçalinho and 1 at Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Great Bustard (Otis tarda): seen at Castro Verde (30 at Vale Gonçalinho).
- Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus): seen at Ria de Alvor and Alvor dunes.
- Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho, 1 at Entradas), and Ludo.
- Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus): 2 at Castro Verde (Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes and Ludo.
- Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes (10) and Ludo.
- European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes (1), Lagoa dos Salgados (27), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Corte Pequena, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola): seen at Ria de Alvor and Alvor dunes.
- Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Vale Santo), Lagoa dos Salgados and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Sanderling (Calidris alba): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo.
- Little Stint (Calidris minuta): seen at Ludo.
- Dunlin (Calidris alpina): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes and Ludo.
- Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago): 2 at Castro Verde (Entradas) and 4 at Ludo.
- Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa): seen at Ludo.
- Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica): 3 at Alvor dunes.
- Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus): seen at Ria de Alvor and Alvor dunes.
- Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata): 1 at Ludo.
- Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos): 1 at Ria de Alvor, 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados, 2 at Silves, 1 at Ludo.
- Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus): 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas).
- Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia): seen at Ria de Alvor (1), Alvor Dunes (1), Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho), Silves and Ludo (1).
- Common Redshank (Tringa totanus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Silves and Ludo.
- Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres): seen at Alvor dunes.
- Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus): seen at Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo.
- Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo.
- Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii): 2 at Alvor dunes, 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados and 1 at Ludo.
- Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis): 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados.
- Mew Gull (Larus canus): 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados.
- Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape), Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo.
- Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape), Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo.
- Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia): 1 at Alvor dunes.
- Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (1 at Ponta da Atalaia), Alvor dunes and Lagoa dos Salgados (1).
- Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho).
- Stock Dove (Columba oenas): seen at Castro Verde (Entradas).
- Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus): seen at Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis).
- Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto): seen at Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, Corte Pequena) and Ludo.
- Great Spotted Cukoo (Clamator glandarius): 1 adult at Castro Verde (Alvares).
- Little Owl (Athene noctua): 1 at Sagres (Vale Santo) 1 on the way to Cruzinha and 3 at Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho, 1 at Corte Pequena and 1 at Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis): 1 adult female at Alvor dunes and 1 female at Ludo.
- Hoopoe (Upupa epops): 2 at Ludo, 2 at Ria de Alvor, 4 at Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho, 1 at Entradas, 1 at Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, 1 at Alvares).
- European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis): heard at Monchique (1 at Foia and 1 at Picota), 1 at Ludo.
- Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor): 1 at Cruzinha.
- Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho).
- Crested Lark (Galerida cristata): seen at Ludo, Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas).
- Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo) and Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis).
- Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis): 5 at Ria de Alvor, heard at Sagres (Vale Santo), 1 at Alvor dunes and heard at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho).
- Eurasian Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris): seen at Ludo, Ria de Alvor, and Silves.
- Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (2 at Cabranosa), Alvor dunes (1), Lagoa dos Salgados (1), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Silves and Ludo.
- Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum) seen at Ria de Alvor and Ludo.
- Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica): 1 at Ria de Alvor.
- Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Monchique (Foia), Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho) and Silves.
- Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea): seen at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique).
- White Wagtail (Motacilla alba): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Monchique (Caldas de Monchique), Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Entradas), Silves and Ludo.
- European Robin (Erithacus rubecula): seen at Ludo (1), Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Monchique.
- Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica): 1 juvenile at Alvor dunes and 2 males at Lagoa dos Salgados.
- Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros): 2 at Sagres (1 female at Ponta da Atalaia and 1 female at Cabranosa), 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas) and 2 at Silves (1 male and 1 female).
- European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres, Monchique (Foia), Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde, Silves and Ludo.
- Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus): 3 at Sagres (1 male and 1 female at Ponta da Atalaia and 1 female at the cape).
- Common Blackbird (Turdus merula): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Monchique (Picota, Caldas de Monchique), Alvor dunes, Cruzinha (ringing), Silves and Ludo.
- Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa).
- Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti): heard at Silves and Ludo.
- Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo.
- Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata): 2 at Monchique (Foia) and 1 at Alvor dunes.
- Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Castro Verde (1 at Nossa Senhora de Aracelis) and Ludo.
- Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Monchique (Caldas de Monchique), Cruzinha (ringing), Silves and Ludo.
- Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Monchique (Picota, Caldas de Monchique), Lagoa dos Salgados (including a possible tristis), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Silves and Ludo.
- Common Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus): 1 at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique).
- Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva): 1 at Ludo.
- Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus): 2 at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique).
- Eurasian Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus): seen at Monchique (Foia, Caldas de Monchique).
- Great Tit (Parus major): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Cabranosa), Monchique (Foia, Caldas de Monchique) and Ludo.
- Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea): seen at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique).
- Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis): seen at Sagres (2 at Vale Santo) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, Alvares, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).
- Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius): 1 at Monchique (Picota).
- Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus): seen at Ria de Alvor (about 100), Castro Verde (Entradas, Nossa Senhora de Aracelis) and Ludo.
- Common Magpie (Pica pica): 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados and seen at Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho and Alvares).
- Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax): seen at Sagres (3 at Ponta da Atalaia and 20 at Vale Santo).
- Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula): seen at Ria de Alvor (4) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho).
- Carrion Crow (Corvus corone): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas).
- Northern Raven (Corvus corax): 2 at Sagres (cape) and 5 at Castro Verde (Alvares).
- Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões) and Ludo.
- House Sparrow (Passer domesticus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape), Monchique (Caldas de Monchique), Alvor dunes, Cruzinha (ringing), Lagoa dos Salgados, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho), Silves and Ludo.
- Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis): seen at Castro Verde (São Marcos da Ataboeira).
- Black-headed Weaver (Ploceus melanocephalus): seen at Ludo.
- Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild): seen at Ludo and Cruzinha.
- Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs): seen at Ludo, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Monchique and Cruzinha (ringing).
- European Serin (Serinus serinus): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa), Cruzinha (ringing), Silves and Ludo.
- European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris): seen at Ria de Alvor, Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Monchique (Caldas de Monchique), Cruzinha (ringing) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho).
- European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Monchique (Foia), Alvor dunes, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Silves and Ludo.
- Common Linnet (Carduelis cannabina): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo) and Alvor dunes.
- Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia): 2 at Monchique (Foia).
- Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Vale Santo), Alvor dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas, Santa Bárbara de Padrões).