Monday, 19 October 2009


I'm writing this from the luxury of my hotel room in Mertola in the Alentejo region, Portugal quite close to the Algarve and a few miles from western Spain. I'm on day one of my Portuguese urban birding bonanza being guided by the venerable Joao Jara of Birds and Nature Tours (check his website out - I'll post details tomorrow).

On the two hour road trip from Lisbon I've already seen Greater Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Little Owl, White Stork and Hoopoe. The area we are staying in is good for Great Bustard and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, though the bad news is that we can expect wind and rain in the morning.

This morning in grey London I watched in awe as a Peregrine made an unsuccessful assault against some pigeons whilst I was getting the car washed near Royal Oak underground station. Such an impressive bird and one that I have seen on a near daily basis for the past six days. To think that they were a major rarity not that long ago.

Later this morning I also saw what was almost certainly Woodlark flying overhead - a lark in bounding flight with an extremely short tail. I was strolling down Westbourne Grove, Bayswater at the time.

It just shows what wonders are possible in the middle of urbanity.

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