I was pleasantly surprised to find a very sizable "lake" no more than 500 yards east of the hotel. This is in effect the hotel sewerage treatment pond of some couple acres in size. There were no smells or signs of the solid stuff, but just well treated water continually seaping in to the desert. It was a magnet for waders and I was told by a local birder that this site was now the premier wader site on the island. I counted at least 17 species of wader here, some species in good numbers. Migration was clearly under way with 51 Curlew Sandpipers on the 10th March, some approaching summer plumage. I was also suprised to find two Lesser Yellowlegs and an American Golden Plover (though the latter had already been found by two Belgian birders). I also missed a Temminck's Stint found by a Danish birder. A flock of 60 Black-winged Stilts along with at least 131 Cattle Egrets added to the scene. The place can only get better as the hotel was only opened last autumn.
Photography was not especially easy with a D SLR and 300mm lens plus TC. The longish distance of waders here would probably suit digiscoping better. The high temperatures (Av 30 degs) also limited birding to the early morning and later afternoon. The heat haze was never easy to contend with.
Birding with the 'scope though was stunning and to have a reserve looking like RSPB Titchwell all to yourself was bliss. The first installment of images will concentrate on waders.
|Part of a large roosting flock of Curlew Sandpipers, Sanderling and Ruff|
|American Golden Plover - presumably over-wintering at the site.|
|American Golden Plover showing the dusky underwing|
|Pair of Lesser Yellowlegs|
|Displaying Black-winged Stilts - up to 60 were present.|
|Adult Wood Sandpiper|
|Little Stint feeding by hovering over the water. More will follow on this unusual feeding technique.|
|Cattle Egret roost - part of a flock of 131 birds.|
|Cream-coloured Coursers - part of a group of 12 birds seen about a mile north of the hotel. A Hoopoe Lark and Bar-tailed Lark are also shown.|
Holiday details: Flight from Gatwick, six hours, direct. Hotel Riu Touareg, Boa Vista. Organised through Thompsons First Choice. Transfer to hotel included. No requirement to hire a vehicle as most birds within walking distance of hotel. Requirements: stamina, fitness, dark sunny's, gallons of water and an understanding wife.