Practical wildlife survey skills training in Portugal: Working4Wildlife

A chance to practice your skills

Now that you are taking part of our Effective Camera Trapping or Effective Bird Identification course (of both!) we are able to offer you the opportunity to practice your wildlife survey skills in another country with funding from Erasmus+. You can take your field notebook and bird i.d. guide with you.

This 2-week mobility to Ambios Portugal (no relation to Ambios Ltd!) in Portugal offers more than the chance to practice your bird i.d. skills. It is an opportunity to explore the rich and varied wildlife of another country, working alongside professional staff to build your experience in wildlife identification, survey and communication.

Practical wildlife surveys in Portugal

Your Host Organisation

Ambios Portugal is a non-governmental not-for-profit organization founded in 2018 and based at the Cork and Cork Oak Observatory in Coruche, Portugal. It shares a similar name to Ambios Ltd, UK but is entirely independent. As a scientific association, Ambios Portugal aims to disseminate the scientific culture and to promote the involvement of the society in science, based on the principles and practice of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, towards the quality of life and the environment in general.

Ambios Portugal was founded by a team from universities, non-governmental organizations, companies and the public administration, with links to the environment sector. It is in this context that you will continue to practice the skills you have acquired in the UK.

The European context

Are you looking for an opportunity to combine working for wildlife and travel to the EU? Want to spend some focused time with wildlife and like minded people?  We will add skills training and recognition into that package for you.  By undertaking the Ambios Effective Camera Trapping or Effective Bird Identification vocational training courses, Erasmus+ can then fund your mobility.

This immersive experiences will support your personal development and help your path into a career in nature conservation or other jobs.

Participant feedback

Previous participants have said

“I gained competency in surveying and identifying river invertebrates, insects and vegetation in two diverse habitats and learnt about surveying birds and watched a bird ringing session and went on a bat detection walk. I also learnt about practical ecological methodology and feel I have a better understanding of how ecologists operate and am more confident and feel more enabled to assist in ecological surveys and to actively help others understand and appreciate their local ecology.”

“All the hands on experiences of conducting the surveys and identifying what we found were important but so were the sessions on bird ringing and demonstrations of bird surveying. I also found the opportunity to talk to experts about how they actually spend their time and why, was very useful.”


Tasks During Mobility

You will be working as part of a small team of 6 alongside Ambios Portugal staff with an accompanying person from Ambios Ltd UK.  Previous trainees have assisted with diurnal and nocturnal bird identification and surveys, invertebrate surveys, plant families and identification, contribution to reference collections (invertebrates and herbarium), nature journaling, and outdoor group walk and talks (in English).

Nature journaling (an observational skill largely lost from nature conservation work at this time) will be a specific feature of this course.  No previous experience is necessary – just an enthusiasm to ‘have a go’.  Practicing this work brings with it many additional employability/transferable skills including patience, observation, teamwork, communication (verbal, non-verbal), resilience & reflectiveness.

2021 Host and Country

Please ensure you have paid for the UK course before you visit our Host/Country preferences link to tell us where you’d prefer to go. Please ensure you complete this form.

We will have individual conversations with you should your first preference be oversubscribed.

Travel and Insurance


You will be given Euro275 from Erasmus+ towards your travel costs. You will be expected to investigate and ideally use low carbon travel options.  Previous trainees have taken the bus from London to Lisbon (36hours).  The most important thing is that you arrive at the meeting point in Hungary on time. We will advise you of the exact meeting place nearer the time. If you are late you may miss the start of the mobility and we may require a return of Erasmus+  funds.


The project will continue Euro45 towards the cost of personal medical and equipment insurance cover which you must have in place (and a copy of the certificate must be with Ambios Ltd) before you go.

Accommodation, local transport and food

Accommodation is in a converted town house right next to the River Sorraia in the town of Coruche.  It is used by visiting researchers, volunteers with whom we may share some of our time.  It offers basic yet comfortable shared sleeping accommodation in bunk bed style (4 persons per room) with communal bathrooms and cooking facilities.  There is a washing machine for washing clothes and places to sit and relax during downtimes.  The location provides an ideal place from which to explore the surrounding countryside and river system.

Transport will be in local cars/local government minibus and most journey are relatively short (c. 30-45mins).

Food will be prepared by two trainees cooking for the rest of the team on a rota basis. Washing up will be done by two other people. Both activities will rotate around the group throughout the field trip time. The small kitchen has a hob, oven, microwave, toaster and kettle.

Lunch and breakfast can be prepared together or separately. There is a water filter in one of the rooms for trainees to refill water bottles.  We encourage a vegetarian diet for a more sustainable way of eating, but if a few trainees agree they would like to have meat or fish, this can be arranged. If specific ingredients are needed, please ask. As little food waste as possible is encouraged.  If any trainee has a food allergy and would feel more comfortable preparing their food separately, please let us know.

Indicative Content

Over the duration of the 2-week work-based training with Ambios Portugal the following areas of learning will be covered.

  • Orientation: Who are Ambios Portugal?; brief history of Coruche; showing the trainees around the village (ATM, Health Centre, Mini-markets, view-point, river path); showing trainees area of residence during their stay; showing the trainees the urban garden (hopefully it will be up and running at this point!)
  • Bird ID skills + theory (focused on diurnal birds): binoculars, vocalizations, survey methods
  • Bird ID skills +theory (focused on nocturnal birds): vocalizations, survey methods
  • Bird ringing: theory and practice, legislation
  • Nocturnal surveys: bats, moths, owls
  • Diurnal surveys: birds, invertebrates (observation, pit fall traps, and net dipping), plants
  • Camera trapping
  • Analysis of owl pellets, and invertebrate pit-fall and camera-trap results
  • There may also be a opportunity to contribute to the new herbarium plant press
  • Trainees perform ‘outdoor talks’ about what they have learned
  • There will also be an opportunity to develop your own nature journal

Kit list: We recommend you take the following items:

We recommend you bring the following items:

  • Head torchand spare batteries
  • Good waterproof coat and trousers– please be aware that shorts are not a great idea for fieldwork and that you should consider bringing more than one pair of long trousers!
  • Sturdy walking boots
  • Slippers for around the accommodation
  • Wash kit
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle
  • Plastic box for lunchtime food
  • Laptop or tablet (optional)
  • Mobile telephoneand charger
  • Adaptor from EU to UK electrics
  • Binoculars!
  • Pen, pencil and note book
  • Bird field guide – we recommend the Collins bird guide
  • Spending money
  • Camera (optional), with charger leads
  • Passport
  • EHIC card
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Sun cream, Sun hat, sun glasses
  • Mosquito repellent, bite and sting cream (just in case) and consider a head net or similar.

No need to bring:

  • Towels!



Before your trip we’ll have a Zoom meeting where you can:

  • Meet your fellow participants
  • Hear more about your host organisation and logistics
  • Discuss the kit list
  • See how the paperwork bit works
  • Understand how our system of support works

Post Mobility

Following your mobilities you’ll receive certificates from the Barn Owl Foundation and Europass.  Once you’ve completed the final part of your on-line learning and returned any equipment we have lent you, you’ll receive further recognition via an e-badge which can be shared on professional and social media.

How to Apply

Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To indicate your preference for Host country and cohort dates please follow this link to our Country and Dates preferences questions which can be found here.  We’ll then get in touch with you to move things forward.

Ambios Ltd are committed to protecting your personal data and working in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. Will will never sell your data to anyone. Your data will be used for contacting you about this course and may be used to make you aware of other similar offers. You can opt out at any time via an email to with ‘Opt Out’ in the subject line.