A Quick Hunt For A Bluethroat Paid Off!

This morning I was shooting some Real Estate photography (see my other venture FotoSul) and decided to make a long morning of photography. I was at Ferragudo before sunrise in the hope that the clouds would clear as promised, they didn’t (A blog coming later on this!) and I even ended up dodging the rain. I still had an hour to waste before meeting my Real Estate Agent client in Praia da Luz so I headed to the wetlands near Alvor in hope of finding a Bluethroat.

During the summer months, they are high up in the northern parts of the world and come south for the winter. In the Algarve, they can be spotted in many of the wetlands on the south coast.

I was driving down the very muddy track to the wetlands when I spotted a Bird of Prey, probably a Marsh Harrier, so I stopped the car and set the camera up. I was shooting in full Manual mode and was ready for an action shot when I noticed a Bluethroat around 20 meters away. Without time to adjust the camera, I quickly grabbed a shot before it flew. I was not expected a great shot, but considering how underexposed the shot is I got bit lucky.

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Greater Flamingos

The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the largest of the Flamingo family and can be easily spotted in the Algarve and other locations in Portugal. They can be spotted all year round but they do not nest in Portugal. The birds found in Portugal nest in various locations including Spain, France, Italy, Turkey and Northern African countries. However, they are not classed as true migratory birds as they don’t follow strict migration patterns.

In the Algarve, there are a few locations that you can get up and close to these large birds. Ria Formosa and Alvor Estuary (on the north side of the sea opening) are two great locations to view them.

In this month’s article in the Algarve Resident I will explain further details but for now, here are a couple of photos I took yesterday.

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Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus
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Greater Flamingos of the Algarve

Yesterday myself and partner took a trip to Ria de Alvor. Although it was for a picnic and for me to Kayak around the fantastic estuary at Alvor (video here if you are interested), I took my camera and 300mm lens (remembering that my 500mm is still out for repair).

Ria de Alvor is a nature reserve and home to many different birds including the Greater Flamingo.

The adult Flamingos were not in a great position and difficult to get to photograph, however, some of the younger birds were very close to the paths. I also had a 1.7x Teleconverter with me to take the 300mm to 500mm and although the quality isn’t as great as the 500mm lens, still a good backup.

As you can see, they are not pink!?!? Greater Flamingo’s plumage only turn pink after a few years as an adult, these youngsters are yet to turn.

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(Young) Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus

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