Well that’s true if you are in the Algarve. If you are near lagoons in Alentejo or in the Tagus Valley then you will certainly see them in winter, and even in summer you might be fortunate in the Tagus Valley as there have been nesting attempts there. If you are birder you may have already identified what I am talking about, but if not a birder then hopefully you are at least intrigued!
The bird is the Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). We have seen them in the Algarve thrice – twice overhead and once on the ground. I managed to photograph them once as they flew overhead, and today it is only because of the beak I feel confident these are the right photographs! As you can see though my photographs were much more successful when I saw one on the ground.
This was in the Quinta do Lago, when he/she was happily feeding beside turtles and what I thought at the time was a Red-crested Pochard. However I realise now the other bird I have photographed doesn’t have a red beak so it can’t be a Red Crested one. I’m advised by my better birding half that it is simply a Pochard. So there you go, her friend is a Pochard! For a moment when I was preparing this post I’d thought perhaps it might be a Redhead Duck or Canvasback but of course that was just daft as they are north American birds. Still exploring bird images online kept me amused for a while!
The tourist guide to Birdwatching in the Algarve indicates the Glossy Ibis are common in the Algarve in winter, however the more informative, and I suspect accurate, Aves de Portugal website clearly states they are only observed occasionally in this region. They can flock in their hundreds but even in the Tagus estuary, and the neighbouring Paul da Barroca, you are more likely to see them in their dozens. So I feel quite fortunate that as well as seeing them twice overhead I saw this one in all her glory close up.