Indoor Meetings about Birds and Wildlife

Birds of Southern Portugal
Jonathan Forgham

Date: Thursday 15 October 2020 at 19:30


This talk will no longer take place at the Methodist church hall.

28/6/2020 Following the latest guidance from the RSPB, physical meetings are now cancelled until 31 December 2020. However, we are hoping to be able to offer this talk online in some format. We will update you on these plans in due course.


Yellow Wagtail on a bush Crag Martin on a building
Yellow Wagtail,
sub species iberiae
Crag Martin



Jonathan has travelled extensively through Portugal on many bird watching trips. He returns annually to The Algarve, birding the whole length of the coast from Tavira in the east to São Vicente in the west (the most westerly point of mainland Europe).

In 2012 he first visited Aviero, south of Porto where wetlands and salt marsh are found within easy walking distance of the town centre. Here greater flamingos can be watched along with a good variety of waders. To get about he uses public transport and takes a ferry to the peninsula off Aviero where the superb Reserva Natural São Jacinto is found. Here, woodland birds such as woodchat shrike and crested tit can be seen whilst a sea watch from the beach can offer good views of skuas and sea duck.

Portugal offers British birders an opportunity to watch birds rarely seen in the UK. Air fares are cheap and accommodation plentiful. Combine the birding with a great cuisine and superb wines and it can make for a most enjoyable stay.

Black Redstart on a rail White Stork on a post
Black Redstart White Stork


All pictures are © Copyright. Do not reproduce without permission from Jonathan Forgham.


I am a lifelong birder, first becoming interested in a particularly colourful bird I noticed whilst on holiday in Devon, far from my back street Liverpool home. My parents bought me the Observer's Book of Birds and we discovered the bird in question was a male chaffinch. From then on, I was hooked. A member of the YOC in the 1960’s and early 70’s I went on four YOC holidays to Northumbria, Essex, Yorkshire and Slimbridge. By the age of 14 I travelled alone to The Pyrennes and my birding travels from then on have been annual or more. I have now birded in most European countries apart from Scandinavia, visited Sri Lanka on seven occasions in the last five years as well as a visit to Australia in 1992. A long ten day walking/birding trip to The Crimea had been planned for 2015, but the invasion of the area put a halt to the plan that had been 18 months in the making!

I visit Dungeness and North Norfolk at least once a month on birding days out, along with trips to other sites within 100 miles of my East Herts home. I have spent ten years studying the whole natural history of Little Hadham parish, recording 109 bird species and over 750 moth species along with plants, butterflies, insects, mammals etc. These records made up a book, published in 2012. An update is due when I find the time.

Away from birding, I was a teacher for 30 years before setting up my own science educational enhancement company which ran for ten years. I have now retired and in October 2018 decided it was time to settle down and get married for the first time!

In 2003 I was the UK delegate to Physics on Stage, an eight day conference held at the European Space Agency in The Netherlands. Here I was on the committee discussing the dissemination of scientific methods across the EU.

I enjoy red wine, cricket and the music and words of Bob Dylan.  I am a level 2 ECB cricket coach, write a fortnightly nature article for the local newspaper, Bishop’s Stortford Independent and am a voluntary warden of a community wood in our village of Little Hadham.  Recently, I have established a learning centre in Galle, Sri Lanka where children and teenagers from poor backgrounds can attend free English lessons. Presently we are in the process of setting up a volunteer programme.

Special Offers

If you are a first-time visitor to our indoor meetings, then there is No Charge for admission. If you join our local group at the meeting then you can claim a FREE bird identification handbook. For full details, click here.