Birding Under Blue Skies: The Great Bustard Adventure is a Self-Drive Birdwatching Tour, designed by professional local birders to help you see as much of the avifauna and flora as possible, including the enigmatic Great Bustard! To fully enjoy this personalized tour, you’ll be lodged in the heart of Monte Gordo, with easy access to a wealth of bird observation settings, beyond any birder’s life list!
Between the sandy beaches of the east coast and the Guadiana River, lies a small fisherman’s village. Monte Gordo with its warm weather, traditional roads and shops, sand dunes, pine woods, and famous fresh seafood is a great base for our birdwatching holidays.
Its privileged location near the Guadiana estuary is blessed with special and diverse natural ecosystems, being home to hundreds of bird species, some of them endemic and typical of the Mediterranean habitats.
Based in some important wetlands areas in the Algarve, including the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Guadiana Estuary, and the Castro Marim Natural Reserve, this birding tour counts with an excursion to the Alentejo, to observe the elusive Great Bustard, one of the world’s heaviest birds, and also a free day, to give you the opportunity to explore.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park 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. The area is 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 other species, you can encounter Black-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers, Little Stints, 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. Where in season, Ferruginous Duck, Purple Heron, Black-winged Kite, Penduline Tits, and Blackheaded Weaver can be found.
Born in the Spanish hills, the Guadiana River marks the border between Portugal and Spain and winds its way through hills swathed with rockrose, olive, carob, and almond tree, and the traditional schist houses. The area provides shelter for countless species of fauna and flora.
East of Monte Gordo, the Castro Marim Natural Reserve presents the visitors with glimpses of European Goldfinches, Short-toed Tree Creepers, and Sardinian warblers, just to name a few. At the saltpans it is possible to watch several species of water birds, including the Audouin’s Gull, Little Tern, Collared Pratincole, and Yellow Wagtail (spring/summer); Shelduck, Shoveler, Black-necked Grebe, and Caspian Tern.
All year round it is possible to find Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts, Spoonbills, Greenshanks, and Avocets. Kingfisher is regular at this location and, during migration times, Black Tern often turns up.
This self-guided birdwatching tour will allow you to take your time and engage in the activities of your preference, from the simple pleasure of observing birds in their natural habitats; nature photography in general and bird photography in particular; painting and illustration; scientific research; the pursuit of rarities (twitching), etc.
The observation of and contact with nature are a true balm with countless benefits!
The route notes are designed to be a simple, easy-to-use field guide for all who enjoy watching birds in their natural habitat. Each itinerary is accompanied by a map and a description on how to get there, the most interesting species to be found there, and various tips about the best way to visit.
We’ll make sure you have an unforgettable experience, with no time-consuming search for places to stay, no research on the best birding sites – our tours are complete and most of all perfectly thought through and organized! The tour is designed to be enjoyed no matter your level of birding ability and expertise.