Portugal. March 2019.

A winter break from windy Ireland to the Algarve in sunshine and 20 degrees is our latest breakaway. We worked out of Vilamoura every day and found this a good base. Day one an hours drive to Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente for perhaps Alpine Accentor, we failed but were delighted with a fall of six Ring Ouzels being harassed by several Blue Rock Thrush. Red-billed Chough were evident as were Black Redstart. We also failed to see Little Bustard. Day two was spent in Ria Formosa in the hope of seeing Purple Swamphen and Black-headed Weaver, both were easy here. Other birds of note being Red-crested Pochard, Water Pipit, Greater flamingo and Audouin's Gull. The latter coming in to bathe in the evening giving nice views. Day three/four in Castro Verde which is just fantastic, Little and Great Bustard were obliging as was Black-winged Kite, Calandra Lark, Griffon and one Black Vulture. Lesser Kestrel abundant and Black-bellied Sandgrouse but the latter can be difficult to see as they can call overhead and not be seen. One Spanish Imperial and Short-toed Snake Eagle were pointed out by a Portuguese bird guide. This is the only area we observed Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Stone Curlew. Day five and six were spent looking for migrants in Lagoa de Salgados as the winds went south east. This area is just full of birds and is considered a migrant hot spot by the local birders. Fresh migrants were Woodchat Shrike, Black-eared and Northern Wheatear, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtails of several races, Booted Eagle, Osprey and even Griffon Vulture moving north. Wood and Green Sandpipers were on the main lake as were most of the common waders. Glossy Ibis, Flamingo and even a Spotted Crake. Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls were always present. Red-rumped Swallows, Fan-tailed and Sardinian Warblers are abundant. Fantastic birding and would love it as a local patch. Most evenings were spent gulling in the harbour beside our hotel, Yellow-legged Gull predominates, we picked a Caspian Gull just for good measure. The only Caspian Tern of the trip was also here. Of note most of the Yellow-legged are Cantabrican.

Driving is relaxed and car hire is cheap, food and drinks reanonable, most of all the Portuguese people are just lovely and most speak English very well.

Paul and Andrea Kelly 2019

Red-crested Pochard (C) Algarve. Great Bustard (100) Castro Verde. Black Redstart (C) Algarve.
Quail (C) Everywhere. Little Bustard (15) Castro Verde. Black-eared Wheatear (2) Algarve.
Continental Cormorant (C) Coastal. Avocet (C) Algarve. Sardinian Warbler (C) Algarve.
White Stork (C) Everywhere. Stone Curlew (1) Castro Verde. Fan-tailed Warbler (C) Everywhere.
Spoonbill (L) Algarve. Audouin's Gull (L) Algarve. Woodchat Shrike (1) Algarve.
Greater Flamingo (L) Algarve. Caspian Gull (1) Algarve. Carrion Crow (L) Castre Verde.
Osprey (1) Algarve. Yellow-legged Gull (C) Algarve. Black-headed Weaver (C) Algarve.
Booted Eagle (2) Algarve. Crested Lark (C) Algarve. Common Waxbill (C) Algarve.
Black-winged Kite (3) Algarve and Castro Verde. Calandra Lark (C) Castro Verde. Corn Bunting (C) Algarve and Castro Verde.
Marsh Harrier (L) Algarve. Red-rumped Swallow (C) Algarve. Glossy Ibis (C) Algarve.
Purple Swamphen (9) Algarve. Yellow Wagtail (9) Algarve. Azure-winged Magpie (C) Algarve.