At the beginning of this week it was too hot to go for walks in the hills and so we enjoyed daily evening strolls in the salterns. Not only was the light lovely and the birds amazing but, seems unbelievable now given the strong winds, the air was still. Which meant I was able to have fun the camera. All birds look great in this light as does the salt mountain! However my favourites for reflection poses have to be the Sheldrakes and the Black-Winged Stilts.

The Black-Winged Stilts in particular are unmissable partly because of their fabulous silhouette shape but mostly because of the amount of noise they make. The number of times I have asked them to be quiet! Just listen to this recording, taken as always from the excellent Xeno-Cano site.

I always forgive them though in the end as they are such fun to photograph.

Just look at those incredibly long legs. I know I have mentioned their legs before, Just compare to the other waderbut not sure I’ve ever told you that their leg-body ratio is the highest of all the birds. Just compare the stilt in this photograph to the other wader. I know Dunlins are smaller but it’s the same depth of water and the Dunlin is almost swimming. No wonder the Portuguese call Black-Winged Stilts ‘pernilonga’ – long pins. The Spanish also have a fabulous name for them  – ‘cigueñela’  – which aptly reflects they are like miniature White Storks. Don’t you agree?

White Stork

The ‘big version’ of the Black Winged Stilts, a European White Stork!

By the way these salterns (salt-works) are still active. The salt being produced here won’t be flor de sal as the ‘ponds’ are large and open to the general public. It also will not be not sal tradicional as the salt is collected by machinery rather than by hand with wooden rakes. It possibly is sold as sal do mar after cleaning and processing but I must admit we don’t really know! Despite our lack of knowledge with what happens to the salt, we enjoy observing what happens in the salterns. And most importantly of course they are excellent feeding grounds for waders.