Saturday, July 16, 2022

Sado Estuary - Portugal

We scheduled a second trip with Bernardo Barreto of Birds & Nature Tours in Portugal for the end of our trip to Portugal, right before heading back to the U.S. What we were going to do was left up in the air until some time during our trip. On Saturday, July 2, we were in Evora, 80 miles east of Lisbon. Bernard suggested we do the Sado Estuary and arranged to meet us in Setubal, on the edge of the Sado Estuary, 29 miles south of Lisbon, at 8:30 the next morning, on July 3, which necessitated our leaving Evora about 7:15 a.m.   

The Sado Estuary is the second largest estuary in Portugal, just southeast of the Tagus Estuary which is the largest. The Sado River, which creates it, is the only major river in Portugal which flows north. It flows 109 miles from springs in the Ourique Hills and enters the estuary shortly after passing through Alcacer do Sal, at the southeast end. Most of the western side of the estuary is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by the 13 mile long Troia Peninsula, a narrow strip of sand less than a mile wide. From near the end of the Troia Peninsula to Setubal there is a ferry that crosses the Sado (Estuary) which is 1.5 miles wide at that point. 
From the ferry, looking at the tip of the Troia Peninsual and the other side of the Sado River in the background. 
We parked our car at a round-a-bout in Setubal and went in Bernard's car. First we drove to what appeared to be an informal headquarters of the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve, east of Setubal. The tide was still quite high, so we drove back west to some pools and found some little terns nesting in the middle of a dirt road. We also saw a European goldfinch.  
Little tern

European goldfinch
We went back to the estuary informal headquarters, which was formerly a grain mill powered by water from the ebbing tide. We got got a tour of the grain mill and looked around We saw a Eurasian nuthatch nearby. 
Eurasian nuthatch

Marbled crab
We drove clockwise around the estuary and had lunch in Alcacer do Sal, right next to the Sado River. We ultimately drove to the end of the Troia Peninsula and took a ferry across the Sado to Setubal. There Bernard drove us to our car and then we drove to Lisbon across the Tagus Estuary, using the Vasco de Gama Bridge, where we flew home to the U.S. early the next morning. 
Black-tailed godwit

A young black-winged stilt.
Carrion crow

Common buzzard

Common house martin

Eurasian spoonbill

Glossy ibis

Greater flamingos

House sparrow

Iberian magpie

Lesser black-backed gull

Little egret, very close to the American snowy egret. 

The beautiful Mediterranean gull with a black head and red bill. 

Sandwich tern

White stork

Yellow-legged gull

Zitting cisticola
I saw 21 birds, 8 of them birds I was seeing for the first time. An additional three birds would have been "firsts" if I hadn't seen them on our earlier Tagus Estuary tour. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised by the number of birds you have photos of. I also enjoyed our visit to the restoration of a mill that used the tides to grind grain. Very interesting.