Another Migratory Passerine…..Garden Warbler

As an addition to my last post regarding Flycatchers During Migration, another small bird to keep a watch for during the autumn migration in Portugal is the Garden Warbler. It’s not a resident and can only be spotted as it passes through during migration. The Garden Warbler has no real features to identify it, therefore, if you spot an “LBJ” (Little Brown Job, the term given to many small birds difficult to ID) during the migration period then it maybe a Garden Warbler. They are quite shy and like to keep in the cover of branches so spotting them is quite difficult.

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Flycatchers During Migration

Although a lot of the attention is to the skies for the large flocks passing through, keep an eye out for the smaller birds you may see passing through.

Both the Pied and Spotted Flycatchers will be making their way through the Algarve on their way to the southern African regions.

The Spotted isn’t seen very often and the Pied is not resident, however, during the autumn migration both can be seen fairly easily as the pass through.

The male Pied flycatcher moults his breeding colours of Black and White and therefore will look similar to the female.


The Spotted Flycatcher is a little more brave than the Pied and can be seen perched out in the open.


A First For Me – A Garden Warbler Passing Through

The Garden Warbler is does not breed in the southern half of Portugal but can be seen in trees and bushes as a passing migrant. This morning I was trying to photograph some very eluding Robins that have arrived in the garden for the winter (for this month’s Algarve Resident article) and I spotted a bird foraging through the branches of an Oak Tree. Eventually, it popped out on to an exposed branch and I grabbed a quick shot before it disappeared.

The Garden Warbler is well known for being a bit plain-looking with no features and I wasn’t sure but thanks to friend and bird guru Frank McKlintock (Birding In Portugal) for the confirmation.

It’s always a good feeling when I get a first spot along with a photo. I’ve also spotted a pair of Black Caps in the garden too. I’ve seen many of these, but again, never in the garden. This year, I have thinned a lot of bushes and shrubs which have seemed to have attracted more birds.

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Kingfisher Project Is Back On, Plus A Few Other Birds

For those that Follow Me On Facebook will know that I have continued my Kingfisher Project due to the location of the autumn morning sun lighting a river pool. Whilst walking the dogs, we watched an adult female perched in amazing light on a tree branch, so can’t waste an opportunity like this. I positioned a perch and setup my popup hide yesterday and was at the river this morning. It didn’t quite go as planned as the Kingfisher didn’t use the perch. It seems as now the water level is so low, she prefers to perch higher up to be able to watch a larger area of water. I have now installed a high perch and will return tomorrow morning.

However, all was not lost, I was able to sit and watch this adult female diving and catching fish many times and on one occasion she came up with a Crayfish. I snapped these images. Notice the wet marks on the branch, this is where she was hitting the Crayfish to kill it before eating. I suspect this is “Princessa” that I photographed when she was a juvenile but as I can’t confirm this I am calling this girl Tufty due to her feathers on the back of her head sticking up. Not sure these are permanently like this or just because she was wet.


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Another Kettle Of Migrating Griffon Vultures

I was enjoying a late breakfast (ok it had gone 12pm, but it was a late night!!) in the garden when I looked up and a Kettle (collective name in flight) of Griffon Vultures were directly overhead and fairly low at that. There wasn’t as many birds as the Kettle a few weeks ago, there were around 50 birds. An amazing sight to watch them soaring with no effort.

Although these birds are en route to Africa, this Kettle came from the South and headed off in a North-Easterly direction.

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A Kettle of Migrating Griffon Vultures
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