Besides the sites already detailed, we can also guide you to other sites in the Algarve, including Lagoa dos Salgados, Ria de Alvor, Sagres/Cape St. Vincent and Serra de Monchique, all in the western or northern Algarve.
Lagoa dos Salgados is a magnificent coastal wetland which provides excellent conditions for birdwatching. Depending on water levels, it supports masses of waterbirds. Greater Flamingos have attempted to breed recently and Ferruginous Ducks breed in some years. The number of species of ducks, waders, gulls, terns and other aquatic species on a single day can easily exceed 50. Regular visitors, in varying numbers, include Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Heron, Western Swamphen, Western Marsh Harrier, Audouin’s Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Caspian Tern and Bluethroat.
Ria de Alvor is another coastal site that comprises a large tidal lagoon, into which two rivers flow, and associated salt marsh and mudflats. Access is through orchards, arable land, meadows and nearby salt pans. Greater Flamingos are normally present, except in the height of summer, although even then a few immatures may remain. Black-winged Stilts and Pied Avocets patrol open areas of water in the saltmarsh while the mudflats attract Eurasian Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Eurasian Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling and Common Greenshank, among others. Sandbars that remain above most high tides are favoured by Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls which need to be scanned for regular Audouin’s and Mediterranean Gulls and Caspian Terns at appropriate seasons. Away from the shore, Little Owl, Eurasian Hoopoe, Iberian Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Bluethroat and Eurasian Serin are all regular.
The headland at Cape St. Vincent, which lies within the huge Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, is the most south-westerly point of continental Europe. Its majestic sea cliffs are not only scenically grand, they also provide the best sea-watching location from land anywhere in the Algarve. Northern Gannets and Cory’s Shearwaters are common, the endangered Balearic Shearwater passes in small numbers and there is a chance of Sooty and Great Shearwaters and skuas. From mid-August to the beginning of November raptor passage is in full swing and it is possible to record 15 species of birds of prey in a day. Egyptian Vulture, European Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, all pass overhead in considerable numbers and among them there may be a Black Stork or two. Most impressive is the Eurasian Griffon Vulture flock that congregates in most years, generally in October. Then several hundred, and often substantially more, are a regular occurrence and in recent years up to three Ruppell’s Vultures have been found among them. Add to this resident Red-billed Chough and Blue Rock Thrush, wintering Alpine Accentor and Richard’s Pipit and breeding Spectacled Warbler and Cape St. Vincent becomes a birding site not to be missed.
For a complete change, a trip to the ‘mountains’, to Monchique and Fóia (the Algarve’s highest point at 902 m) can be combined with a wetland site such as Lagoa dos Salgados or Ria de Alvor. In addition to spectacular views to the coast that alone make Monchique worth a visit, the wooded slopes are alive with bird song in spring. Rock Bunting is the speciality of the barren, rocky outcrops and raptors, including Bonelli’s Eagle, are possible.
For all these sites we only offer full day tours and are delighted to send you a quotation for each, or for a combination of these places.