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Day-tours - Birdwatching Algarve

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I offer Guided half-day or full-day Tours in all Algarve and parts of the interior Alentejo-region.

Tours can be tailor made, either for single/private parties or for groups. For further info, please send me an e-mail.

Areas of main interest include:

Steppe-like Plains of the Southern Alentejo:
The rolling plains form a vast ocean of grassland, flowers and cereal fields with some scattered Holm-oak trees. White stork nesting is widespread, often accompanied by Spanish Sparrows. Great and Little Bustards can be spotted, and Black-shouldered Kite, European Roller, Western Rufous Scrub-Robin (May-August), Calandra Lark, Lesser Kestrel, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Montagu´s Harriers breed. Griffon- and Eurasian Black Vultures occur from spring to autumn and the Golden Eagle, as well as the Spanish Imperial Eagle hunt in the area. Cranes overwinter, as well as large numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover.

Coastal wetlands of the Algarve:
The Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, with its channels, salt marshes and salt flats – as well as other lagoons and estuaries – is home to Flamingos, Spoonbills, Egrets as well as various waders and waterfowl. Purple Gallinule and Azure-winged Magpie are typical, summer-birds include Collared Pratincole, Little Bittern and Red-necked Nightjar as well as Audouins- and Slender-billed Gulls. Wintering of Booted Eagle, Osprey, Black-shouldered Kite, Blue-Throat and Penduline Tit is common. Raritys with some regularity include Richard´s Pipit, Red-knobbed Coot and others.

Cape-area near Sagres:
Particular good during autumn migration (Sept-November).
The Sagres-Peninsula is the most southwestern point of continental Europe and is situated within the Natural Park of the west-coast. The cape of Sagres and Cabo São Vicente is dominated by high sea cliffs and rocky plateaus, with a unique alpine-like vegetation, including a dozen of endemic plant species. In the hinterland, open srubland and heathland-like areas, known as “Garrigue” form the main habitat, as well as fields, farmland and Pine forest.
The area is most known as a hot-spot for bird-migration, particularly during September and October, when 15 or more species of birds of prey can be observed here in one day, and on strong migration days, hundreds of Booted Eagles (Aquila pennata) and dozens of Black Kites (Milvus migrans), Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) and Sparrow Hawks (Accipiter nisus) can be seen from a watchpoint. Rarer, but regularly seen are Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) or Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciatus) and later in the season, also Red Kite (Milvus milvus), and single Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) as well as hundreds of Griffon Vultures (Gyps vulvus) occur, the latter ones often accommpanied by single Rüppell's Vultures (Gyps rueppellii) or Eurasian Black Vultures (Aegypius monachus).
Parallel, a strong Passerine-migration takes place, numbers of birds depending on wind- and weather conditions. Among the main species are the Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus), Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), Melodius Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta) and Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans), among the most common species in scrubland and forest-habitat, while Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava ssp.), Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla), Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) and Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) are found in the open countryside. Earlier in the season, Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus), Eurasian Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) and Western Bonelli´s Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli) pass through the area among others.
Rarer, but regularly, are records of European Roller (Coracias garrulus), Eurasian Dottorel (Charadrius morinellus), Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) and Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi). Rarities are found frequently and included in recent years: White-rumped Swift (Apus caffer), Little Swift (Apus affinis), Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) and Moussier's Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri).
Resident breeders in the area include among others: Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax), Stone Curlew (Burinhus oedicnemus), Red-billed Cough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristoteles), Blue Rock-Thrush (Monticola solitatius), Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata), Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae), Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) and Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).
Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata), Tawny Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus), Alpine Swift (Apus melba) and Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla) are breeding summer visitors.
Wintering birds include: Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) and Eurasian Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Razorbill (Alca torda) and in some winters, Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer), Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima), Eurasian Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria), Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi) and Eurasian Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus) more the resident bird species mentioned above.

Seawatching in the cape area:
The cape is one of the best seawatching-spots in this part of Europe. The best time of the year for pelagic boat-trips or observing with a telescope from the cliffs in the cape-area is between late summer and autumn, when the East Atlantic Flyway brings huge numbers of seabirds from the north passing along the Portuguese west-cost down to Africa. A second major migration-route goes in- and out the Mediterranean Sea mixing with the former one and the food-rich waters around the cape invite seabirds to stay, depending on local wind- and weather conditions. Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) is one of the most impressive and most Common seabirds in the area. When migration peaks, 2000-3000 Individuals per hour pass by just a few hundred meters of the cape.
All 4 Skua-species occur, Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) beeing the most common one, including wintering birds. Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia) and Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) are generally the most common Shearwaters, but Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) and Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are recorded here every autumn. European Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) and during summer until the end of September, the Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) both are common. From October onwards, Leach's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorrhoa) is possible. Records of rare “tubenoses” include Barolo's Shearwater (Puffinus baroli) and Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii).
Among the Auks, Razorbill (Alca torda) winters in the area, while Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) and Atlantik Puffin (Fratercula arctica) occur as migrants. Sabine's Gulls (Xema sabini) and in some winters, north Atlantik Gull-species, like Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) or Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) are seen, just to name a few of various Gull-species. Among the equaly diverse Terns, Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicencis), Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) and Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisea) are frequent. Other regular migratory seabirds in the area include the Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) and the Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra).
The area holds also good numbers of Cetaceans, like the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus) or the Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and even sightings of Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) and Minke Whale  (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) exist.

Pelagic Boat trips:
All marine species mentioned above principaly occur also all along the Algarve coast and might be observed (depending on the season and the weather conditions) during a seawatching session from land, or better, on a boat-trip, just a few miles out to the sea. For instance, both has been found well worth doing, out Ria Formosa, in the central- or eastern Algarve. Therefore I offer Pelagic boat-trips together with the boat-operator "Passeios Ria Formosa" in Fuzeta (east-Algarve, between Olhão and Tavira). The main season therefore is late May to November. Minimum number: 4 participants. For further Info, click here.

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