Before sunrise, I arrived at a small sheltered beach, on the south side of Peniche, looking for rare birds that might be protected from the persistent north wind. This spot, (Portinho da areia Sul) has a small garden with tamarisks and other evergreen bushes, and a couple of fig trees. Also, has an almost concealed little stream surrounded by cane (Arundo sp.). I started visiting this area, this autumn, and it looks promising.
I parked the car, and start walking towards the beach, to scan the algae for any wader. Instantly I heard a single sharp call from a Rock pipit (Anthus pretrosus), I scanned the beach and there it was walking along and feeding quite busy. I tried to pick my camera from my backpack, and the bird flew away, out of sight, and quite a distance. No photo or sound recording, that´s a pity! I know that other pipits are creatures of habits, and like to return to the same area to feed, so I persisted and just continued to bird around, but keeping my eye and hear towards the beach. A Spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) in the fig tree, a freshly arrived Chiffchaff (Phyllsocopus collybita) in the bushes and that was pretty much it for migrants. And then the pipit came back again, sharply calling above my head, and landed on the beach again.
Finally some photographs, the low light made the small sensor of my camera work hard, but for record shots, it´s not too bad. I guess the low weight of a bridge comes with a price. By that time I had already my recorder running and got also some nice calls.
Rock pipits, although they are considered a rare bird in Portugal, its seems they are quite frequent, the low number of observers allied to poor coverage of suitable habitat (Rocky coasts), contribute to the low numbers of records each year.
Birding Portugal & Spain - Blog
2020 Count Totals:
I was born in west Portugal and began birding at the age of 11. I have particular interest in bird ringing (banding), moult, seabirds and rarities. Currently I work as a guide for Birds & Nature Tours.
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