Birding

An hours birding in the saltpans

Even on a quiet Winter's day there is plenty to see and photograph

Regular readers will know that one of the main reasons we return again and again to Olhão is the birding out on the saltpans. The saltpans are just a few minutes walk from the apartment, and so perfect for a stroll after breakfast or before dinner. Some days we’re overwhelmed by the number and range of birds, other days are quiet and nothing new to see. All of these shots were taken over a period of just one hour on a quiet day. So whilst not a great session for my ‘birder’ husband I had a fun time experimenting with bird portraits. dscn9396

Generally the waders congregate in groups and are wary of humans, so without a hide or full camouflage outfit taking close-ups and portrait photographs isn’t always that easy. My wader photographs tend to consist of lots of brown birds against a brown background. Adequate for identification purposes but not much else!dscn9416

This hour though was a good sessions for close-ups, enabling us to appreciate their individual beauty. They might be ‘birds of a feather’, they might all be very brown in winter but up close they are beautiful and unique even ‘Willy Wicket’!

And it wasn’t just waders and gulls that were frequenting the saltpans. There were small birds flitting about in the shrubs either side of the paths. They never paused long but two did stop just long enough for me to take their portrait.

Unfortunately from a birding and wildlife photography perspective the council have lots of plans for this area. Whilst I agree the area in front of the hotel should be redeveloped, the gardens by the market should definitely be left alone as should the estuary area beyond the hotel. Some call this area bleak (see link above) however I cannot see how another marina full of boats that never move will be any better. Certainly won’t add to the beauty of the Ria Formosa, and worse the development will impact on the feeding grounds for all these birds. I’m hoping when we return in the next couple of weeks there won’t have been any significant change yet, but the clock is ticking both for the neglected areas beloved by wildlife and for the gardens beloved by tourists and locals alike. dscn9400

PS So did you spot in the gallery which wader once had the nickname ‘Willy Wicket’? Such a great name.

10 comments on “An hours birding in the saltpans

  1. I like ‘real’ photographs of wildlife – those taken as you actually see it and not in any way staged. Sometimes you get lucky and you get a pose too – I really like your last image of Black-headed gulls where you got the light shining through the wings of the one in flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Theresa . . .I have so many ‘real’ photographs and never know quite what to do with them as most seem to prefer staged. I’m like you though I like lots too.

      And thanks so much . . that was a lucky shot!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Olá Becky,
    beautiful photos and again well explained!
    We both love the same places in Olhão.

    Greetings from Würzburg

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bom dia Markus
      Muito obrigada!
      So pleased you like those spots too . . . one day we will be there at the same time hopefully so can go birding/photographing together!
      Hope all is well in Würzburg.
      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love bird photography, Becky, when it’s good. Your photos are good. My photography of them isn’t as good although I do take quite a nifty duck!😃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. such wonderful captures! I love that last one in flight 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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