Monday, 18 June 2012

monday 11th june last day on Sal

A final walk in the dunes was pleasant before finding Iago sparrow feeding young.
On cue greater hoopoe lark was scouring the vegetation looking for food.
Finally Kentish plovers obliged as I  made my way back .Not a bad weeks birding
21 species recorded and 3 Lifers.
Iago sparrow,Cape Verde Swift and Black faced finch lark.
2,025 species to date.

Cape Verde birding in the dunes

Sunday 10th of June 0700HRS walking the malpais and rocky ground south of the hotel.
I follow the beach for half a mile and see nothing.As I approached Ponta Preta four
Whimbrel are calling overhead and land on the beach.
I  manage a shot before the dogs scare them off.
At the rear of the restaurant no sign of yesterdays Kentish plovers.Even the dogs avoid me
as I walk in the dunes.
A pair of Greater Hoopoe Lark oblige I find these birds fascinating only seeing them
in the desert like habitat in Eilat ,Israel many years ago  I still  recalled their song.The
now ubiqutous Black faced finch lark was showing well today and in flight 2 Turnstones flew
over the dunes.
Spent the morning around the pool in the sunshine and on on route to the bar saw Alexanders
Kestrel once more.

After lunch its warmer the blue sky is endless not a cloud in sight,1700 an afternoon
stroll in the dunes for an hour.

An evening in Santa Marie the local town a local band is playing in the street. A meal
at the Odjo Agua hotel where fillet Mignon with Mateus rose all for 70 Euros with fellow
holiday makers ended our last night in Sal.

Another windy day on Sal Cape Verde

Saturday 9th of June got up 0700hrs made tea before another windy day commenced at
near Villa Verde the hotel complex adjacent to our hotel.
Made  my way to Ponta Preta near the restaurant I managed some shots of Kentish Plover
holding territory.
It's not quite Dungeness here not enough birds,but certainly its bleak,the wind increased as I
 found it hard to track down birds.But saw 2 Greater hoopoe larks in the distance and started
tracking them.Eventually caught them in displayn flight I was well pleased.
Next up a family of Bar tailed desert larks with juvs constituted a breeding record.

Time was moving on as I ambled back for breakfast,while round the pool Cape Verde swift
flew over and House Martin.After lunch watched Holland lose to Denmark with the Dutch
air stewardesses its a hard life.

Cape Verde Sal Ponta Preta

Friday the 8th of June morning walk in the dunes around O800hrs,larking around you might say.
Of note a horse grazes on sparse vegetation in the dunes behind the Ponta Preta restaurant.
Still trying to get a perfect shot of Black faced finch lark.
At last not a bad effort,tried nearer the sand dunes and got bar tailed desert lark and greater
hoopoe lark before the dogs came running from the Quad bike area near the restaurant.

The  greater hoope larks gave me much pleasure as they raced around the dunes like road runners.
Also of note Kentish Plovers were holding territory in the dunes and are probably breeding along
with the larks as they are all displaying an singing.
A swallow flew over the hotel later today.

Cape Verde Pedre de Lume and island highlights

Thursday 7th of June got up 0700hrs tea, then Sidie Mamadu picked me up at 0800hrs.
We headed towards the airport and Pedre de Lume the roads were empty.
Along the road a few Short toed larks obliged and Rock dove be it feral pigeon.
Just outside Pedre de Lume 2 Cream coloured Coursers showed from the road.
The Salinas at Pedre de Lume carried a 5 Euro admission I was early hoping to see
waders before the tourists turn up in numbers later.I walked down in to the volcanic crater
where a few waders obiged be it distant.Black winged stilts ,Sanderling and a pair of Kentish
plovers showed well.
The tour continued to Espargos the capital of Sal where we drove to a view point above the town.
Splendid  panoramic views before leaving for Palmeria its harbour  where in the harbour the
locals buy and sell their catch.
Next up the long dusty track through scattered acacia and desert like terrain towards the
imposing Mount Leao,a small hill at the end of Murderia bay.

I looked in vain for Tropic bird of note was Plain martin around Mount Leaos crags.
Sidie found me  a Greater Hoopoe Lark panting in the heat on the ground.
We returned to the hotel around noon a quick tour of Sal.

Cape Verde continued

On  Wednesday the 6th of June 08oohrs walked the malpais immediately Alexander's
Kestrel obliged this sub species of Kestrel is soon to be split as a seperate species I am
led to believe.This bird gave good photographic opppurtunities as  it sat for
a while then flew in to the dunes.Then it posed again in the grass before moving off.
The larks still proved difficult in the prevailing winds.
At sea two Brown Boobys was a bonus followed by Cattle Egret in flight and at rest
Returned to the hotel a cloudy day ensued,I booked a  taxi to visit the Salinas at Pedre de
Lume for the following morning at 0830 hrs.

CAPE VERDE Birding on Sal

Monday 4th of June checked in 0840hrs for our flight to Sal.
We arrived around 1330hrs local time 2hrs ahead of GMT. Cleared customs and got on the bus
to the Melia Tortuga.
The only bird of note was the endemic Iago sparrow.Checked in had a few beers.
Tuesday 5th of June woke up around 0700hrs,a quick cup of tea before leaving the hotel.
The chittering of Iago sparrow started my walk before the malpais like habitat stretched out in front
of me,marram like grass interspersed with lava like rock.
I was soon viewing Bar tailed Desert Lark,although the perpetual wind made viewing and
photography difficult.It was then Black faced Finch larks began their aerial display to attract females.
I was only distracted by a call of a Quail,to my surprise in the middle of the grassy tracks sat an
Osprey in full view.

I photographed it untill it flew off and banked along the beach,it resettled at some distance as I
reluctantly made my way back for breakfast.At 1045hrs four Brown necked Ravens flew over the
complex.At 1630 hrs walked the malpais again heard Quail again and added House martin
and Cape Verde Swift .

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Little Bittern on the River Colne

Well its been a while and the weather and a holiday has increased my blog absence.
I have just returned from Cape Verde to see a Little Bittern had been seen on the Colne at
Stockers lake.So when it was relocated a phone call from Joan Thomson had Lewis and I
on our way.Photo by  Paul Leppert  taken on the 11th of June.
We parked in Field Way and walked along the river,near the first island in the river we
had quick in flight views.Quite a crowd had gathered,Joan,Lee Evans,Laptop and Sharpy
to name but a few.I believe it was a Brit tick for me and a lifer for Lewis.