Sagres 2015 – the autumn begins

After several years visiting Sagres in the Algarve, Portugal, and spending far too much time on the Cabranosa, this year I’m working for the Strix Environmental Consultancy company that will once again record the birds along the peninsula during the autumn migration period.

So with blue skies, and warm sunshine in mid-August… the Portuguese autumn begins!

Predictably, early season is quiet, although there have been some stand out raptors – Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae and the odd Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus seen whilst driving across the peninsula, while Black Kite Milvus migrans and Honey Buzzard Pernis aprivorus appear in the skies.

Black Kite Milvus migrans Cabranosa, Sagres August 2015

One of the local specialities is Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus – this one appearing just above my recording position one day, but hovering in just the wrong place for a good photo!

Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus Barão de São João August 2015

Away from the birds of prey, it is fantastic to catch up with a few birds often missed during October… this Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris one of decent total seen on Cabranosa.

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris Cabranosa, Sagres August 2015

Due to being early season for the birding tourists, Cabranosa is quiet, hence Thekla Lark Galerida theklae and Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata show well, while the windy conditions of late provide opportunities to see Alpine Swift Apus melba and Pallid Swift A. pallidus moving slowly across the area.

Thekla Lark Galerida theklae Cabransosa, Sagres August 2015

Alpine Swift Apus melba Cabranosa, Sagres August 2015

It is also easier to see the Shrikes Lanius sp. at this time of year. Woodchat Shrike L. senator offering opportunities to see the species up close, whilst occasionally you can drop on Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta in the pines and find Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus and Western Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli on call.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator Barão de São João August 2015

Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta Cabranosa, Sagres August 2015

Whilst the birds are fun, Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius is showing well on the wing, while attracted to the lights – Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica …. one of the stunners attracted to the lights at the accommodation we are using.

Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius Barão de São João August 2015

Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica Loureiro, Algarve August 2015//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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