I alluded to the way I was thrown off a golf course in my attempt to get shots of six Bald Ibis, some of which I have posted in my album, but I was given some information yesterday which turns this into a funny story:
There have been a number of mediocre digiscoped shots of these birds which are currently residing at Salgados golf course after fleeing from the Spanish re-introduction program in Cadiz (they have also visited Vilamoura golf course so clearly have an affinity with the game!).
I arrived at Salgados Golfe on Saturday 17th January to find the place heaving with golfers (it was the first sunny day for a long time) and spotted the birds feeding with Coot and ducks near a pond just to the right of the club-house. With difficulty I found somewhere to park the Land Rover, set up my gear (heavy combination of Canon 1DMk3, 500mm lens and tripod) and crept around the edge of the high fence which stops balls bombarding the car-park. I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible in the shade of some trees when a group of four golfers came past. They were rather "toffee-nosed ex-brigadier" types but they knew all about the birds and told me that every night they roosted on the fence at the clubhouse next to the security lights for warmth. They also said that the birds were so tame that you could almost touch them and on several occasions they had to be "moved on" before the golfers could proceed. They said I should go much closer if I wanted to get some good shots.
I did this and managed to get some frame-filling images of most of the six
birds, 186 shots in total. I was so absorbed in what I was doing that I failed to realise that I was actually holding up the progression of golfers on a rather busy day and a group of about a dozen had built up a "bottle-neck" at the previous "T". The next thing I heard was the sound of walkie-talkies behind me and suddenly two security staff grabbed me by each arm and frog-marched me off the course. Luckily my gear was not damaged, which was my big concern, and I was satisfied that I had some good shots so I meekly left the scene after being told never to come back, with or without photographic equipment (I wanted to kill them, but there were too many witnesses!).
Yesterday I met someone I have know for a few years who spends the winter in the Algarve and is both a birdwatcher and a golfer (he often plays at Salgados). I related this episode to him and he told me that on that very day, late in the afternoon, someone had inadvertently left the entrance door to the clubhouse open and four of the Bald Ibis had wandered in and ....ped all over the floor of the reception area!!
True story, I assure you.