Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Limosa Tour to Portugal October 2015

Some photographs from a recent Limosa tour Portugal including finding a first for Portugal - a Booted Warbler.

Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata)
Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata)

Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata) Vale Santo Cape St Vincent

I was leading a Limosa Holidays tour to Portugal. João Jara from the Birds & Nature Tours Portugal was initially down as the first leader, but unfortunately had commitments elsewhere. On 6th October we were birding the south end of the Vale Santo when I spotted a very pale grey warbler. I pointed it out to my group but they were not over interested in it. I decided to quickly obtain shots of it for identification later, as the group was giving all the impressions of wanting to move on. Western Olivaceous Warbler seemed the obvious grey bird of choice. Even the possibility of Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata) floated through my mind. But I was just concentrating on getting shots not analysing the plumage. The bird was a fairly long looking warbler with a strong bill. There were some pale edgings to some of the secondaries and a broad pale supercilium, before and behind the eye, were about the only features I mentally noted at I was photographing it. The bird was flitting from bush to bush. Checking the photographic metadata I was photographing the bird between 3.01 to almost 3.15pm. We then explored the area a little to the north and saw the bird (at a distance) again in the same area at 3.50pm.

Further up the road we then bumped into a local birdwatcher Simon Wates at about 4.40pm, who only had time for a cursory look at the back of my camera photograph of the mystery Warbler, as he was busy guiding, and he suggested perhaps a grey Melodious, but he was trying to eliminate Western Olivaceous and was purely looked at the ground colour of the bird, not the whole bird. We passed several birdwatchers looking at the bird on our return later in the afternoon and I passed on (erroneously as it turned out) the information from Simon. It was not until later in the evening that I had a chance to study the photographs and it became instantly obvious the bird was a Booted Warbler or Sykes’s Warbler. A quick check of the Algarve Portugal Rare Birds facebook page revealed that the news had been put out as a Booted.

Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus weigoldi)
Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)
Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris borealis)
Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris borealis)
Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)