Monday 24 September 2018


So this post is about three months late...

Early in June I visited Portugal for my first time, the vibrant city of Lisbon to be precise. This was far from a birding trip, but during the three days I was there I managed to snatch a bit of time out. Most of this was just walking the parks and small strips of green within the city, which proved surprisingly productive..

The commonest species in Lisbon were; Serin, Black Redstart, Spotless Starling, White Wagtail, Ring-necked Parakeet, Pallid Swift, Blackbird, House Sparrows and Yellow-legged Gull

Male Serin. Although Serin was probably the commonest bird - they're not always easy to see!
Adult Spotless Starling - just as it says on the tin! 
Adult Yellow-legged Gull
Adult White Wagtail
Male Black Redstart
Male Black Redstart
Juvenile Black Redstart
Juvenile Black Redstart
Juvenile Black Redstart begging Daddy for food
And it worked!

Unfortunately I didn't have a camera to hand when I stumbled upon a Short-toed Treecreepers nest. And more parrot action was provided by a pair of Monk Parakeets that flew past us whilst we were stood on the roof of a high rise hotel.

Away from the city, the salt pans along the Tagus Estuary were bonkers. Absolutely crammed full of birds, I could have spent a week here alone. Totally amazing place...

Tagus salt pans from the air

There were so many waders here. Black-winged Stilts breeding on every pool, with a pair of Kentish Plovers on most. Interestingly, despite the date (early June), there were large flocks of non-breeding waders too; 450+ Dunlin, 5+ Curlew Sandpipers and almost 200 Avocet!  The local guides said how unusual these numbers were so late on in spring, especially the Avocet as they don't breed here.  The massive numbers of breeding Little Terns were a spectacle for the eyes and ears, and larger birds on the water included the usual Cattle Egrets, Spoonbills and up to 100 Greater Flamingos...

Sleepy Flamingos, almost all were first-summers with just a couple of adults on site
Some feeding Flamingos with Avocets behind

Fan-tailed Warblers were everywhere, along with one Sardinian Warbler, a Great Reed Warbler, several Crested Larks and Hoopoes.  Hunting over the marsh were a couple of Black Kites, a Marsh Harrier and at least one stunning Black-shouldered Kite...

Flight views were close, but the only perched view was distant.

The trip finished with me sharing this view of Lisbon...

....with hundreds of Common and Pallid Swifts, a chorus of singing Serins and this very showy Turtle Dove...

I miss seeing Turtle Doves in the UK
Such a beautiful bird

And don't get me started on the food... wow! Some of the simplest yet finest food I've ever eaten. Completely uncomplicated, they simply allow the quality of the ingredients do the talking. And it's easy to tell they only use the finest and freshest of ingredients. Sublime.

Better stop writing really as the memories are making me hungry...

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