Day 2, 15th May 2011
A visit to the Castro Marim area today. An excellent area of marshland with salt pans, pools, scrub and crop fields just north of Vila Real De Santo Antonio on the Spanish/Portuguese border and the River Guadiana. There is a huge visitors centre here but it is closed on Sunday so we did not get a chance to see inside and look closely at the large lagoon it overlooks.The first montagu's harrier of the trip was seen as we arrived on site quickly follwed by red rumped swallow, woodchat and southern grey shrike, hoopoe, bee eaters,pallid swift, zitting cisticola,serin, red legged partridge, azure winged magpie and common magpie and lots of corn buntings,
A good selection of waders were feeding on the saltpans with 3 collared pratincoles, 5 little stints, dunlin, 18 curlew sands with some in full summer plumage, ringed, little ringed and kentish plovers, black winged stilts, avocets,grey plover, a knot,common sandpiper and best of all a nice temmincks stint.
A montagu's harrier floated over the salt pans and flushed all the waders while little terns plunged in the pools feeding. A short toed eagle appeared above being mobbed by a buzzard with black kites nearby.
Red crested pochard, gadwall, mallard, coot and moorhen
An Iberian hare was in the car park as we pulled in and crested larks, zitting cisticolas and stonechat sang in the bushes and a snake of some sort scurried across the road as we drove off.