Almost a year to the day since my last post on the gorgeous ‘Turtledoves of the Sea’, known in England as Ruddy Turnstones. I love watching them as they run along the beach, stopping every now and then to turn over stones on the beach. Yesterday though we came across some which we didn’t quite know what to make of. They are a wader which, unsurprisingly given their English name, prefers stony beaches and like most waders they tend to avoid areas heavily populated by people and dogs. Clearly though the ones at Quatro Águas have not read their bird book descriptions!
The first unusual one we spotted was beside one of the shellfish huts, taking advantage of human spoils. A little while later I saw another on a boat, also completely unfazed by us close by.
The next dozen we saw were even more unusual. At first I wasn’t sure what they were, I could only see bird like shapes running around on the pier, taking no notice of children or dogs. Picked up the camera and all became clear in terms of identification, but not much more. Fascinating and so much fun to watch. Perhaps the pickings are superb or maybe this is a multi-generational family who have learnt that humans won’t harm them here.
If you have not yet visited the upgraded pier at Quatro Águas in Tavira, do visit. It is quite a splendid place to sit and watch the world go by. There are also plenty of cafes if you need a little sustenance. You can walk there from the centre of Tavira, albeit the footpath does disappear for a few hundred yards after the markets. Alternatively when it is running there is the road train and if you are travelling from further afield plenty of parking out of season.
By the way if you have a photographic blog be aware that whilst in Portugal you can take photographs of people in public places without their consent, if they ask you not to take their photograph you can not. Additionally their civil code states that “The portrait of a person is not allowed to be exhibited, reproduced or put in commerce without the person’s consent (…).” There are some exceptions to this, for example public figures, when related to facts of public interest or when the photograph is being published for scientific, educational or cultural purposes. However I decided my gorgeous photograph of a child watching one of the Turnstones didn’t really fall into the exceptions, hence the cropped photograph. In the UK you can also take and publish photographs of people in public places unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. A UK court has held that a child’s right to privacy was infringed when photographed on a public street together with his parents. If you want to learn more then do check out this very helpful international overview.