I head off before sunrise to try and catch a glimpse of this wonderful part of the year around Aljezur. Started by the riverside in the road to Amoreira, to submerge myself in the early morning echos of bird calls and songs. It proved to be a wise choice. Most the expected local forest birds made themselves noticed, as well as some new arrivals like Yellow Wagtail, Subalpine Warbler, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers. Azure-winged Magpies were very busy, and a hand full of Turtle Doves was seen on tree tops, while a hidden Golden Oriole called in the back.
In a pine patch, all 4 species of Tits, and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were quite active. As I has watching the woodpeckers, a flock of about 20 Long-tailed Tits literally passed through me, and went to feed on black berries just about 2 m from me, ignoring me completely. It was the highlight of the morning.
The mud banks revealded small numbers of Greenshank, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Wimbrel and Dunlin, along with 2 Avocets. When I left Amoreira road, I had already detected 55 species of birds.
A little up North in Rogil plains, a Short-toed Eagle hovered near the shoreline, a juvenile Little Owl was resting in an old house, and a Carrion Crow (quite rare in the Algarve) has calling on top of a Pine tree.
In Ponta da Atalaia – the local headland – the wind was blowing quite strong and steady from the North, the sun was already quite high, and all was quiet. But a quick 10 min seawatching session produced 3 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua, besides the usual Cory’s Shearwaters and immature Gannets.
Back in Monte Clérigo beach, a single Jackdaw cruising by was #70 as I parked the van. It was without a doubt a morning well spent. Aljezur region may not be the most accessible region of the Algarve for birdwatchers (and definitely one of the least explored) and presents it´s challenges, but it has a bit of everything, and has a way of making it worth your while.