Birdwatching in the Algarve, Portugal 
September 24th to 29th 2010
Oscar and Margaret Merne (omerne@eircom.net)




Purple Swamp-hens, Quinta do Lago , Algarve , September 2010 (Photo: O. Merne)

It was April 2005 when we were last in the Algarve (for two weeks) and we decided at fairly short notice to go for a short autumn break in late September 2010. We booked cheap return flights with Ryanair direct Dublin-Faro-Dublin, and on the Internet found the excellent four-star Ondamar hotel/apartmentos in Albufeira at Ä19.50 per person per night for seven nights in a large, well-equipped self-catering apartment. We also booked shuttle bus transfers between Faro airport and the hotel, and a self-drive car from Guerin for four days at Ä21.00 per day (all inclusive).

Being just after the autumn equinox, days and nights were more or less equal, with sunrise and sunset at approximately 07.15-07.30 and sunset at approximately 19.15-19.30 hrs. The moon was just after full on 23rd and close to last quarter on 30th September, so spring tides were on the wane during the visit. Apart from high cloud cover from 15.30 hrs to sunset on 25the September, the skies were completely clear blue during daytime through the visit. The atmosphere was remarkably clear and visibility was excellent. Temperatures in the afternoons ranged from 23į to 29į C, though with morning breezes from N/NW it was cooler then (17į-19į C). Generally winds were light to moderate.

Being somewhat elderly and decrepit now we decided against dawn-to-dusk birding each day and instead opted for visits of a few hours to five main coastal sites between the border with Spain Castro Marim) and Cape St. Vincent. We managed to find 116 bird species in all, but missed out on some which were confined to the inland mountains and woodlands. Also, we did not have time to go bustard-hunting in the Alentejo area. We found that some of the more colourful summer visitors such as Bee-eaters, Rollers, Woodchat Shrikes, etc. had already left for Africa .

Left Dublin at 21.40 hrs, arriving at Faro at 24.00 hrs on 23rd September. Left Faro at 08.00 hrs, arriving at Dublin at 10.55 hrs on Thursday 30th September. Rented car used on four days (25th-28th September)

 

September 24th, Friday
Albufeira area all day (no car).

September 25th, Saturday
PÍra Lagoon/Estuary at ArmaÁŠo de PÍra, 12.30-16.00 hrs.

September 26th, Sunday
Castro Marim area, 11.30-16.00 hrs.


September 27th, Monday
Cape St. Vincent, Vila do Bispo, Sagres triangle, 11.00-15.00 hrs. Alvor Estuary, 16.00-17.15 hrs.


September 28th, Tuesday
Quinta do Lago, 10.10-13.15 hrs. PÍra Lagoon/Estuary at ArmaÁŠo de PÍra, 14.15-16.45 hrs.

 
September 29th, Wednesday
Albufeira area all day (no car).

  



Key to abbreviations used for bird sites/locations

ALB Albufeira area
ALV Alvor Estuary
CM Castro Marim area
QDL Quinta do Lago
PER PÍra Lagoon/Estuary at ArmaÁŠo de PÍra
CSV Cape St. Vincent area

 
Species recorded in the Algarve, 24th Ė 29th September

 

No. Species Quantity Location
1 Little Grebe 55
c.10

c.14
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
2 Great Crested Grebe 1 immature at QDL
3 Coryís Shearwater 1
1
far off ALB; 
 far off CSV
4 Gannet 5-10
5
>50
off ALB; 
off PER; 
passed at CSV
5 Cormorant 15
>40
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
6 Little Bittern   flying around at QDL
7 Squacco Heron 1 at QDL
8 Cattle Egret  63
 >10
at PER;
at CM;
at ALV
9 Little Egret 28
>10
9
 8 
at PER; 
at CM;
at ALV;
at QDL
10 Grey Heron  28
>10
7
at PER;
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
11 Black Stork on thermal at CSV
12 White Stork 4
5
at PER; 
at CM; 
many empty nests seen in various places
13 Glossy Ibis 13 at PER
14 Sacred Ibis 4 at PER
15 Spoonbill 22-25
2
4
6
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
16 Greater Flamingo 117-130
>500
>200
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
17 Shelduck at PER
18 Wigeon 3 at QDL
19 Gadwall 4
c.26
at PER; 
at QDL
20 Teal female at QDL
21 Mallard 92
c.25
c.10
c.12
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
22 Garganey 1 female at QDL
23 Shoveler 3
2
1
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
24 Red-crested Pochard (pair) at QDL
25 Pochard female at QDL
26 Tufted Duck 2
1
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
27 Booted Eagle >25 at CSV
28 Marsh Harrier  1 hunting at CM
29 Goshawk 1 at CSV
30 Sparrowhawk 3 at CSV
31 Buzzard    1 hunting at CSV
32 Osprey    1 fishing at CM
33 Kestrel   2
3
1
at PER; 
at CSV; 
at ALV
34 Peregrine 1
1
perched at PER; 
at CSV
35 Red-legged Partridge   7
2
2
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV
36 Water Rail 1 heard at QDL
37 Moorhen c.20
1
c.14
at PER; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
38 Purple Swamp-hen 4
4
at PER; 
at QDL
39 Coot >45
c.10
2
>20 
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
40 Black-winged Stilt 23-34
>40
>30
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
41 Avocet  52-57  at PER
42 Ringed Plover 2-4
>60
c.25
>40
at PER;  
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
43 Kentish Plover c.10
6
5
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
44 Golden Plover 1 at QDL
45 Grey Plover 3
>20
at CM; 
at QDL
46 Lapwing 2-9
2
at PER; 
at ALV
47 Sanderling 2
c.55
10
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
48 Little Stint 1
4
2
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV
49 Curlew Sandpiper 1
5
at PER; 
at CM
50 Dunlin c.50
c.425
c.35
c.25
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
51 Buff-breasted Sandpiper   1 at PER
52 Ruff 1 at CM
53 Snipe 2 at PER
54 Black-tailed Godwit 9
c.80
19
c.20
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
55 Bar-tailed Godwit 16
6
at CM; 
at QDL
56 Whimbrel  1
2
3
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
57 Curlew 8
1
at QDL; 
at ALB
58 Redshank 2
>25
12
>30
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
59 Greenshank  1
 1
4
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
60 Green Sandpiper   1
2
at PER; 
at CM
61 Wood Sandpiper 1 at PER
62 Common Sandpiper 7
5
3
at PER; 
at CM; 
at QDL
63 Turnstone 4
c.30
at CM; 
at QDL
64 Black-headed Gull 35
>100
c.40
c.70
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
65 Audouinís Gull 1 at QDL
66 Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
1
8
c.160
at PER; 
at CSV; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
67 Yellow-legged Gull >60
315
c.450
>100
c.150
c.620
at ALB; 
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at ALV; 
 at QDL
68 Great Black-backed Gull 1 at QDL
69 Caspian Tern 3 at CM
70 Sandwich Tern 2
1
1
at ALV; 
at QDL; 
at ALB
71 Common Tern c.10 passing at CSV
72 Little Tern 2
1
at CM; 
at QDL
73 Black Tern 1 at PER
74 Razorbill 2 passing at CSV
75 Rock Dove c.40
c.30
>200
c.20
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at ALV
76 Woodpigeon 3 at CM
77 Collared Dove 2-6 at ALB, PER, CM, CSV, ALV, QDL
78 Kingfisher 1
1
at PER; 
at CM
79 Hoopoe 2 (pair) at PER
80 Lesser Short-toed Lark flock of c.100  at CSV
81 Crested Lark 6-8
c.10
c.12
6
4
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at ALV; 
at QDL
82 Skylark 1
2
singing at PER; 
singing at CSV
83 Thekla Lark 1 singing at CSV
84 Sand Martin 1 at PER
85 Crag Martin 1 at CM
86 Swallow c.10
c.10
c.50
1
at PER (1st visit); 
at CM; 
passing at CSV; 
at QDL
87 Red-rumped Swallow 2
8
at CM; 
at CSV
88 House Martin 9 at colony at ALB
89 Meadow Pipit 1
2
1
at PER; 
at CSV; 
at QDL
90 Yellow Wagtail 3
1
16
2
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at QDL
91 Grey Wagtail 2 (pair) at ALB throughout
92 White Wagtail 2
2
at PER; 
at CM
93 Wren 1 singing at QDL
94 Black Redstart  1 singing at CSV
95 Whinchat 1 at PER
96 Stonechat 2
4
1
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at ALV
97 Wheatear 3
2
3
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV
98 Blue Rock Thrush 1 at CSV
99 Blackbird 2
1
2
1
1
at ALB; 
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at QDL
100 Cettiís Warbler 2 singing at QDL
101 Zitting Cisticola >10
6
2
at PER; 
at CM; 
at ALV
102 Sardinian Warbler  several heard/seen at ALB, PER, CM, CSV, ALV, QDL
103 Melodious Warbler 2 at CM
104 Chiffchaff  2-4
5
3
2
at PER; 
at CM; 
at CSV; 
at ALV
105 Great Tit 3 singing at QDL
106 Magpie 2 at CM
107 Azure-winged Magpie 2
1
at CM; 
at ALV; 
heard at QDL
108 Chough 2 at CSV
109 Raven at CSV
110 Starling 8 at CSV
111 Spotless Starling 8
18
at PER; 
at CM
112 House Sparrow  >30
at PER; 
present at CM, CSV, ALV, QDL, ALB
113 Tree Sparrow 9 at PER
114 Goldfinch 4
c.20
at CM; 
at ALV
115 Linnet 5
5
4
at PER; 
at CSV; 
at ALV
116 Black-headed Weaver 3 males at QDL

           

Trip Report Author: Oscar Merne

         

 

© Copyright, Tolka Branch, Birdwatch Ireland 2006