I’m thinking it might be good to include some footage and images of the lodges we have visited on our travels. Ok, I confess – I am being lazy. These will be a series of shorter posts that will be scheduled while I’m traveling and filming for Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV. So, just because I’m being lazy, this does not mean that these posts will be of no use to you! On the contrary, if you are a traveling birder, you might just find your next birding destination right here on 10,000 Birds. This week’s post will focus on a stunning birder-friendly lodge in South Portugal that was the setting for our quest for Great Bustards. This homely place is the aptly named Paradise in Portugal, owned by birder and purveyor of fine wines, Frank McClintock. But he won’t drink or stock just any wine…

For many birders, accommodations are not as important as the birds. Additionally traveling birders also have a reputation for being seriously budget-conscious. But this does not mean that we as birders have to sacrifice comfort for a fatter wallet! Paradise in Portugal is a perfect example of this. The reasonable rates really do not adequately reflect both the level of comfort and the personalized service ethic. And this place has birds to boot! But the thing that I liked most about PIP (my abbreviation for Paradise in Portugal) was the intimate setting – all guests sit around one large table for dinner. It really feels like a home away from home…

Birding is not the most considerate of hobbies for a non-birding spouse. Spending every waking hour – and some evening hours too – looking for birds of a feather is not everyone’s cup of tea. So it helps to take your spouse to a place that is at least partially considerate of your partner’s needs. Frank’s place strikes this balance nicely. The surrounding countryside is scattered with little quaint villages. There are some very special historical sites and Roman ruins. If you happen to be there in summer the lake is a gorgeous place to take a quick dip, head out on a boat to take in the stunning scenery or to indulge in a little fishing.

PIP is situated right on a beautiful lake – the place to be when its hot!

Frank runs very informative and productive day-trips from the lodge. Excursions to the oak woodlands in spring and summer are fascinating and Frank has a great knowledge of the history of the area too. The countryside too is full of signature European species like European Bee-eaters, European Rollers and Great-spotted Cuckoos

Within a shortish drive of the lodge is an unusual birding spot called Pulo do Lobo or The wolf’s Leap. This is worthwhile to pick up some rocky terrain species and the scenery is stunning.

Portugal is seriously under-rated as a birding destination and Paradise in Portugal really is a hidden gem of this part of the world. So if its wine, food, history and birds you’re after this is the place. And, as a bonus, your spouse/partner will probably want to go birding with you more often…

 

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Written by James
A life-long birder and native of South Africa, James Currie has many years experience in the birding and wildlife tourism arenas. James has led professional wildlife and birding tours for 15 years and his passion for birding and remote cultures has taken him to far corners of the earth from the Amazon and Australia to Africa and Madagascar. He is also an expert in the field of sustainable development and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in African Languages and a Masters degree in Sustainable Environmental Management. From 2004-2007 James worked as the Managing Director of Africa Foundation, a non-profit organization that directs its efforts towards the uplifting of communities surrounding wildlife areas in Africa. James is currently the host and owner of Nikon's Birding Adventures TV and he resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.