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Birding in the Algarve (3100G)

Tavira
Guided Tour Birding In The Algarve (3100G) - Birding in the Algarve
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Description

GUIDED TOUR
Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, Castro Marim Natural Reserve, Ludo & Quinta do Lago

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. At almost any time of the year there is something of interest to see.

This is a birding tour based in the Ria Formosa Natural Park (RFNP) and is designed to help you see as much of the avifauna and flora as possible. We’ll also take you to several wetland areas west of the RFNP, Ludo and Quinta do Lago, and to East Castro Marim Natural Reserve.

The RFNP covers an area of around 16,000-hectares stretching from Manta Rota in the east to Ancão beach 60km west. The Ria consists of coastal lagoons, vast areas of tidal flats, saltmarsh and saltpans that are enclosed by a belt of sand dune islands and peninsulas. It is of particular importance as a wintering area for many birds from northern Europe and as a resting and feeding station for birds migrating between Africa and Europe. Classified as Nature Reserve in the 70s, this protection status was elevated to a Natural Park in 1987. The Ria Formosa is also classified under the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance and as a Special Protection Area under the EU Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

Amongst those occurring in notable numbers are Black-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers and Little Stints. There is also a diverse population of breeding birds that includes Little Bittern, Purple Swamp-hen, Purple Heron, Red-crested Pochard, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, European Bee-eater, Red-necked Nightjar, Woodchat and Southern Grey Shrikes and Little Tern. Marsh Harriers are resident as are a small number of Booted Eagles, now a regular sight in winter. To the west is the largest area of reed beds in the Algarve, where in season, Ferruginous Duck, Purple Heron, Black-winged Kite, Penduline Tits and Black-headed Weaver can be found.
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
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.

  • Bird photography 
Oppotunity to take excellent photos of the birds, flora and of the stunning scenic views.
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

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 4

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 5

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:
  • 4 nights in a twin room (four stars hotel)
  • Single supplement applied in single rooms
Guide:
  • All guided tours
Meals:
  • 4 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)
  • 4 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