Portugal 2013

In September 2013 I joined Northamptonshire Ringing Group ringers John Woollett and Helen Franklin in a 10 day ringing expedition to Portugal.  Here we met up with other British ringers in an effort to assist with migration studies on the coastal reserve of San Andre.  As a contingent we set up a ringing station and a variety of nets in a reed-bed and the edge of some scrub.  As the habitat changed specific wader nets were also erected.

San Andre is positioned on the west coast of Portugal, south of Lisbon and is ideally positioned to attract south-bound migrants from northern and western Europe en-route to Africa.  Ringers in Portugal are in short supply so this annual arrangement provides an opportunity of properly recording some of the birds passing through the site as well as providing British ringers with an opportunity of processing good numbers of birds and handling species generally scarce in the UK.

As well as ringing, efforts were made to try and encapsulate the numbers of all species using the reserve on a daily basis in a similar manner to a bird observatory.

International controls (birds ringed elsewhere and captured at San Andre) included a Willow Warbler and a Reed Warbler from the UK, a Sedge Warbler from Belgium, a Willow Warbler from Norway and a Reed Warbler from Sweden.  In addition colour-ringed Spoonbills and a Glossy Ibis were seen and recorded.

The most numerous species caught were Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and Willow Warbler, but most days saw us catching other warblers in the shape of Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler and Savi's Warbler.  Pied Flycatchers were frequently numerous with smaller numbers of Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Redstart, Bluethroat and Nightingale.  Scarcer birds included Nightjar and Wryneck.

Waders were numerous but were hard to catch but we managed to ring small numbers of Redshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and singles of Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and Little Stint.

We broke up our ringing sessions with short periods of sea-watching and general birding, with one day exploring an area further inland where we located Great Bustard, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Lesser Kestrel etc.

Below are some images from the trip...



Leucistic Reed Warbler


Melodious Warbler


Putative Iberian Chiffchaff


Dark-breasted Barn Owl

Glossy Ibis


Collared Dove

Lesser Kestrel

Cattle Egret

Black-shouldered Kite

Cetti's Warbler


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