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Birding in the Algarve & Alentejo (3200G)

Tavira
Guided Tour Birding In The Algarve & Alentejo (3200G) - Birding in the Algarve & Alentejo
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Description

GUIDED TOUR
Cape St Vincent, Alentejo, Castro Marim Nature Reserve and a boat trip in the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve


The Algarve is rightly famed for its golden sandy beaches, golf courses and wonderful year round climate but is still a secret destination for great birding. The region has a wonderful variety of birds and many places where you can go and find them and provides top-class birding at almost any time of the year.

Its wonderful variety of habitats and geographical location attract a wealth of breeding and wintering species and at migration times it is an important stopover area for countless birds making their way to or from Africa.

This is an 8 days birdwatching tour in the Algarve and Alentejo with excursions in search of southern Portugal’s resident and migrant birds. This tour has been specifically chosen to give you the chance of enjoying the very best of the bird life in the South of Portugal.
Highlights
  • Traditional Saltpans
Numerous tanks, channels, creeks and drainage ditches form the Salinas where salt is manually harvested. In autumn and winter the large tanks attract large numbers of waterfowl and are a popular high tide roost for waders and gulls, and Greater Flamingos can usually be found.

Except in high summer the most numerous species are usually Avocets, Dunlin, Sanderling and Black-tailed Godwits. But look carefully as it was in this area that a rare long-billed Dowitcher was once found. Slender-billed, Mediterranean and Audouin’s Gulls can often be found amongst the countless Lesser Black-backs. This is also a good place to find one or two Caspian Terns roosting and in the breeding season Little Terns should also be here.
  • Ria Formosa Natural Park
The park is an area of approximately 40 hectares comprising salt marsh, saltpans, Mediterranean scrub and pine forest, freshwater lagoons, beaches and mudflats. With such a range of habitats it is possible to see a wide range of bird species. If you are visiting in the spring look out for orchids in the wooded areas and in the summer months look out for Mediterranean Chameleon.
  • Castro Marim
Reserva Natural do Sapal de Castro Marim e Vila Real de Santo Antonio is 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 1,000 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.
  • Special Protection Area Castro Verde
A vast area of rolling steppe land, that throughout the year is enchanting, both for the birds species and the outstanding scenery, coated with wildflowers in the winter and spring. This is one of the most important areas in Europe for sought after species like Lesser Kestrel, Great and Little Bustards and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. The area also supports a great diversity and high density of raptors.
  • Cape St. Vicent
Cape St. Vincent is one of the key points for migration routes, with a large concentration of soaring birds and migratory passerines. It is also the only place in Europe where the White Stork nests in cliffs and rocky islets
  • Bird photography
Oppotunity to take excellent photos of the birds, flora and of the stunning scenic views.
  • Tavira 
Tavira still is an unspoiled jewel at the eastern end of the Algarve. Located about 20 miles from the border with Spain it is an old, attractive fishing town, which still retains its original charm. Fishing is still a mainstay of the local economy and the fishing boats are moored just beyond the old market. Sometimes referred to as the Venice of the Algarve, with some fine Renaissance architecture, numerous churches, tree-lined squares and a certain romantic air. You will find fine examples of medieval houses complete with Gothic windows and doorways.
Itinerary

WEEK’S PROGRAM

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.


DAY 1

Arrival

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.


DAY 2

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.


DAY 3

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.


DAY 4

Free Day

You can relax in your hotel or take the chance to know a little better the Algarve, with a half-day/day tour. Check here some activities to prebook.


DAY 5

Castro Verde

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.


DAY 6

Castro Marim

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.


DAY 7

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.


DAY 8

Departure

Free time until departure.
The Hotels
  • Hotel Maria Nova Lounge Adults Only **** (or similar)
Located a 5-minute walk from Tavira’s bustling town centre, Maria Nova Lounge Hotel – Adults Only enjoys a quiet hillside location. Its modern rooms feature a private balcony. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools.

The rooms are decorated with tiled floors, wooden furniture, and large windows. All rooms have panoramic views, a minibar, satellite TV, and an en suite bathroom.

The Bar Panorâmico offers an extensive list of cocktails and stunning views over Tavira.
What's Included

Accommodation:
  • 7 nights in a twin room (four stars hotel)
  • Single supplement applied in single rooms
Guide:
  • All guided tours
Meals:
  • 7 Dinners taken in local restaurants with drinks included. We are always able to cater for vegetarian or other special diets (Lunches can be bought from local shops)
  • 7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel.
Transport:
  • Tranfers from Faro airport at 12 a.m on first day
  • Tranfers from the Hotel to Faro airport at 12 a.m on last day
  • All land travel (as outlined)
  • Dedicated driver and guide
Not Included
  • Any services not listed as included
  • Flights to and from Portugal 
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments
More Info

The land only option allows you to book your own transport to and from the holiday. You will normally meet the group at the arrival airport at 12 a.m as long as you arrive there no later than the group. Similarly, on the way home you can return to the airport with the group as long as your departure time is no earlier than that of the group.

This guided tour already includes a transfer departing from Faro airport at 12 a.m on arrival and returning to Faro airport at 12 a.m on the last day.

If none of this option suits you, please add to your booking a transfer that does. You can also rent a car.

To this tour we only accept transfers departing from Faro Airport or Faro.

Departure dates:
  • ON REQUEST