Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Birds

Although there were no new ticks on the bird life-list, we nevertheless saw quite a few birds during our stay in the Algarve. Among the most common and certainly the most vocal, were the Azure-winged Magpies or Az-Mags for short (Cyanopica cyanus). True to form, they were keeping well away from us and frustratingly far from the camera lens.
A much smaller bird was seen flitting about in the trees. This one has several names, the most 'user-friendly' being the Streaked Fan-tailed Warbler. It also goes by the name Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis). Even more difficult to photograph, they are well camouflaged and very small and this one, was far more keen on preening than posing for photographs.
The Zitting Cisticola is the most Northerly member of the Cisticola family which otherwise confine themselves to more tropical climes of Africa. This one seemed quite comfortable in the sunshine of southern Portugal.
The third of today's birds is a non native which also hails from Africa but which has colonised large swathes of southern Europe. The Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild).  Just a little smaller than a Sparrow, they have a bright red streak across their eyes and waxy, red bill - from which it gets its name.
These little charmers were twittering about in the bushes outside our villa.
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