Southern Portugal, 9th - 16th November 2014, Laid-back birding

Published by Guillaume Réthoré (gui AT

Participants: Dinah and Dawn Winslow, Guillaume Réthoré


Sunday, 9 November – Arrival

For this last “Laid-back” birdwatching week of the autumn, Ben (one of A Rocha Portugal volunteers) and me picked up Dinah and Dawn at Faro airport. We had spent the day birdwatching there after giving a lift to the A Rocha International trustees. The trip to Cruzinha (A Rocha Portugal’s field study centre) was quiet. Unfortunately, when we arrived there, it was already night and we could not go birdwatching. Instead, Dinah and Dawn met with the rest of the team: Marcial, Paula and Lieske while enjoying a glass of Port wine before a delicious dinner.

Monday, 10 November – Sagres

After a good night’s sleep, the birdwatching group headed to the end of the world! Cape St. Vincent in Sagres, it is the most south-western point of Europe; ancient people believed the world ended here. We left under a beautiful sky and the trip went smoothly. On the way, we saw White Storks, some on nests, at Odiaxere. The first bird of prey of the day was a Common Buzzard on a post before reaching Sagres.

Our first stop was at Ponta da Atalaia. As soon as we came out of the car, we listened to the birds present and heard the scratching call of the Sardinian Warbler, the “tic tic” of the Robin, Stonechats, Thekla and Skylarks. Around the “pousada” were also present House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and a male Black Redstart. We walked towards the landmark and saw more Stonechats. Dinah spotted a Zitting Cisticolas and a few Serins were perched on the bushes along the track. We had good views of 2 Thekla Larks on the ground and 4 Chiffchaffs foraging in the vegetation. Many gulls were flying along the coast. We stopped again to look at Meadow Pipits and a male and female Black Redstart. Around us, Crag Martins were flying quite low, giving us nice views. We arrived at the landmark and looked at the birds around us: a Chiffchaff was feeding in a bush and further, a mixed flock of Linnets, Serins and Meadow Pipits were looking for food on the ground. Gannets were passing at sea, some close enough to have nice views just with the binoculars. Quite a big flock of gulls was resting on the water so we had a look at them. We could see Lesser Black-backed and Yellow legged gulls at the same time, allowing us to compare the grey tone on the back, useful to identify them. Three Mediterranean Gulls were also present, smaller and lighter grey. From there, we had a nice view of the fortress where Henry the Navigator had his navigation school. We then came back to the car looking at Stonechats on the way. Just before we left, we saw two Kestrels in flight.

Then, we headed to Cabranosa, one of the best spots to watch raptor migration in autumn. Just before parking the car, we had a look at the numerous White Wagtails present. We stopped for a coffee break before going to the migration spot. Very few birds were present there and it had been quiet for a few days. In the bushes around us, we spotted Chiffchaffs and Stonechats. Three White Storks were feeding in a distant field and a Booted Eagle passed in flight above Sagres. As few birds were around, we went exploring the area behind the pinewood. On the way, we saw many Greenfinches feeding on the ground and had a close look at a Skylark, species usually seen high up in the sky. Many bushes and small trees compose the area explored. A Robin was seen singing from the top of a small pine tree. In a close-by bush, a Black Redstart was sheltering and a Sardinian Warbler calling. We looked at a bare bush where 3 Blackcaps were perched. These birds were soon joined by a Robin and a Greenfinch. We decided to go further to have a different view of the area when we flushed a bird identified as a Ring Ouzel because of the call. We had a glimpse of this bird when it flew away. We went back to try to see it better but we only heard it from the middle of a bush. We stopped as the bird called again but we still did not manage to see it. During that time, a group of Goldfinches flew above us and we saw a Greenfinch and a Chaffinch in a nearby bush. We stopped again further to look at the bushes but did not see anything. We then returned to the car without seeing any new species.

We went to the picnic spot, in an area sheltered by a pine hedge. However, in the middle of the lunch, it started raining and by the end of the meal, the rain was stronger and continuous. After lunch, instead of going straight to Cape St Vincent, we went for a hot drink in a local café hoping for the weather to improve. Unfortunately, the rain did not stop but we still went to the Cape. We had a quick look at the sea and saw a group of 13 Common Scoters just after arriving. Then, a few Gannets passed but we did not stay very long as we started to get wet!

We went back to the Cruzinha via Vale Santo. We first stopped near a field usually rich in birds but this time nothing was in sight. The second halt was by an old farm. From there, we saw 2 White Storks. These two birds were carrying coded rings from the Portuguese scheme and are known to be the local pair. A bit further, we saw a Blackbird sitting on an Agave and 2 Kestrels perched on wires. The rest of the trip towards Vila do Bispo was quiet and wet. We only saw a Kestrel looking quite miserable under the rain.

On the way back to Cruzinha, we saw a White Stork on a nest at Odiaxere and a few more in a field. Back at Cruzinha, hot drinks were waiting for us near the fireplace.

Tuesday, 11 November – Ria de Alvor and Alvor Dunes

For this 3rd day of the trip, we left later so we could have breakfast with the A Rocha Portugal team and fresh bread!

We went to the Western Marsh by car and spotted 2 Caspian Terns just when we arrived. The weather was cloudy and we felt a few drops as we went out of the car. It was low tide and a few people were collecting clams and cockles in the estuary. From the parking, we had a look at Flamingos and an Osprey trying to fish in the marsh, giving us nice views. Black-winged Stilts were standing near the Flamingos. We saw well their long red legs and the light was really good. Two Caspian Terns, the same birds as seen previously, passed in flight above us. One of these birds was a juvenile, still calling the adult and asking for food. We had excellent views of these birds, especially the red beak as they were fishing in the marsh. The Osprey reappeared, we saw it well again, and as it was flying away, a Black-headed Gull attacked it. A Little Egret also flew near us and landed in the marsh. Dawn found a Redshank, also seen well. What a start! On the estuary side, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were resting on a sandbar with Cormorants. One of the Caspian Terns landed on the mudflats near us, giving more nice views. Further, a Kestrel flew near us. This bird was hunting in the marsh. We saw it catching an insect and eating it in flight. Near the dyke, a Kingfisher flew and we had a quick view of it. A Spoonbill flew above us, quite low, another nice sighting!

We continued on the dyke and realised dogs were wandering in the marsh but they did not disturb the birds too much. We stopped near the seashell farms where it was very windy. There, we had a nice view of Sandwich Terns and Dawn spotted Sanderlings. However, we did not stay long, the strong wind turning the observation difficult and unpleasant. Before leaving, we had a look at 3 Spoonbills flying above the mudflats. We kept walking towards the old saltpans, stopping in places sheltered from the wind. We looked again at the mudflats and saw 2 Turnstones near a group of 5 Red Knots, including one still in breeding plumage and another Sanderling. All these birds were seen together, allowing comparison of size and colours. A Sandwich Tern passed near us in flight. Further, Grey Plovers, Sanderlings and Kentish Plovers were feeding.

We arrived at the old saltpans and had a quick look at them. They were empty of birds as most of them were feeding in the estuary. The last part of the track leading to the car was the most complicated. The path was muddy because of the rain from the previous days. On the way, we looked at a pond where Dawn found 2 Lapwings. Further, we looked again at the Flamingos in the marsh from a different angle. A Stonechat perched on a fence, soon joined by a Zitting Cisticola. Everybody managed to see well this bird usually hiding in the vegetation. At the end of the track, we looked at Cattle Egrets in a field. Back at the car, we saw a Kestrel hovering. We then came back to Cruzinha where we had about an hour of free time before lunch.

We left after lunch and went to Alvor. Just after leaving Cruzinha, we flushed a Hoopoe Which flew in front of the car. At Alvor, we explored the dunes using the boardwalk crossing this vulnerable habitat. We also had a different view on Quinta da Rocha. The first birds of the afternoon were Meadow Pipits, Zitting Cisticola and a Crested Lark perched along the boardwalk. A Kestrel hunting was also seen from the track. We looked at the birds on sandbars in the Ria de Alvor estuary, as the tide was not completely high. A group of Oystercatchers were resting with a Turnstone. A small flock of Sanderlings, found by Dinah, passed in flight in front of us. An adult Mediterranean Gull was also seen in flight, allowing us to observe the pale pattern of the wings and back. On another island, a group of Cormorants were sitting, one of them drying its wings.

We walked towards the breakwater wall and came back by the beach. Some Gannets were flying at sea and Dinah and Dawn picked-up seashells. We went back to the boardwalk and looked at Sea Daffodils on the dune. We came back to the car walking along the estuary where we saw more Crested Larks and Meadow Pipits. The tide was now going down but some areas were still flooded. There, we saw Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. While looking at these birds, a Kingfisher arrived and perched on a stick where everybody saw it well. A group of Whimbrels landed nearby. It was then time to go back to the car where we heard a Blackbird.

Wednesday, 12 November – Castro Verde

Wednesday was the longest day of the week in terms of time spent in the field. The Castro Verde area has a totally different landscape from the Algarve and different birds as well…

We left quite early (about 6:30 am) to be in the field early. The trip went smoothly and quietly, besides some rain at the beginning.

We saw White Storks (some on the nest) and Cattle Egrets on the way. We arrived at Castro Verde by 8:00 am and had breakfast (croissant, bread and homemade jam) in the field, enjoying the first birds of the day: Thekla Larks, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Zitting Cisticolas, Lapwings and Carrion Crows. The first bird of prey of the day was a Red Kite passing in flight above us. Just after, two birds flew very fast by us, pretty impressive but too fast to be able to identify them! As the LPN (Liga para a Proteção da Natureza) reserve (also called Vale Gonçalinho) centre only opens at 9:00, we did some birdwatching on the way. We made use of a higher spot on the road to have a look around. A Southern Grey Shrike was perched not far from us on an electric wire and a Meadow Pipit perched even closer to us on a fence. Many Lapwings were in a field and Dawn also spotted a White Stork. A flock of 20 Cormorants and a Grey Heron arrived and landed on a pond. Most of the birds flew away as a Red Kite flying by scared them. We found a group of Great Bustards in a distant field. However, the good light and size of the group (20 birds) helped. From another high spot, we saw a Kestrel perched on a post, quite close and more Lapwings and Red Kites. We then, turned up a dirt track leading to the LPN reserve but did not see any birds before getting there. At the centre, we had a quick chat with the LPN worker and gave a donation to help them continue the great work they do in the area.

We started walking in the LPN property and passed in front of a tower where nest-boxes have been installed for Lesser Kestrels. This species was not seen as it is a migrant. We crossed a stream where frogs were singing, we looked at two birds perched on the fence: a Meadow Pipit and a House Sparrow. From there, we also saw a group of 9 Little Bustards in flight. We saw them well, including the white panel on the wings but unfortunately, they landed out of sight. After passing the gate, we heard a Black-bellied Sandgrouse and saw it flying close to us, showing its Pigeon shape and black belly. Around us, many Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were flying and feeding on the ground. We stopped near another place managed for Lesser Kestrels to nest but few birds were present. The only bird seen was perched on a fence and was good identification test for Dawn who passed without problem! Dinah decided to go back to the car and I kept walking with Dawn. We stopped on a high spot to look around as the sky was clearing. We found a bird of prey: a juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagle which came closer so we saw it well before it disappeared behind an elevation. We looked a last time around before leaving and found this bird back, perched on a big rock. We saw it even better until it flew away. We stopped again near an old farm but only saw Red Kites. A Raven and Black-bellied Sandgrouses were calling but not seen. We started walking back to the car but stopped again near a big Eucalyptus where many Spotless Starlings were perched with a Southern Grey Shrike. A Northern Wheatear landed on a rock in front of us, giving us great views. Before leaving the centre, we looked at a mixed group of Lapwings and Spotless Starlings in flight.

While unpacking the picnic, a group of about 60 Little Bustards passed in flight above us and Dinah found a Red Kite. Another bird of prey was with this Kite, bigger: a juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagle, possible the same bird as seen earlier. This bird flew over us as well and everybody had great views of it. During lunch, a Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon were sighted, this last species, mobbed by Meadow Pipits. A Carrion Crow with a singular call was heard during the whole meal.

After lunch, we drove back the dirt track and stopped to look at a Southern Grey Shrike spotted by Dinah. We stopped at a lagoon near Entradas. Because of the rain, the water level was very high and the water was flowing on the road. Black-winged Stilts, a Little Egret and a Greenshank were feeding together in the stream, soon joined by Cattle Egrets. In the vegetation in front of us, a Chiffchaff was flittering around. We had a look on the lagoon and saw Lapwings and a Grey Heron on the bank. Two Gadwalls, a Little Grebe and a Lesser Black-backed Gull were swimming. Then, we went to Nossa Senhora de Aracelis via Castro Verde as the road was flooded, some of us using this time for a nap.

Just before reaching the place, we saw a Hoopoe and Azure-winged Magpies in a pinewood along the road. From this high place, we had a fantastic view of the surroundings. We were hoping to see birds of prey or Cranes but only heard a Robin! We came back to the car and looked a last time around before leaving. This allowed us to find another Spanish Imperial Eagle, an adult this time. This bird passed quite close to us, so we all saw it very well. After this fantastic sighting, we came back to Entradas.

Just as we entered a dirt track, a Hoopoe flew in front of the car. Further, we saw the first Wood Pigeons of the week and more Azure-winged Magpies before crossing a river. There, a Green Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtails were on the bank. We continued and stopped again to look at another Hoopoe. However, this time, the bird was perched on a Fig Tree and this time we had good views. We used this halt to look around as more passerines were present. A Stonechat and a female Black Redstart were fighting for the best place to perch. The next halt was on a high spot to look around. We found a Little Owl perched on a pile of rocks and another group of Great Bustards, closer this time. A Calandra Lark flew above us. We could see the black underwing with the white trailing edge of this big lark. Before reaching the same lagoon we had looked at earlier in the afternoon, we saw a second Wheatear.

We crossed the flooded road and almost ran over a terrapin! After we stopped, we made sure the animal was still alive and we saw it swimming away. We looked again at the lagoon where no new birds were present but had a funny picture of a group of Cattle Egrets perched in line on the dam. It was getting dark at that time so we had a hot drink before driving back.

The trip to Cruzinha was quiet and we had dinner at a local restaurant in Mexilhoeira Grande, enjoying typical Portuguese food.

Thursday, 13 November – Open Day at Cruzinha and Lagoa dos Salgados

As Thursday is Cruzinha’s open day, everybody could enjoy the activities taking place at the centre: moth identification and bird ringing demonstration. Few birds were caught in the morning: Waxbill, Blackcap, Robin, and Chiffchaff. In total 9 birds were caught. Not a great morning! The activities stopped at 1:00 pm and we had a delicious lunch at the centre.

After lunch Ben joined us and we went to one of the richest but still threatened Algarvian wetlands: Lagoa dos Salgados besides the threatening weather. This place is usually good for waders, ducks and herons.

On the way to the car park, we saw a Grey Heron. Management works have been done in the lagoon since last autumn to improve habitats for birds, diminish their disturbance and offer better observation conditions. We parked near the beach, walked towards the “hide” and saw a group of Greenfinches and a Crested Lark on the way.

This time, no Flamingos were present but we saw many ducks from the hide: Shovelers, Mallards, Gadwalls and Pochards. While looking at these birds, a flock of Lapwings passed in flight. An adult female Marsh Harrier hidden in the reedbed took off, giving us nice views. Many Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Cormorants and 2 White Storks were sitting on a dyke in the middle of the lagoon. Ben found a Caspian Tern on an island next to a Mediterranean Gull and a Peregrine Falcon was sitting on another one. A few Black-winged Stilts were feeding in the northern part of the lagoon. Having a closer look at the ducks allowed us to find a Tufted Duck. We also had close views of a Little Grebe and 2 Gadwalls when a Kingfisher flew in front of the hide. A group of Crag Martins was flying above the lagoon and Ben found 3 Barn Swallows amongst them. As it started raining, we took shelter in the car where we wrote the list of birds of the day while waiting for the rain to stop.

When the rain cleared, we went to the boardwalk, exploring the southern part of the lagoon. We saw more Mallards and Pochards with a Moorhen. Ben spotted an adult male Marsh Harrier. It was then possible to see the plumage differences between the 2 sexes. Two Caspian Terns landed near us with a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. We walked towards a second hide but could not go in because the ground around was flooded. The female Marsh Harrier reappeared and flushed the male from the reedbed where it had landed, allowing us to see the 2 birds together. A few passerines were in the bushes near us: Blackcaps, Stonechats and Zitting Cisticolas. Two Cetti’s Warblers showed themselves and it is actually rare to see them so well. Some Chiffchaffs were also flittering around. One of them was more grey-brown than the other ones; did it belong to the tristis subspecies? A group of Linnets flew over the dunes and there we saw Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. We stayed a little while looking at the passerines and came back to the car. We made a small detour to look at the sea. Gannets were fishing and a juvenile was swimming.

We left and saw a group of Storks on the way to Cruzinha.

Friday, 14 November – Silves

Friday was a more cultural day as we spent the day in Silves. We left around 10:00 am under a grey sky and drove to the old capital city of the Algarve.

On the way to the castle, we saw House Sparrows and a White Stork which we heard clapping its beak. We then passed the cathedral and reached the castle. A big statue of Don Sancho I stands in front of the entrance door. He conquered Silves for the Moors in 1189.

In the castle, we first had a look at the cistern before walking around the wall. From there we still looked for birds and saw White Storks, Crag Martins and a Common Buzzard. We finished the visit with a coffee and heard a Great Tit.

Then, 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 as only a similar one exists in the world (in Egypt). We finished the visit with a look at the city from the medina quarter wall, allowing us to see more White Storks.

We came back to the car, drove along the river and parked nearby where we had a picnic. The weather was still threatening but it did not rain. We saw White Wagtails and Goldfinches during lunchtime.

After lunch, we looked at the river from the bank. A Robin was calling and a Little Egret fishing. This bird perched on a dead branch in front of us. We saw well its black beak and legs with yellow feet. A Kingfisher flew in front of us while looking at the Egret. Four Common Sandpipers flew in front of us and landed on the bank, giving us nice views. A Black-headed Gull landed close to us, another good ID test for Dinah and Dawn!

We came back to Cruzinha driving along the river. We saw many more Storks on the way and also some Cattle Egrets. We arrived at Cruzinha just as it was starting to rain, good timing! The rest of the afternoon was free for everybody.

Saturday, 15 November – Monchique Hills

We left Cruzinha around 10:00 am with nice weather and Monchique was completely clear.

On the way we saw many Storks and Azure-winged Magpies. The temperature was cooler and it was a bit windy and cloudy at Foia, the highest point (902 m). We walked a few metres away from the car park to a viewpoint.

Unfortunately, the view was not good as it was misty. It was very quiet and the only bird seen was a Stonechat perched on a wire. We walked a bit along a small road and stopped to see a Blue Rock Thrush perched on a post. This bird flew away and sat on a fence and then on a building. Everybody saw it well even if the light was not good enough to see it very blue. From there, we looked at an area with a bit of grass and found a Meadow Pipit, a Robin and 2 Stonechats, a male and a female. We stopped again a few metres further as Dawn had heard a bird: a Dartford Warbler was calling. This bird showed up quickly before disappearing again in a bush. We continued walking and heard another Dartford Warbler. This time, we had a better view. We used this stop to listen to the birds present: Robins, Wrens, Blackcaps and Sardinian Warblers. We looked again at the surroundings from another point and found a Ring Ouzel on a distant rock. It was not a great sighting but we all saw the shape of this bird, similar to a Blackbird and the white crescent on its chest. More flew by before disappearing in the bushes. We walked a bit further and stopped in a place where 2 Dartford Warblers were calling but not showing. We then came back to the car without seeing any new species. As we had time before lunch, Dinah and Dawn did some shopping.

We went down the mountain to explore another area with big Cork Oaks on the way to Picota (the second highest point). There, we mostly listened to the birds present but still managed to see some, like this Robin hopping on the road. Dinah was intrigued by a bush with shiny blue berries. We brought a branch to Cruzinha for identification and figured out it was Viburnum. We stood in a sunny place to enjoy the warmth and see the sky, in case birds of prey started soaring. We heard quite a few species: Robins, a Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chaffinches passing in flight and a Crested Tit. Dawn found it feeding in a Cork Oak and we all had great views of this bird.

We then drove to Caldas de Monchique, a small thermal village where we had lunch in the shade of big trees, listening to running water. On the way, we saw a Grey Wagtail. After lunch, Dawn and I walked a bit around while Dinah waited for us. We did not see or hear many birds as the temperature was quite hot and the noise of the water made the detection of the bird calls difficult. We stopped near a Cork Oak which bark had been removed the previous year and was still reddish. This tree is usually good for passerines, but it was empty this time. In a nearby tree, a Chiffchaff was feeding, soon joined by a Blue Tit. We stopped near a chapel where Dinah was waiting for us. Few birds were present but it was a pleasant shady area. We finished the day with a well-deserved drink at a café.

We stopped for shopping on the way back as it was still early.

Sunday, 18 April – Departure and Ludo

For the last day, we left later so there was time for packing and proper goodbyes.

We then headed for Ludo, a complex of saltpans and lagoons behind Faro airport. On the way, we saw a couple of Booted Eagles from the motorway. At Ludo we first crossed a pinewood area where we did not see any birds. Then, we passed quickly the first tank as it was empty. Some Flamingos were in the second one and Dawn spotted a White Stork in flight. We stopped longer near a lagoon usually rich in ducks. A flock of Storks was soaring above us while we looked at the birds. Wigeons, Gadwalls, Shovelers and Tufted Ducks were sharing the lagoon with Little Grebes, Coots, Moorhens and Cormorants. A few Gulls flew above the lagoon: Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. In flight, we could see that the Mediterranean Gull is much lighter than the Black-headed. A little Bittern appeared, landed in the reedbed and disappeared there! We managed to have a quick look at it before another landed in a more open area where we could see it well and even hear it. A Kingfisher crossed the lagoon several times. In the sky, 2 Buzzards were soaring and we saw a light morph booted Eagle before leaving.

On the way to the next stop, we drove past a big pile of salt in the middle of more saltpans. Flamingos and Black-winged Stilts were in one of them and Black-tailed Godwits in the last one. We parked near a golf course but walked back to look at the birds in the last tank: Black-tailed Godwits, Black-winged Stilts, Redshanks and a Common Sandpiper. Dinah found male and female Stonechats in the bushes in front of us, with House Sparrows. A late Garden Warbler was eating berries in another bush but it was a quick sighting as this bird flew away rapidly. Then, we came back to the car and had our picnic.

After lunch, we went to the bird hides. We first stopped to look at distant Spoonbills. Then, we walked along the green where we saved a Death’s Head Hawkmoth caterpillar. This species has the peculiarity to produce a clicking noise when it is upset and we heard it a lot as we were moving it! The path went under pine trees and we heard Serin and Sardinian Warbler and saw Chiffchaffs. Just before reaching he hide, we had a good look at Azure-winged Magpies feeding on the green.

The lagoon next to the golf course is usually a very good spot and has a good bird hide. We looked at the birds from the path before going into the hide. We had close views of Shovelers and Gadwalls and even found a Ferruginous Duck. However, this bird had to move because of the restless Gadwall displaying. A few White Wagtails were walking around the ducks out of water. Dawn spotted a big blue bird with a red beak: a Purple Swamphen. While looking at this bird, a Little Bittern flew from the vegetation near us! We entered the hide and had a general view of the lagoon where many birds were visible: Gadwalls, Shovelers, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Little Grebes and Moorhens. Having a closer look at all these birds, we found 2 female Pintails in the middle of the Shovelers so it was easier to find them. Near a Turtle, a Glossy Ibis was feeding. When it flew away, it was replaced by a Little Egret and then a Cattle Egret. For some reason, the ducks started moving a lot and a female Teal landed in an open area, allowing us to see it well and identify it with the green speculum besides the small size. A group of gulls was on the other side of the lagoon. Three species were present: Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and an Audouin’s Gull, new species for the week!

We moved to a second hide overlooking mudflats but the light was bad and few birds were present: a close Redshank, Sanderlings, a Ringed and a Grey Plover. It was then time to leave and we came back slowly to the car. Passing near the first hide, we had another look, at the lagoon and saw a Purple Swamphen feeding. Everybody saw how this bird used its big feet to grab a plant and eat it. Further, we stopped as Dawn had found a Hoopoe. This bird was pretty close, feeding. It flew in front of us and landed near us, giving us nice views. We also looked at more distant lagoons and saw many Black-tailed Godwits with some Cormorants and Flamingos. Along the track, the caterpillar had disappeared from where we had left it.

Back at the car, we still had time to reorganise the luggage and prepare a snack for the trip. We drove to the airport. It was time to say goodbye after another great birdwatching week.

Species Lists

- Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope): seen at Ludo
- Gadwall (Anas strepera): seen at Castro Verde (2 at Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Eurasian Teal (Anas creca): seen at Ludo
- Mallard (Anas plathyrhynchos): seen at Ria de Alvor (2), Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Northern Pintail (Anas acuta): 2 females at Ludo
- Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Common Pochard (Aythya ferina): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca): 1 adult female at Ludo
- Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula): 1 female at Lagoa dos Salgados and seen at Ludo
- Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra): 13 at Sagres (cape)
- Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa): seen at Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis)
- Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis): seen at Castro Verde (Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus): seen Ludo
- Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus): seen from Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape), Alvor Dunes and Lagoa dos Salgados
- Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo): seen at Alvor dunes, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo
- Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus): 4 at Ludo
- Cattle Egret (Bubulcus Ibis): seen at Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo (1)
- Little Egret (Egretta garzetta): seen at Ria de Alvor (2), Alvor Dunes (1), Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo
- Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea): seent at Ria de Alvor (9), Alvor Dunes (1), Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho and 1 at Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- White Stork (Ciconia ciconia): seen at Sagres (3 at Cabranosa, 2 at Vale Santo), Castro Verde (17 at Vale Gonçalinho), Lagoa dos Salgados (2), Silves, on the way to Monchique and Ludo
- Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus): 2 at Ludo
- Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia): seen at Ria de Alvor (4), Castro Verde (1 at Entradas) and Ludo
- Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus): 17 at Ria de Alvor and seen at Ludo
- Red Kite (Milvus milvus): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas).
- Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus): 3 (1 juvenile, 1 adult male and 1 adult female) at Lagoa dos Salgados
- Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo): seen on the way to Sagres, at Castro Verde (2 at Vale Gonçalinhos), Silves and Ludo
- Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti): seen at Castro Verde (1 juvenile at Vale Gonçalinho and 1 adult at Nossa Senhora de Aracelis)
- Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata): 1 at Sagres (Cabranosa), 2 on the way to Faro (light morph) and 1 at Ludo (light morph)
- Osprey (Pandion haliaetus): 1 at Ria de Alvor
- Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus): seen at Sagres (2 at Ponta da Atalaia, 2 at Cabranosa, 3 at Vale Santo), Ria de Alvor (2), Alvor Dunes (1) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas)
- Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus): 1 at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus): seen at Castro Verde (Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo.
- Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio): seen at Ludo
- Coot (Fulica atra): seen Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax): seen at Castro Verde (69 in flight at Vale Gonçalinho)
- Great Bustard (Otis tarda): seen at Castro Verde (20 at Vale Gonçalinho and 15 at Entradas)
- Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus): seen at Alvor dunes
- Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (5 at Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, and Ludo
- Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula): seen at Alvor Dunes and Ludo
- Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus): seen at Ria de Alvor
- Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola): seen at Sagres (1 at Cabranosa), Ria de Alvor and Ludo (1)
- Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus): seen at Ria de Alvor (2), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas) and Lagoa dos Salgados
- Red Knot (Calidris canutus): 5 at Ria de Alvor
- Sanderling (Calidris alba): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor dunes and Ludo
- Dunlin (Calidris alpina): seen at Alvor Dunes
- Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa): seen at Ludo
- Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus): seen at Alvor Dunes
- Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata): 1 at Alvor Dunes
- Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos): 2 at Alvor Dunes, 4 at Silves and 1 at Ludo
- Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) : 2 at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia): 3 at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Common Redshank (Tringa totanus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes and Ludo
- Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres): seen at Ria de Alvor and Alvor Dunes
- Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus): seen at Sagres (3 at Ponta da Atalaia), Alvor Dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados (1) and Ludo (1)
- Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus): seen at Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo
- Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii): 1 Ludo
- Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes, Castro Verde (2 at Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, cape), Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados and Ludo
- Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia): 2 at Ria de Alvor (1 adult and 1 juvenile) and 2 at Lagoa dos Salgados
- Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis): seen at Ria de Alvor and Alvor Dunes
- Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis): 1 at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- Rock Dove (Columbia livia): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa).
- Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus): seen at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto): seen at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Little Owl (Athene noctua): 1 on the way to Cruzinha and 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis): 1 at Ria de Alvor, 1 at Alvor Dunes, 1 at Lagoa dos Salgados, 1 at Silves and at least 3 at Ludo
- Hoopoe (Upupa epops): 1 at Cruzinha, 3 at Castro Verde (1 at Nossa Senhora de Aracelis and 2 at Entradas) and 1 at Ludo
- European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis): heard at Monchique (1 near Picota)
- Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra): 1 at Castro Verde (Entradas)
- Crested Lark (Galerida cristata): seen at Alvor Dunes and Lagoa dos Salgados
- Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo) and Castro Verde
- Woodlark (Lullula arborea): seen at Monchique (Foia).
- Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas) and Lagoa dos Salgados
- Eurasian Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Lagoa dos Salgados and Silves
- Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica): 3 at Lagoa dos Salgados
- Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, and Monchique (Foia)
- Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea): seen at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique).
- White Wagtail (Motacilla alba): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Lagoa dos Salgados, Silves and Ludo
- Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes): seen at Monchique (Foia, Caldas de Monchique)
- European Robin (Erithacus rubecula): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Castro Verde (Nossa Senhora de Aracelis), Cruzinha (ringing), Silves, Monchique and Ludo
- Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa) and Castro Verde (2 females at Entradas)
- European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa, Vale Santo), Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas), Monchique (Foia) and Ludo
- Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe): 2 at Castro Verde (1 at Vale Gonçalinho and 1 at Entradas)
- Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius): 1 at Monchique (Foia)
- Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus): 1 at Sagres (Cabranosa) and 4 at Monchique (Foia)
- Common Blackbird (Turdus merula): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Alvor Dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados (1), Silves, Monchique and Ludo
- Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti): seen at Lagoa dos Salgados (3) and heard at Ludo
- Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Ria de Alvor, Alvor Dunes, Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas) and Lagoa dos Salgados
- Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata): seen at Alvor dunes (1) and Monchique (Foia)
- Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Alvor Dunes, Lagoa dos Salgados, Monchique (Foia) and Ludo
- Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin): 1 at Ludo
- Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa), Cruzinha (ringing) and Monchique (Foia)
- Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Ria de Alvor, Castro Verde (Entradas), Cruzinha (ringing), Lagoa dos Salgados (1 possible tristis), Monchique (Caldas de Monchique) and Ludo
- European Crested Tit (Parus cristatus): 1 at Monchique (Piocota)
- Eurasian Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus): seen at Monchique (Caldas de Monchique)
- Great Tit (Parus major): seen at Silves
- Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea): heard at Monchique (Picota) and Ludo
- Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla): heard at Monchique (Picota)
- Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis): seen at Castro Verde
- Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius): seen at Monchique
- Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus): seen at on the way to Cruzinha, at Castro Verde, on the way to Monchique and Ludo
- Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- Carrion Crow (Corvus corone): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- Northern Raven (Corvus corax): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas)
- House Sparrow (Passer domesticus): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho), Silves, Monchique (Caldas de Monchique) and Ludo
- Black-headed Weaver (Ploceus melanocephalus): 1 at Ludo
- Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild): seen at Cruzinha
- Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa) and Monchique (Foia, Picota)
- European Serin (Serinus serinus): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia) and Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho)
- European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris): seen at Sagres (Cabranosa) and Lagoa dos Salgados
- European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia, Cabranosa), Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho), Silves and Ludo
- Common Linnet (Carduelis cannabina): seen at Sagres (Ponta da Atalaia), Lagoa dos Salgados and Monchique (Foia)
- Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra): seen at Castro Verde (Vale Gonçalinho, Entradas)