birdwatching in portugal just life

weeknotes 47/23

we spent the week in beja!

we had a postcard meeting this weekend and used our house swapping membership to spend a few extra days there, in a cozy and super central apartment. the week was passed birdwatching, walking the narrow streets of beja, people-watching in centenarian cafés, admiring all the pretty tiles and filling up our bellies with alentejo’s many delights.

we went into a local museum with works from jorge vieira, and only later did i realize that he was the same artist who did the huge “man-sun” metal sculture on expo 98. the museum focused more on his ceramic works, and the boy and i admired the one above, which we both thought was a pig until someone pointed out the horns… 😅

and naturally, there was some birdwatching too! nothing too fancy, but we logged a few new birds, like a red kite, eurasian jackdaw and a spanish sparrow, which looked rather mean!


weeknotes 44-46/23

there hasn’t been a lot going on — mostly listening to the boy coughing and being in pain, testing his blood, and trying to rule out diagnoses one by one. as time passes and bloodwork get more complicated and increasingly specific, so too does the worry increase… right now he’s on his second course of oral corticosteroids, which are thankfully keeping the cough at bay. they’re not without drawbacks though. :( fingers crossed this mystery will soon be figured out.

to pass the time, the days have been filled with light entertainment. together, we watched nyad, tenet, the awakening of motti wolkenbruch, the diplomat and the lost city. plus, i’ve watched bridgerton and read lots of light stuff (department of speculation, in real life, ali hazelwood’s novels, sheets) on my own. currently making my way through my name is lucy barton and the high mountains of portugal (a book i picked solely for the intriguing title).

in better news, the little raised bed we installed a month ago is full-on producing already! radishes, lettuces, spinach and chard are making their way into our salad bowls, and it feels like a little miracle of mother nature. i didn’t expect things to grow so much this late in the year, but the weather has been quite warm and sunny, even in november.

speaking of miracles, we saw an osprey the other day, hovering around the salt ponds in town! raptors are not our speciality at all, so it was extra satisfying to be able to not only see but identify one so clearly. we’re now up to 130 birds in our life list, and i’m getting a little competitive. :)

and last but not least, swimming. a lot of swimming has been happening lately, and it makes me happy. the pool is some 6kms away, but i can ride my bike there through the salt ponds and get some extra workout. plus, our local municipal pool is glorious: olympic sized, wooden ceilings, huge windows that let the sunlight into the pool… and for less than 1 euro each visit. i’m so grateful for this luxury.


more waxbills

i’ve mentioned waxbills here on the blog before… but these pictures taken in the early morning light with the vineyard on the background came out so cute, so here they are again!

probably one of my favorite tiny birds!


glossy ibis

stumbled on a bunch of glossy ibis here in the ria the other day. they’re called the equivalent of “black ibis” in portuguese, and they do look black at a distance… but a closer look reveals a lot of other beautiful colors too, greens and rusty tones.

such a gorgeous bird! i don’t think i had ever seen them so close.

one second everyday

october 2023 — one second everyday

a month that started with the parents here, then us going to the birdwatching festival in sagres, then coming back to normal life, with rain, the new raised bed, mail and trips to the hospital to check on the boy’s never-ending cough.