Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Portugal - 27.10.12

The best I could manage of the stunning Azure-Winged Magpies

As my son had been dropping lots of un-subtle hints about having never been on a plane before my good old mum booked us all 5 days in the Algarve for half-term. So early Saturday morning myself, Carey, my son and my mum were at Luton airport freezing to death waiting for the shuttle bus to take us from the car park to the airport. While waiting 32 Fieldfare flew over. Shortly after 3pm and we had arrived at Faro airport in 22 degrees and were sweating with all our winter clothes on! During the journey to our hotel (about 30 mins drive) a White Wagtail was seen on a small pool next to the airport and near the hotel a Green Woodpecker (see below!) flew away from us but it was a bird on the roadside that got me excited as there briefly was my first ever AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE! What I hadn't realised that the hotel we were staying at (Formosa Park hotel + apartments near Almancil) was on the western edge of the Parque Natural Da Ria Formosa! During the stay I saw around 50 Azure-Winged Magpies between the hotel and the San Lorenzo golf course a couple of miles to the east. They showed very well in large groups even from the balcony when going to roost but they were very fidgety and getting a good photo proved impossible with my little camera through my bins. Aside from the glorious magpies a quick walk through the small wood to the beach produced mainly stuff that I could see back home. That was until a female Serin briefly showed in a pine. Another Green Woodpecker then perched up long enough to note that it looked different facially than the birds back home in having a lack of black around the eyes with only a thin black line bordering the red moustache. Admittedly i'd not bothered looking up any local gen so when I looked at my Collin's guide I realised I had seen an Iberian Green Woodpecker ssp sharpei!!

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