And by “birding”, I don’t mean going on the pull in some sleazy nightery on The Strip in Albufeira.
Never having been on a holiday whose prime, if not sole, objective was staring at as many different and hopefully new avian creatures as possible, my expectations were unclear. However, having been here for two full days now, it’s becoming apparent that I’d underestimated the area’s potential. Without boring my audience (you know who you are) with a list of every species that we’ve seen (already over 30, with very little effort), suffice to say that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Apart from things that don’t appear very often in the UK, unless they’re blown off course by a severe Siberian draught, there are species that you’d have to make some effort to see.
Consider, for example, watching Redshank, Little Stint, Little Egret, Turnstones, Terns of unidentified variety, Sanderlings and others along a 150-metre stretch of river bank, being accompanied by a saxophonist of limited ability and imagination. Well, such is Tavira, the town that we’re staying in for our first 3 nights. (The 150-metres of river bank is directly outside our hotel!)
A ten-minute walk took us to a place where Flamingoes hob-nobbed with Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Greenshanks and more of the above mentioned birds.
A 15-minute drive up the coast to Cabanas saw even more variety, with Hoopoes, Spoonbills, Redstarts, Crested Larks, Blackcaps, Cetti’s Warblers and more parading themselves before our eager binoculars. (There were 2 or 3 other types of warblers, but I’m hopeless at telling them apart.)
Tomorrow will see us on an accompanied trip with experienced local birders, so we’ll hopefully see some even more unusual birds. I’m hoping for some Storks, Cranes and a Bluethroat, but I’m not holding my breath. Given what we’ve already seen there can’t be much left…