We arrived at Setubal around lunchtime after a long drive from Gibraltar. After some lunch and a bit of research we decided to check out the Old Tide Mill at Mouriscas. This tide mill has been refurbished and is now a bird centre and observatory. Upon our arrival here we immediately saw some bird activity, mainly waders. We checked out the observatory and walked along the paths seeing the following birds:
Black Winged Stilt
Black Headed Gull
We were lucky to arrive when the tide was out and all the waders were feeding on the mudflats. The dunlins and plovers at times were so busy feeding it seemed they didn't realise how close they actually got to us, easily within 5 metres!
It was a great start to our weekend seeing these waders up close and getting plenty of great photos. We were looking forward to our second day already!
This was the day we were looking forward to the most when we planned our trip to Setubal. We had booked a tour with Birds and Nature and what a great decision that was! Our guide for the day Bernardo picked us up from our hotel and we headed off for the Tagus Estuary.
Before going any further with our day we would like to thank Birds and Nature and especially Bernardo for such a wonderful tour. We would recommend them to anyone birdwatching around this area. Bernardo was great from start to finish, very knowledgeable on the Tagus Estuary and on the species of birds around the area. Bernardo searched for long periods of time to try and show us as many species of birds as possible, and at the end of the day we managed to see over 60 species.
Visit their page http://www.birds.pt and check out their reviews on Trip Advisor, http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g189158-d2192524-Reviews-Birds_Nature_Tours-Lisbon_Estremadura.html
One of our first stops at the estuary was our favourite of the whole weekend. Here we were watching waders up close feeding on the mud, on the scope we had several ducks, a bluethroat being its cocky self on a tree close by and a Black Shouldered Kite hunting behind us! We spent a long time observing all these species and managed to get photos of some of them.
Bernardo then took us to several places around the Tagus Estuary covering every corner until we were right on the other side from where we had started. An area we drove through was woodland, and here we managed to see the great spotted woodpecker and waxbills.
At the end of the day just before sunset we managed to experience a magnificent sight! We had seen a 'cloud' of thousands of flamingos and knew they had settled down somewhere, Bernardo searched all afternoon and managed to find them in the end. Whilst observing them, more and more birds kept coming in waves, and settled in and around the flamingoes. We had masses of black-headed gulls and glossy ibis, spoonbills, black-tailed godwits and greylag geese. We had had a great day, Bernardo had been out with us for 8 hours and we would have carried on for a couple more if it wasn't for sunset at around 5pm. We had the perfect day out birdwatching so thanks again to Bernardo!
On our last we stayed around the Sado Estuary. We followed our maps and planned to visit 3 areas of the estuary. Our first stop was the Old Tide Mill at Mouriscas again. The tide was a bit higher than our first day but we still managed to see waders close up, and once again got some good photos of them. We spent a couple of hours there before moving on to the next area at Zambujal.
At Zambujal there was an old bridge over the Sado river, which gave us a good vantage point for waders feeding on the mudflats. We enjoyed this area as this part of the estuary was quite narrow, so we were able to see birds like the avocets closer than the previous days. We also had many gulls flying up and down the river, we kept a close eye on them and spotted a couple of caspian terns mixed in with the gulls. We waited until small flocks of gulls passed by trying to identify any caspian terns. The long waits were worth it as we caught good photos of the caspian tern. As we left the bridge at Zambujal we spotted a Black Shouldered Kite on one of the electrical cables, we enjoyed observing this beautiful raptor before moving onto the next area.
|Black= winged Kite|
Next stop was a 45 minute drive to Carrasquiera. Once we arrived we set up the scope as the tide was quite far out and had to observe the birds at a distance. Once again we saw the same waders as the previous days but with a new addition, the Oystercatcher. We were told by Bernardo that we had a chance of seeing them here and he was right. We enjoyed observing these large waders for a while before daylight started fading and the sun started setting.
It was the end of our day and the end of our trip to Setubal. It was a very successful trip and we were delighted, and look forward to returning in the springtime!
Here is a list of what we saw over the weekend...
|Black- tailed Godwit|
Black Winged Stilt
Great White Egret
Black Headed Gull
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Black Shouldered Kite
We hope you enjoy the photos!
Until our next outing......maybe before christmas.