Azure-Winged Magpie, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling (845)

Birding is very much about location and the species listed in the title were all seen while in Portugal. The last two were ‘lifers’ as well, which in birding terms is when you see something for the very first time.

I’d seen azure-winged magpies and hoopoes before at the place where we stayed and they were again there in numbers. In addition, birds such as blackbird, collared doves, greenfinch, house martin, house sparrow, jay, mistle thrush, swallow and swift were common.

The spotless starling was seen feeding on the football pitch at the complex and the Sardinian warbler when I went for a walk. You do get some funny looks walking around with binoculars. Some countries are more used to shooting birds than enjoying them.

When I was in Cyprus on Champions League duty I went for a birding walk round Nicosia and a gardener offered to lend me a gun as it was more fun than a pair of binoculars, he said.

With the Sardinian warbler I located a nesting site, which I observed the area from a safe distance. I loved the walk I went on, while the players had some downtime. I could have spent the whole four days there as opposed to an hour or so.

I do love the natural world, I always have ever since I’ve been a child.

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