Monday, April 24, 2017

Ticks and treats

It's been two weeks now since we arrived in Portugal. We are still working in northern Alentejo, based in Campo Maior. The weather is heating up, the grass is drying fast, and we need to find creative ways to stay focused and motivated to endure the long days in the field. New phenomena are the increasing amount of ticks we peel off, and the violent bee attacks we suffer. Living on the edge.

Work is going fine, but the birds seem to repeat themselves somewhat. So we seek for new playing fields in the little free time we have. Yesterday was our day off. We went to Alqueva dam which was quite a waste of time. We really did not see anything of interest, but we did add some trip ticks (or lifers for Dan and Re'a), such as Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Treecreeper, Egyptian Goose (boom!) and this stunning male Western Subalpine Warbler:

In the evening we tried for Red-necked Nightjar at Caia reservoir.  We heard one singing male in the distance, but couldn't connect with it. I am not satisfied yet with my encounters with this species. YET.

Another way to keep motivated is to try and improve my photos of the regular birds we encounter. Not easy when I'm always on foot, but at least I have lots of opportunities to try.

 Calandra Lark

The ubiquitous Corn Bunting - first one I bother to photo this year

Those eyes... 

An early morning stretch for this sweet Red-rumped Swallow: 

Sometimes when it gets especially slow, I do what European birders often do, and start paying attention to bird food, AKA butterflies. Dan enthuses me to try and ID them - he's really into that stuff.

Brown Argus

Iberian Marbled White

This evening I worked in an especially slow box. However there was a micro-fall of Northern Wheatears - 7 individuals! Bloody hell. This one actually did not perch on a fence! Just by a fence.

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