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Alentejo January/February Round-up

The opening two months of the year have seen us very busy planning tours for 2014, making website alterations and planning conservation projects.

Despite what has been a bit of a wet and windy period – unusual for a Portuguese winter – we have still run trips out into the field seeing a wide diversity of species.

A pleasing variety of wildfowl has been noted including some delightful Red-crested Pochard, while it is always pleasing to encounter a variety of herons and egrets with the huge Great White Egret seen on a few occasions, even the rare Bittern.

Wintering raptors recorded include Osprey, Red Kite, Buzzard, Marsh and Hen Harrier and Merlin, while White Storks are present and Common Cranes have been seen at some of our favoured locations.

Flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plover are the most numerous waders of an Alentejo winter, whilst Black-winged Stilt and both Common and Green Sandpipers have been seen with regularity at our hot spots.

Despite still being early in the year, we’ve encountered Swallows and House Martins, whilst Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Sardinian Warbler have been easy to find and view at leisure.

Small flocks of the scarce Thekla Lark have been located, while Serins and Spotted Starlings have been showing well.

The beginning of the spring is nowhere – which means summer migrants are on the way.

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