It's that time of year again!

Barn Swallows-9948.jpg

Summer's drawing to a close; the Barn Swallows have gone, our local Bee-eaters too, (dead on time within a day or two of 31st August as usual), and the Eurasian Golden Orioles that nested in the Quinta's gardens this summer left yesterday. The temperature's dropped down to a balmy 35º and yesterday morning it even felt as if it could rain for an hour or two ... it'd be nice if it did so that beautiful patina of green would peek through on the roadsides again. Well, it won't be long now ...

Black-winged Kite fledgelings-9755.jpg

We've had a busy summer and've been birding throughout - except that is, funnily enough, when Carolina and I went to the UK for the Birdfair, (more of which further down the page), and we've managed to see and photograph some great species as usual.

I get the feeling it's been a good breeding season - even if a bit late due to the adverse Spring weather. The result has been loads of juveniles of all species, like the Black-winged Kites above or the Red-legged Partridges below, and certainly all the Barn Swallows around the house fledged their first clutches successfully without the snakes being active enough to take out the usual one or two nests, and the latter have been noticeable by their absence during the summer as well. 

Red-legged Partridge with  chicks-7678.jpg

Of course there are other predators always waiting to have a go ... I'd heard from friends how aggressive Water Rails were, but had never witnessed their pugnacious killer instinct first hand until July when this one tried to kill a half-grown Moorhen almost as big as itself. The Moorhen survived the attack, and, as an aside, the next couple who used our Water Rail Hide said they saw the exact reverse the next day, with the adult Moorhen trying to kill the Water Rail fledgeling - which also survived!

Water Rail attacking Moorhen chick-7101.jpg

Speaking of the Water Rail Hide, I spent some enjoyable mornings down there over the summer photographing Common Kingfishers ... they're fast diving ...

Common Kingfisher diving-7805.jpg

...and are up again in a flash too ...

Common Kingfisher rising-7817.jpg

... so it's nice when they sit still for a bit. This one regurgitating shows that it'd been gorging on the crayfish in the river.

Common Kingfisher regurgitating-7990.jpg

However, I was incredibly lucky - and pleased as punch - to get this shot of a Kingfisher as it flew over the top of a Water Rail. 

Common Kingfisher with Water Rail-7881.jpg

Both species are hard to see at the best of times, but it was just a shame the shot above was in the shade - not a usual problem when photographing Zitting Cisticolas ...

Zitting Cisticola-0080.jpg

... or Sardinian Warblers posing nicely in among the flowers.

Sardinian Warbler in pink flowers-6994.jpg

Posers this summer also included this Little Owl ...

Little Owl-2.jpg

... and this Common Waxbill,

Common Waxbill-7754.jpg

but 1st prize must go to this Eurasian Jay. They're normally such a shy bird around here but the one below gave us a lovely view when it caught this terrapin.

What else? Oh, yes, the Birdfair Raffle. As normal we ran our raffle at the Birdfair, the first prize of which is a week's accommodation for two in one bedroom at the Quinta between mid March and mid July 2019 or mid September and the end of October this year or next. The second and third prizes are three mid-week nights in the same place during the same periods. All the lucky winners have to do is email me from the same email address they submitted at the Birdfair and we'll take it from there, so congratulations Rosemary Sargent who won first prize - but I'm afraid that Mark H and Mark M didn't claim their prize so I're-drawn it and the winner's names are on the Blog posted on the 15th September.

Eurasian Jay with terrapin-6820.jpg

 

Birding in Portugal

Quinta do Barranco da Estrada
7665-880 Santa Clara a Velha
Portugal

Email :
Phone : +351 283 933 065
Mobile : +351 938 386 326

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Santa Clara-a-Velha Portugal

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