Bee-eaters, Hoopoes and Swallowtails

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Up until last week our visits had all been in the winter, but we decided we wanted to experience Olhão in the high season – jacarandasjust to see how busy, how warm and what difference it made in terms of bird watching.Strawberry tree

Well it wasn’t the true ‘high season’ but even in early May much much busier. Fortunately still manageable in Olhão probably because it

is not a tourist destination, although we wonder how more years will that last. It was definitely warmer, in fact we were there during a mini-heatwave, and as we’d hbougainvillea outside Olhaos music schoolalf expected we saw far fewer waders. It was though lovely to see them in their summer plumage and we did find more non-waders which was great.Fennel The early summer flora was as stunning as the winter flora, with more pinks and reds. Definitely helped by the stunning Algarvian blue skies which accompanied the sunshine. Insect life also felt as though it was more in abundance, but fortunately not too many of the biting variety apart from one episode! I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.
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meadow flowers

ButterfliesThe real highlights for me though were finally seeing a Hoopoe and Bee-eaters.  Both the Hoopoe and European Bee-eater Swallowtail Butterflyare migratory which is why we have not seen them before now.

We first saw the Hoopoe whilst sitting on our balcony, it flew past below and so had a wonderful view of its unique markings.  We then saw it again the following day in the scrub area around the saltpans.  The Bee-eaters we saw on the other side of Olhão towards the Rio Formosa park headquarters.  My photographs are not brilliant because I suddenly realised my legs were being bitten alive by insects in the long grass, and that was it the Bee-Eaters might be amazing but I valued my legs more!

Bee eaters
European Bee-eater

The warblers, wagtails and weavers were also more evident on this trip. Will we be back in May, definitely as long as it doesn’t get any busier. If it does then perhaps we will have to move to a quieter village for the early part of the high season.

Sardinian Warbler

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Author: BeckyB of Winchester

Talking about life, death, dementia and happiness.