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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

From Cornwall to Portugal!

View from our apartment!
Hoopooe searching for ants and small larvae.

Woodchat Shrike abound in the scrubland.

Caught this Hoopooe in some nice light!!!

Close relative of the Siskin....Serin!

Handsome Northern Wheatear.

Common Waxbill!

The Woodchat Shrike pose really well for the camera!

Hard to get close to..Azure Winged Magpie...
Due to the inclement weather forecast,we decided to abandon our 12 day caravanning trip to Cornwall and look on the internet for some cheap flights to a sunnier destination.Some were found going to the Algarve from Blackpool, my wife and 14 yr old daughter didn`t need too much convincing about the location and I knew it wasn`t bad for birding either.Another hour or so later and the accomodation was arranged,the wonders of the internet eh!
Primarilly a familly holiday,I couldn`t help but pack my camera and 500mm lens as I knew Lisa and Harriet were inclined to lie in for a few hours after a hard days sunbathing etc.This would allow me a plenty time exploring the local woods and scrubland before the sun got up.August isnt the best time for birdwatching but I was going to make the most of the opportunity!
The area surrounding the apts looked decent territory and I was out and about amongst the scrub at first light.I`m not going to bore you with endless lists of birds that I saw but I did manage one or two half decent images of the more common variety.Woodchat Shrike were plentifull, with many of these birds on passage to Africa.Hoopooe and Azure Winged Magpies although quite numerous, I found difficult to photograph at first but patience payed off in the end and I managed a few close ups!
There were some open spaces with scattered trees and amongst these were numerous finches feeding on the seedheads of dead flowers.Greenfinch and Linnet seemed abundant here but there were also a few different species which initially I was uncertain about.After a bit of research I found them out to be Serin and small parties of Common Waxbill.Serin are very similar to Siskin, but their distinct calls gave them away.A bird that was very familliar to me was the Northern Wheatear and these migrants were readilly found around the rocky landscapes,although losing their breeding plummage they still are an elegant bird!
These early morning saunters around the apts usually took a few hours but I was itching to get further afield with the camera.Only a few miles from were we stayed was a huge shopping centre called funnily enough`Algarve Shopping.`I just knew Lisa and Harriet would love to be dropped off there for the day as shopping is one of their favorite pasttimes.With this in mind plans were already being made for some serious birding of which I`ll tell you about in my next blog!!!

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