Portugal is a country with enormous potential for birding.
The Mainland Portugal bird list includes more than 400 species. This rich biodiversity is reflective of Portugal’s geographical position (Lisbon is about 38º N) and means that there is an abundance of species always present in each season; wintering species from the north, fascinating Mediterranean resident species and a range of passage migrants and breeding birds from sub-Saharan Africa.
Continental Portugal has a long coastline and an enormous Zone of Economic Exclusivity; access to these brings a feast of seabirds and passage migrants.
Despite being a relative small country, Portugal boosts an excellent range of habitats from wetlands, estuaries and saline flats, to wooded hills, steppe-like plains and rocky outcrops.
With its agreeable climate (warm summers and mild winters), a remarkable range of habitats and abundant natural space, Portugal provides an exciting and enriching birding experience at any time.
Lisbon is an excellent point of departure for visiting some of the best areas to observe birds in Portugal.
In fact, Lisbon is the only European capital located near such a rich Bird & Nature hotspot – the Tagus estuary.
This estuary, the most important protected bird area in Portugal and one of the most important ones in Europe, is a mere 20 minutes from Lisbon, yet is replete with excellent bird sites, such as Hortas, Pancas, Barroca d’Alva and Ponta da Erva, to mention just a few. There you can find estuarine habitat, marshes, saline flats, rice fields, reed beds, pasture and wooded hills, all within a few kilometres.
Another wetland area, the Sado estuary, lies a little more than 30 minutes from Lisbon and is also a superb birding area.
Birds & Nature offers half day and full day field tours to these two estuaries, but of course is happy to guide birders to more distant alternatives, for whole day excursions or even longer periods, namely to specific sites in the Alentejo or in the Algarve areas; tailor-made alternatives are also available.
Tours normally commence between 07h30 and 08h30 and, for full day tours, return between 18h30 and 20h30, depending upon season. For the Alentejo and the Algarve tours an early start and late finish is desirable. Half-day tours end at about 13h00 for morning tours and start at around 14h00 for afternoon tours.
To some extent timing can be adjusted to suite the client.
Transport for participants is organized by Birds & Nature from Lisbon (hotel pick up and drop off) in air conditioned vehicles with a capacity of 7. Of course smaller groups as well as individuals are welcome.
Quality binoculars, telescopes and field guides are available.
Each tour is carefully planned to optimise your experience of birds in their natural habitats and we endeavour to ensure that you get up close and personal with some of the most elusive species in Europe. As access for many sites is limited or restricted, Birds & Nature works with many of the authorising authorities to ensure you have every opportunity to see the birds you most want to watch.
During the trips organized by Birds & Nature, every effort is made to accommodate birders specializing in photography and frequent stops are made for photo-opportunities.
With our tours directed at specific locations which are reached by car, the amount of walking is normally restricted to relatively short distances, requiring no special level of physical fitness.
We recommend that participants should wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking in the country-side, bearing in mind that summers can be hot and winters can be rainy. It is also sensible to bring a water and sun block.
The prices quoted for the tours include guide, transport (including fuel, tolls and pick up and drop off in Lisbon), free use of optical equipment, participant’s accident insurance, entrance fees for entry to private or protected areas (when applicable) and VAT.
Lunch is not included, but we are happy to arrange a picnic or restaurant lunch on request.
Birds & Nature Tours is a registered tourism company (RNAAT nº 25/2008 - Turismo de Portugal I.P.)
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