Each day breakfast will be taken in the Hotel before leaving for the day’s program.
We will usually leave the Hotel between 9.00 am and 9.30am.
On our return to the Hotel each day we will have time to relax and change before dinner which is usually taken at 7.30pm.
Each evening the guide will give a preview of the next day’s program.
Day’s program is subject to alteration due to weather and local conditions.
Arrival to Hotel Maria Nova, Tavira. Free time until evening meeting (the Tour Guide will give a preview of next day's programme) and dinner.
Tavira Ria Formosa
Tavira is located in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a wetland area of international importance which is recognized under the Ramsar Convention. Salinas and saltmarsh attract a wide range of birds according to season. In autumn and winter bring Spoonbills, hundreds of Greater Flamingos, Audouin’s Gulls and Slender-billed Gulls and as many as 20 species of wading birds, including Stone-curlews. In spring/summer, local breeding species include European Bee-eaters, Red-necked Nightjar, Little Terns, Avocets and Kentish Plovers.
Part of the day will be spent exploring the area on foot; we will also take a boat trip in the Ria Formosa.
Cape St. Vincent
This morning we drive out to Cape St Vincent, the most south-westerly point of mainland Europe where the coastline is formed mainly by rocky cliffs. The landscape here is fairly barren with low bushy vegetation that includes plant species that are endemic to the area. In autumn large numbers of migrant raptors can often be seen, notably Booted Eagles, Short-toed Eagles and Honey-buzzards; large flocks of Griffon Vultures also regularly occur at this time. From the cliff top Gannets can regularly be seen and other seabirds passing off-shore may include Cory's Shearwaters. There is often a small flock of Red-billed Choughs in the area, Blue Rock Thrush and Black Redstart are commonly seen and we would expect to see Thekla Larks.
Today we visit the Castro Verde area where among our targets will be the Great Bustard, one of the world's heaviest flying birds. These birds inhabit a huge area of uniform countryside in the Baixo Alentejo and can sometimes be difficult to see unless you know where to look. Other species that can be found include (according to season) Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark, Lesser Kestrel, European Roller, Griffon Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Red Kite, Black Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Common Crane and Little Bustard. It is also an important breeding area for White Storks. In spring, large areas are carpeted with multi-coloured wildflowers – a truly memorable sight.
A day visiting the local Reserva Natural do Sapal de Castro Marim e Vila Real de Santo Antonio, an enormous area of wetland, saltmarsh and saltpans at the eastern end of the Algarve which is home to a wealth of birdlife. Among the attractions here are Greater Flamingos at least some of which can be found all the year round. As many as 1000 of them may be seen in the winter months. A varied selection of gulls, wildfowl and wading birds can be expected in spring, autumn and winter.
Ludo and Quinta do Lago
Ludo Farm and Quinta do Lago are located west of Faro near to the airport and between them have an excellent mix of habitats including salinas, woodland, reedbeds, and saltmarsh. The lake at Quinta do Lago is well-known as one of the best places in the Algarve to see Purple Swamp-hens but at any time the area is home to an excellent variety of species and in winter thousands of wildfowl and waders are usually present.
Free time until departure.