Sagres Raptor Migration 2014

Records from the hill called Cabranosa in Sagres, Portugal.
All records are my own* due to timings of arrival.

October 5th

Arriving late afternoon. No migrant raptors.

October 6th

1 Black Kite, 2 Peregrine and 3 Kestrel.

Also Ringed Plover, Hoopoe, and Death’s Head Hawk-moth larvae.

October 7th

A little better, though raptor migration is very slow.

4-6 Short-toed Eagle, 9-13 Booted Eagle, 5 Sparrowhawk, 1 Black Kite, 6+ Kestrel. Also 2 Raven and local Chough flock to roost.

Clouded Yellow one of the few butterflies moving at the moment.

Clouded Yellow Colias crocea Sagres, Portugal October 2014

October 8th

57 Booted Eagle and 1 Black Kite. Noticeable increase of Booted Eagle arriving in the Sagres Peninsula, but otherwise very quiet on a day which saw several heavy showers covering a wide area.

Booted Eagles Aquila pennata Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Booted Eagle Aquila pennata Sagres, Portugal October 2014

October 9th

Heavy rain all day. No raptor recording took place.

October 10th

52-70 Booted Eagle, 2 Black Kite, 5 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Buzzard. Some new Booted Eagles into the peninsula today, also a Golden Eagle in but didn’t make it to Sagres, remaining to the north of the area. Hopefully the first of a selection of birds arriving. Its very quiet at the moment – but it is migration, this is how it works.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli Lagos, Portugal October 2014

Convolvulus Hawk-moth in Lagos

October 11th

Rain and thunderstorms dominated the day from around 9.00am with weather from the east making going out impossible. Clearing by mid-afternoon and then new storms coming in from the west. Tomorrow may be a washout, then just a case of seeing how long these weather systems linger before good weather arrives.

Few birds from Cabranosa late afternoon. Several Booted Eagle were around, including perhaps 5+ new arrivals drifting in. Also a Honey Buzzard which was maybe different to yesterday’s bird with a very pale rump area. 2 Short-toed Eagle and one Kestrel.

October 12th

Howling wind – with occasional heavy showers. No birding.

October 13th

Another cloudy day with rain on and off. 3 Booted Eagle sat in trees viewable from Cabranosa, with several Spotted and Pied Flycatchers in the immediate area.

Seawatching from 13.30-18.30 from Cape St Vincent produced: Shag – 1 south + several blogging, 1392 Gannet south, 60+ Cory’s Shearwater bloggin + 6 east, 4 Great Shearwater east, 42 Balearic Shearwater south, 2 Sooty Shearwater south, 45 Great Skua south, 20 Arctic Skua south, 3 Pomarine Skua south, 1 Audouin’s Gull south, 7 Lesser Black-backed south, 37 Sandwich Tern south, 1 Common Tern south, 20+ sterna sp south.

October 14th

Only present from 14-00-18.00 on Cabranosa.

20-40 Booted Eagle, 3 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Hen Harrier and one Sparrowhawk.

October 15th

Another quiet period on Cabranosa. 1 Osprey, 33-42 Booted Eagle, 5 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Black Kite, 2-4 Kestrel. Also 30+ Woodlark in the immediate area.

October 16th

Finally, some sunshine, and some new birds! 2 Black Stork, 1-2 Osprey, 29-38 Booted Eagle, 18-25 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Buzzard, 2 Black Kite, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3-6 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Raven.

A Cirl Bunting appeared briefly on Cabranosa and 15+ Woodlark were in the immediate area.

A 1st winter Pintail was at Martinhal on the lagoon. Photo by Paulo Alves

Anas acuta

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Yellow-legged Gull – Sagres harbour.

October 17th

A quieter day, with some birds leaving the bottleneck. 2 Black Stork, 1 Osprey, 19-22 Booted Eagle, 12-22 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Black Kite, 2+ Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 3 Kestrel, 2 Raven.

The Pintail remained at Martinhal, viewed on the sea off the bar, while 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and 9 Kentish Plover were on the lagoon, while 5 Spoonbill appeared almost at last night, and probably roosted.

Death's Head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos larvae Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

One of many Death’s Head Hawk-moth caterpillars.

October 18th

A change of wind direction saw some birds move into the peninsula, a sign of better things to come. 10 Black Stork, 18+ Booted Eagle, 10+ Short-toed Eagle, 2 Black Kite, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 3 Kestrel, 2-3 Raven.

Also 6 Woodlark and a noticeable increase in Crag Martin number.

Overnight migration records in Lagos involved 30 Blackbird and 46 Song Thrush from 00.30-02.00

Black Stork Ciconia nigra Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

October 19th

Favourable winds saw a good number of birds enter the recording area, with plenty of birds making their way to Sagres. 17 Black Stork, 2 Egyptian Vulture, c200 Griffon Vulture, 1 Ruppell’s Vulture, 24 Booted Eagle, 13 Short-toed Eagle, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Buzzard, 1 Black Kite, 1+ Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 4+ Kestrel, 2 Raven. 7 Woodlarks remained close to Cabranosa, and there was a noticeable movement of Wagtails with 36+ flava, 2 Grey Wagtail and 7 White Wagtail moving NW late on.

October 20th

Cabranosa magic – winds prevented the Griffon flock leaving the SW tip of the peninsula, which meant several hours with plenty of birds low in the sky. 15 Black Stork, 3 Egyptian Vulture, c300-320 Griffon Vulture, 3 Ruppell’s Vulture, 20+ Booted Eagle, 16-20 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Black Kite, 1 Peregrine, 1 Hobby, 1 Merlin, 4+ Kestrel, 1 Raven. 4 Grey Heron flew south west late pm.

Ruppell's Vulture Gyps rueppellii Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

Booted Eagle Aquila pennata Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2014

A Richard’s Pipit flew west over Lagos around 01.00 with thrushes and small numbers of Meadow Pipits also noted.

October 21st

A quiet afternoon on Cabranosa as temperatures soared. The main Griffon flock disappeared, taking with them many of the birds. 4 Egyptian Vulture, 18 Griffon Vulture, 9 Booted Eagle, 13 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Bonelli’s Eagle, 1 Honey Buzzard, 3 Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 2-4 Kestrel.

An Olive-backed Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler were found in the immediate Cabranosa vicinity early morning, but searching during the afternoon only yielded a pipit sp, a Firecrest, Redstart and both Spotted and Pied Flycatcher, and 2 Pallid Swift were noted.

October 22nd

Another warm day on Cabranosa. A nice diversity of species, until the curse of the Griffon Vultures struck – once they go, everything is sucked out of Sagres! 1 Black Stork, 4-5 Egyptian Vulture, 80-88 Griffon Vulture, 8-13 Booted Eagle, 10-14 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Bonelli’s Eagle, 1 Hen Harrier, 2+ Sparrowhawk, 1-2 Peregine, 2-3 Hobby, 3+ Kestrel

The Olive-backed Pipit showed well late afternoon.

Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni Cabranosa, Sagres Portugal October 2014

The final day also featured the incredible spectacle of Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii movement. Roughly 69,500 per minute were moving over 1km up to a height of  2 metres – or 300,000+ per minute across the same area up to a height of 10 metres! With many, many more above that. The sky was full of Sympetrum.

* totals are personal sightings. An environmental consultancy company  compiles daily records as part of a project which are more accurate than those listed here.

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