A Sultana Bird and the Horse of Witches

I love attempting to photograph dragonflies, otherwise known as cavalinho-das-bruxas (horse-of-witches), and it would seem when I compare last week’s photographs with those in my first dragonfly post, I am getting better at it. Just look of that one in flight! I am though still struggling with identification. I think two of these are of a Blue Hawker, and the third is Red-veined Darter.

Dragonflies were not the only things we spotted in the water reeds, there were also numerous birds, including the Purple Swamphen (also known as the Sultana Bird), the Glossy Ibis, a Great Crested Grebe and a Dabchick (Little Grebe).

We saw all of these at Ludo and Lagoa de São Lourenço. It remains one of our favourite birding walks despite the increased walkers, cyclists and joggers, and the appalling reed bed management. They are regularly cutting back the reeds on the southernmost edge  reducing the amount of cover for the birdlife. Whilst I appreciate that cutting and removing areas of reed on a rotational basis is a necessary part of reed bed management I don’t think that is what is happening here. As the only area they have worked on is by a very popular footpath.

Ludo and Lagoa de São Lourenço

I think the cutting is all about maintaining the view. The problem is by failing to keep a robust barrier between humans and wildlife, birds are less likely to breed here or even winter, particularly the elusive ones such as the Little Bittern. And one of the more recent selling points for this lagoon for tourists has been the bird life, hence the enormous hide which is now a conspicuous white elephant. Hopefully though I am wrong and what I think is appalling reed bed management is instead the cutting edge of wildlife and reed bed conservation!

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When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same but with the addition of gardening and lots of volunteering!

26 thoughts on “A Sultana Bird and the Horse of Witches

  1. Some great pics of some lovely birds (and dragonfly!). We used to have similar issues with reed cutting at the local reserve in Spain – you’d think that it would make more sense not to cut them all at once but stagger it to leave some cover all the time wouldn’t you? I think a lot of it comes down to labour costs though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Theresa. Interesting happens at reserve, and labour costs sound a very reasonable explanation for there. Can’t be that here though as one of the most expensive golf courses in the Algarve!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You do come up with some fascinating information, Becky. 🙂 🙂 I’ve been amazed at the number of dragonflies around the beach this year. My naming system doesn’t extend beyond ‘red one’, ‘blue one’… You are seducing me into paying more attention to birds, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dragonfly photography is tricky but rewarding when you get that shot. I am not sure of the reed cutting. Maybe there’s a local craft? You are right, not much cover for bird watching or for the birds to do their thing 🙂

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