He/she certainly was intriguing to watch. They have been in this particular pond for nearly two days now, since they let all the water out. And he/she has hardly moved from this narrow passage between the two ponds.
There clearly is quite a lot of food here; after sundown on Saturday he/she was joined by two other Spoonbills, a Stork and a Heron. Yesterday afternoon though they only had an Egret for company, and the two of them spent half their time delving into the roots of the Arthrocnemum perenne. Not a behaviour I have seen before as usually I observe them as they moving slowly through the water ‘sweeping’ for aquatic invertebrates. However after yesterday’s antics I have been researching and discovered that they also eat newts and frogs so perhaps delving like an Egret is not as unusual as I had thought.
They are resident in Portugal but you are most likely to see the large flocks (known as a runcible) during the summer and early autumn. In this part of the Ria Formosa we rarely see more than a couple at any one time, although there have been exceptions as you may recall from my posts last September and December. We have been observing them here now for years, and they still make me smile even after all this time. There is just something about that bill of theirs!
They are a large bird with a wingspan of just over a metre and weighing between 1 and 2kg. During the breeding season, adults develop some yellow on their bill tip and also on their breast along with a crest of white feathers so I am guessing this one is an adult. I have no idea if it is male or female as the plumage is the same for both sexes. Grubby brown though is unusual! As can see from the photograph below (taken Saturday shortly before sundown and possibly of the same bird) generally they look off white rather than brown.