Algarve Field Course (Part 2)

You can see the first part of the 2013 Algarve Blog here.

Greetings from the Algarve!

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Day 2 saw us spending the day at the Salgados sand dunes carrying out habitat surveys and mapping. A haven for avid bird watchers and botanists alike, this area is currently of concern due to a proposed golf course development, which would result in widespread habitat destruction and pollution of the brackish lake nearby.

We began the day on the boardwalk, a vantage point overlooking the whole site, which included an abandoned orchard. From here we mapped our way through many habitats and to our delight our guide Monique, an expert botanist, told us all about the rare and fantastic plant species along the way including the Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae).

Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae)

Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae)

This is a small sour- tasting, yellow flower that is an invasive species from Africa, which can cause death in livestock when consumed in large quantity. After just one day in the field we were already able to identify plants which we had seen the day before-it’s amazing how fast you pick things up in the field!

Plants are cool and, as a zoologist, I wasn’t expecting to find them so interesting. After today, hopefully I am well on the way to becoming a good field botanist!

Traipsing through the unusually luscious vegetation for this time of year, some were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a lizard with “a head the size of your fist” in temperatures of 19 Celcius.

After our day in the field fighting ants for our ham and cheese sandwiches, we had a splash about in the pool, before our pool side lecture on tomorrow’s activities. I’m looking forward to getting a better look at some of the birds we saw today including Black Winged Stilts, Zitting Cisticola and FLAMINGOS of all things!!

Aimee Mariga

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