28 February 2010 | Near Lagos
Ju from Little Else is an enthusiastic bird watcher and has been involved at A Rocha assisting with species counts since arriving in the Algarve. A Rocha is an environmental centre studying local wildlife and open to schools for nature trails etc. On Thursday mornings they carry out bird ringing and the public can attend to watch, coffee and nice cakes are provided. Ju always takes a party from the marina each year but as I had missed it she kindly took me later.
It was a beautiful, sunny day we caught the train to Mexilohoeeira and walked up the hill to A Rocha in time for coffee. Ju showed me round the grounds where they set up the nets to trap the birds. After coffee we watched the ringing, three birds were caught, a robin, sparrow and greenfinch. The birds are measured, examined to see their general health and weighed. If necessary they are ringed or if already done then just noted.
After that we set off to the salt marsh to do a spot of bird watching and have a picnic. It was great being with someone who can identify birds from appearance and song, I know lots but can only name them if they are quite still! Ju was hoping we would see an osprey and owls which are often around. Apparently if you are around at the right time of year Bee eaters and flamingos are about. We saw egrets, grey herons, oyster catchers, crested skylarks, chiff chaffs, stonechats, stints, magpies, wagtails, kestrels and a kingfisher. The best bit was when I finally got my eye in and saw a group of about a dozen spoonbills. There were also butterflies about - red admirals and brimstones.
I took Ju for a pint in the Amuras as a thank you.