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Birdwatching in Lisbon and its Surroundings

Do you like birdwatching? Have you ever been to Lisbon? Would you like to combine both and visit a city that is full of birds as well as the most accessible birdwatching sanctuary in Europe, the Tagus Birdwatching estuary?
Yes, this site is located just across the Vasco da Gama bridge, a beautifully arched bridge which links Lisbon and the south margin of the Tagus river. This is Portugal’s largest wetland area and one of the most important ones in Europe. It occupies an area of approx. 14.000 he, specifically created to protect populations of aquatic birds (though there are many non-wetland birds too). In winter, one can find many hundreds of waders, waterfowl and other aquatic species. During the summer, the estuary is alive with breeding species usually associated with the Mediterranean such as the Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, the Purple Heron and many others. Put together, the greater Tagus estuary includes more than 250 species including the Greater Flamingos. But if you would like to combine tourism with birdwatching, then you should explore Lisbon, its attractions and parks.
First of all, book yourself a room at Browns Boutique Hotel & Apartments, a trendy hotel in the heart of old Lisbon. The next day walk till Cais do Sodré (15 minute walk) and start looking for Common Startlings, Pallid Swifts and Black-headed Gulls. At Cais do Sodré train station, pick the train that runs along the so-called Portuguese Riviera, which ends in Cascais. Explore its seafront and have lunch at any restaurant facing its incredibly blue bay and marina. On your way back, stop at Alcântara. Get yourself a taxi and ask to be taken to Tapada da […]

December 12, 2014|

Rare species of birds in Portugal

Birdwatching is one of Portugal’s most interesting activities. Doubtless an off-the-beaten track spot to watch birds in Portugal, only the curious and the lucky ones know the surprises and the rarities this country holds. A paradise for us and a paradise for those visiting us, Portugal gathers some of Europe’s best conditions to watch for your favourite birds.
The fact that Portugal is on the migratory route of many species between Africa and Europe, makes it a perfect location for excellent birdwatching. Another of Portugal’s greatest advantages is the fact that most birds can be observed within relatively short distances, as the country is so small (ca 900 km from North to South).
Roughly, there are 5 main regions for good birdwatching in Portugal: the Lisbon estuary, the Douro, the Tagus river near Spain, the Eastern part of the Algarve and also the interior of the Alentejo, namely the Mértola and Castro Verde region (check our guided visits to the Lisbon and Mértola sanctuaries). Apart from the about 360 species which are regularly spotted in our territory, please find a list of the rare species that have been spotted / recorded in the last few years:
a) in the Lisbon estuary: Ring-billed Gull, Marbled Teal Bittern, Bean Goose, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, Great Northern Diver; Brent Goose, Herring Gull and Richard’s Pipit;
b) in the Douro: Larus Glaucoides, Larus Philadelphia, Larus Hyperboreus, Larus Argentatus and Clangula Hyemalis; c) Interior Alentejo: Snow Bunting (for the first time), Long-legged Buzzard, Ruddy Duck, Sociable Plover, Glaucous Gull and Red-throated diver;
c) in the Algarve: Green-winged Teal (first time in the Algarve), Ruddy Shelduck, Rock Pipit, Slavonian Grebe (first time in the Algarve), Ferruginous Duck and Glaucous Gull (first time in the Algarve). And many […]

November 1, 2014|

Birdwatching @ off the beaten track Algarve

A very scenic landscape and a high number of bird habitats, make Portugal a country “par excellence” for the practice of birdwatching. Besides, Portugal is crossed by various migrating bird species twice a year. Attracted by our countryside, they choose to “rest” and nest in our plains, marshlands and hills on their way to Africa and back.
One of Portugal’s best regions for bird watching is the Castro Marim Marshland Nature Reserve and Ria Formosa Reserve. Unique species and sign-posted footpaths await organized groups or individuals looking for their favourite birds. This is remote Algarve territory, a region where tourism is scarce as well as home to a large wetland area where species that are nowhere else to be found in Portugal may be spotted and hopefully (!) captured on camera. Official information boasts the possibility of watching 60 different species in a single day! Examples are: the spectacled warbler, lesser short-toed lark, great spotted cuckoo, Montagu’s harrier, greater flamingo, spoonbill, black-tailed godwit, black-necked grebe, caspian tern and slender-billed gull. Many birds also nest here, such as the pied avocets, stone curlews, black-winged stilts and little bustards.
To stay in the region, we recommend the trendy Praia Verde Boutique Hotel. Very near these reserves, with an impeccable service, charming, renovated premises and a never ending white sanded beach, you will have the time of your life.
For further birdwatching, you only have to drive up to Mértola and Castro Verde (already described in the Birdwatching in the Sublime Alentejo Plains article).

September 23, 2014|