An orchestra of Avocets

Every few minutes the 'orchestra' suddenly launched into the sky, swooping round and calling to each other, it was an extraordinary sight to watch and also to hear. No wonder we keep returning again and again to this part of the Algarve.

Usual group size, not what I'd call an orchestra
Typical size of group we see

Whilst it is not uncommon to observe small groups of Pied Avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta) in the saltpans around Olhão, we don’t tend to see what I would be happy to call a ‘orchestra’. Well that all changed last week. We assume they were gathering prior to the next stage of their journey to their breeding grounds as this medium sized ‘orchestra’ was only here for a few days. I say medium-sized as colonies can be up to 150 in numbers, which this one clearly wasn’t. An ‘orchestra’ is the collective noun for a group of Avocets.

Wonderful to watch as every few minutes the ‘orchestra’ suddenly launched into the sky, swooping round and calling to each other. Was really like watching and listening to an ‘orchestra’ in flight. Quite extraordinary. I don’t have the necessary audio equipment to capture their call but here is a recording by Peter Boesman from the excellent xeno-catro website to accompany my photographs.

Avocet (2)Their Portuguese name is Alfaiate, and they are a coastal wader of the same faily as the Black Winged Stilts. If you happen to be out exploring the Ria Formosa between October and March you will definitely see or hear them, and in fact you may see them here year round as a small colony breeds in the east. By the way if you are not a birder but are pondering why even you are recognising this gorgeous wader it is probably because the Avocet is the emblem of the RSPB.

7 comments on “An orchestra of Avocets

  1. That last little guy is lifting his feet so deliicately, Becky 🙂 An orchestra- such a lovely expression!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How lucky to see so many. We will probably miss them as not back on Algarve until April. We see avocets along the Humber, Trevor’s home but usually more grey and never an orchestra.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. exactly hits as the title… amazing photographs dear Becky, Thank you, have a nice day and weekend, Love, nia

    Liked by 2 people

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