During this last October Birdwatching Lisbon hosted several tours to the Tagus Estuary, introducing this area and its species to visitors from different origins including from Africa (Luanda – Angola) and the USA (Chicago – Illinois, Baltimore – Maryland). During these tours we made stops in some of the best birding hotspots of the Estuary, including some of restricted access to which Birdwatching Lisbon has an entry permit. On the way we travel across the main bird habitats of the Estuary such as mudbanks, saltpans, marshes, cattle pastures, rice fields and cork oak woodlands and witnessed their use by the different arrays of species.
In total ca. 90 species were observed during these tours. These were mostly waterbirds such as grebes (Little and Great Crested Grebes), ducks (Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Shelduck, etc.), flamingos, herons and egrets (8 different species – Little and Great white Egrets, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Spoonbill, Gossy Ibis and Grey Heron), waders (including Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish, Ringed and Golden Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, etc.), gulls (including Mediterranean Gull) and terns (Sandwich and Caspian Terns), but several other interesting species were observed including different species of raptors (Black-winged Kite, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, etc.), Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti’s Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Rock Sparrow, Serin, three species of established exotics: Waxbill, Yellow-crowned Bishop and Black-headed Weaver, amongst many others!
After an unusual hot and dry October, with temperatures rising to 30ºC in some days (!), the rain and the cooler weather have just arrived to Lisbon a few days ago. The extensive areas of rice fields of the Estuary are now being harvested (and flooded by rain water) creating excellent conditions for waterbird foraging. The photo above was taken a couple of days ago and shows the huge concentration of birds in these areas, namely of Gulls, Herons (including hundreds of Glossy Ibis), White Storks, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Golden Plovers!
It was a pleasure birding with you all!