Portugal is one of my favourite birding destinations and for European urban birding, Lisbon takes some beating. Over the four days of my Lisbon Tourism sponsored trip I spent the time birding the delights of the expansive Tagus Estuary and the wonderful Alentejo Region which spans the landscape between Lisbon to the north and the Algarve to the south.
Views around the Tagus
My guide was my old friend Joao Jara and I was also in the company of nature writer and dragoneer (dragonfly enthusiast) David Chandler. As well as exploring the Tagus we also spend a brief day taking a look at the varied habitats in the Alentejo from the gently cork oak wooded hills to the expensive steppes of Castro Verde.
Despite the lack of sunshine and occasional spot of rain we saw a load of good birds including a very obliging female Merlin in the Tagus.
A male Hen Harrier against the backdrop of suburban Lisbon
By far my favourite area for birding was the Tagus. Despite its close proximity to the city it was absolutely stuffed with birds and is a very important wintering/refueling area. In excess of 5,000 flamingos and 7,000 Teal share this food rich habitat with many thousands of waders and other waterbirds.
This is truly a fantastic urban birding venue.
Lisbon & the Alentejo Region 11-14 December 2014
White Stork – Seems that quite a few overwintered. Some already standing on their nests.
Glossy Ibis – c2,000 on the Tagus.
Greater Flamingo – c1,500 on the Tagus.
Teal – At least 7,000 in theTagus.
Garganey – 4 separate birds found (2 males
& 2 females) amongst 5,000 Teal in the Tagus.
Osprey – a couple seen carrying fish in the
Iberian Imperial Eagle – c5 seen in Castro
Booted Eagle – 1 briefly in the Alentejo.
Bonelli’s Eagle – 1 1st calendar
year bird watched in the open sitting in a tree in the Tagus.
Merlin – A couple seen.
Purple Swamphen – A couple seen in the Tagus.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse – c50 all told.
Short-eared Owl – 9 together in the Tagus.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (heard)
Thekla Lark – a coupled noted near Mertola, Alentejo.
Cetti’s Warbler (heard)
Iberian Grey Shrike
Jackdaw – only 1 noticed in the Alentajo.