It was mid-March and took the afternoon to look at the ground searching for wild orchids – it is definitely the best way to overlook birds. But let´s be honest, those little beauties are amazing.
I went to explore the Barrocal area around Espiche, Barão de S. João and Bensafrim. In the end I reckon I saw 8 species of wild orchids. The most numerous were Orchis lutea, followed by Ophrys speculum and Ophrys bombyliflora. Some other interesting ones were Anacamptis morio and Serapias parviflora. However, there were more than orchids around, and In the middle of the already colorful assembly of Rock Roses, some specialties were Scilla peruviana, Muscari neglectum or Linaria amethystea. There were not many butterflies around, the star of the afternoon being a very cooperative Green Hairstreak Callophys rubi.
The following day the birds were back on the menu (so to speak). We set out to explore the area North of Portimão to the border with Monchique county, and East to Silves and Lagoa. The highlights of this rewarding sunny day were scattered flocks of Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus everywhere there was water, a pair of displaying Goshawks Accipiter gentillis around Monchicão, 8 Purple Swamphens Porphyrio porphyrio at a small abandoned rice field, a distant Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus in a private dam, and a flock of 40 Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber at Alvor Estuary.
And of course the beautiful places we visited, like the Odelouca Stream at Laranjeira, and some riparian woods. At the end of the day I had nice list of 80 species, from which arriving breeding birds were still largely absent – apart form the already large number of Swallows and Hoopoes. In two weeks time, everything will have changed. Once more.