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Less than 100km from Lisbon and close to the River Tagus, Boquilobo Marsh is one of the most interesting and easily reached inland wetland areas in Portugal.
The site consists of open freshwater with extensive marginal vegetation and wet woodlands, mainly willow, and there are also some cork-oak stands. The outer part of the marsh is drained each year and the land cultivated but the inner core remains flooded and much of the marsh is a nature reserve. Famous for its mixed heronry, one of the largest in Iberia, the area is also important as a wintering site for various species.
Little Bittern, Cattle Egret and Little Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Purple Heron all breed and Squacco Heron is rare but present each summer. In recent years Eurasian Spoonbill has begun to nest and the first confirmed breeding of Western Swamphen took place in 2002. In addition, Whiskered Tern breeds as well Baillon's Crake and Water Rail.
Of raptors, Black Kite is common and Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle are usually present. Harriers occur on passage and sometimes Black-shouldered Kite. Passerine breeders include Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler and Great Reed Warbler and Common Waxbill is established here nesting in the reedbeds.
In winter the marsh is of great importance to wintering ducks including Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler and Common Teal. Red-crested Pochard can often be seen throughout the year in small numbers. In April 2003 Green-winged Teal and Western Reef Heron were both recorded.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Black Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Common Quail, Water Rail, Baillon's Crake, Common Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Red-necked Nightjar, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Water Pipit, Bluethroat, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Redwing, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Savi's Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Common Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Rock Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Brambling, European Serin, Eurasian Siskin, Hawfinch
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Located about 90km north-east of Lisbon, the site is reached taking the A1 for almost 100km from Lisbon and turning off on the IP6 towards Torres Novas. After 10km take the road to Riachos, follow this through the village and over the railway line, turning right leads to a bridge over the Almonda River and the reserve headquarters.
The site can also be reached from Lisbon very easily by train on the Entroncamento line leaving the train at Mato de Miranda. Campsite and pension accommodation is available in the nearby town of Golega.
Part of the marsh is a strict reserve with no public access but the remainder is easily viewed from nature trails and there is a hide overlooking one of the pools. Spring is the most productive time for a visit and the area has great botanical, as well as ornithological interest at this time.
Content and images originally posted by Steve