Birdwatching in Portugal: A story of our guests.
“…. Almost every morning the hoopoe (Upupa epops) with orange crest ” black and white banded wings comes along the house and it’s fun to see how he fights against his reflection in the window. “
Some birds around:
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Southern Grey Shrike
Martin Zorgdrager, a student from Zaandam (The Netherlands), wrote us the following report, after spending a holiday at No Campo.
The cottage No Campo is located in an oasis of peace, between olive groves and cork oak trees.
There is plenty of nature to enjoy for all kinds of nature lovers, there are wild boars and numerous birds, lizards, insects and butterflies.
Below, you find a selection of the many birds that occur in the area:
The beautiful Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) is a regular breeder in the little valley of cork oaks near to the cottage and can often and easily be watched. The Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator) breeds near the house ,throughout spring and summer it is there for you to see. The Woodchat is identified by its dark colored head and lots of black and white in the wings.
The Cuckoo (Canorus cuculus) can be heard every day, and “breeds” in the orchard near the oak grove. It does this by laying its egg in the nest of another bird, which will, mistaking it for its own egg hatch it and will feed the chicken. Throughout the area we find the Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor), which has the same dimensions as a “normal” starling , but is completely black. The beginning of the unpaved road to No Campo is the territory of a Little Owl (Athene noctua), you can often spot it perching boldly and prominently near piles of cork bark, as this owl is active during the daytime. In the evening from the terrace of the house you will hear the ‘HOEoehoeh’ of the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo).
Along the road between Grândola and Alcácer exists a large colony of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) that live in the pine trees and stay until June each year. This heron is white, apart from a few orange breast feathers and head and is rare in most parts of Europe. As their name suggests, Cattle Egrets tend to associate with livestock as the animals’ hooves disturb invertebrate prey.
In the wider area you will find the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), this big black and white bird has a distinctive red beak and legs. These birds are often seen on high tension electric poles or towers where they build their nests. If the bird is on an updraught of warm air, high in midair, it is easily confused with a large bird of prey.
One of the most spectacular birds is the Azure-Winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus).Though not a common bird-in Europe it is found only in Portugal and parts of Spain-you will immediately recognize it by the long bright blue tail and wings and black head with white throat.
The exotic colorful Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is not to be missed in the area. The bird often perches on telephone wires near the sandy cliffs, into which it digs burrows to nest. Among the small birds that live in and around the orchard we might recognize the Crested Tit (Parus cristatus), the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Corn Bunting (Miliarria calandra), Cirl (Emberiza citrinella), Serin (Serinus Serinus), Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) and Crested Lark (Galerida cristata).
In the nearby lagoon (Lagoa) de Santo André spring offers the opportunity to admire both Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) and Tern (Sterna sandvicensis), with their characteristic yellow tipped black bill. Along the shore you might see the bright yellow Iberian Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae), or hear the loud “tsipp” of the Streaked Fantail Warbler (Cisticola juncidis) or just try to distinguish between the small Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrius) and the Gray Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)and the three-toed Stint (Calidris alba).