Watching The Blue Skies Of Monte Gordo – 3200S

Self-Drive Birdwatching

From 395.00 pp

Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

Availability: January - December

Watching The Blue Skies Of Monte Gordo is a 5 days Self-Drive Birdwatching Tour, designed by professional local birders. The Algarve is so much more than miles of golden beaches, golf courses and wonderful year round climate! It is still a largely unknown destination for great birding, and at almost any time of the year there is something of interest to see!

Highlights

  • Spectacular birding and nature observation in the Ria Formosa Natural Park
  • Visit the Castro Marim Natural Reserve and other wet areas
  • Traditional Saltpans with numerous tanks, channels, creeks, and drainage ditches, where salt is manually harvested.
  • Opportunity to observe the Great Bustard in one of the few places in Europe where they live and breed in large flocks
  • Abundant species: Oystercatchers, Avocets, Dunlins, Little Stint, Wigeon, Sholever, Pintail, Pochard, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Black-winged Kite, Caspian Tern, Bluethroat, Penduline Tit, Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Collared Pratincole, Audouin’s Gull, Little Tern, Eurasian Thick-knee, Little Bustard, Pallid Swift, Spectacled Warbler, European Bee-eater and Black-eared Wheatear.
  • The amazing Portuguese gastronomy and wines
  • Includes all the information and services you need, from detailed route notes to a 24h hotline

Watching The Blue Skies Of Monte Gordo is a 5 days Self-Drive Birdwatching Tour, designed by professional local birders. The Algarve is so much more than miles of golden beaches, golf courses and wonderful year round climate! It is still a largely unknown destination for great birding, and at almost any time of the year there is something of interest to see!

This is a birding tour based in some important wetlands areas in the Algarve, including the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Guadiana Estuary, and the Castro Marim Natural Reserve, and counts with an excursion to the Alentejo, to observe the elusive Great Bustard, one of the world’s heaviest birds.

The tour is designed to help you see as much of the avifauna and flora as possible, with carefully detailed instructions and route notes.

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 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.

The area 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 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 organised! The tour is designed to be enjoyed no matter your level of birding ability and expertise.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival at Faro Airport and rent-a-car pick up

Individual arrival to Faro Airport and rent-a-car vehicle pick up. Drive to Monte Gordo.

 

Day 2 – Guadiana Estuary & Castro Marim Natural Reserve

Born in the Spanish hills, the Guadiana River extends over 810km until it reaches the sea and marks the border between Vila Real De Santo António and Ayamonte.
The river 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, in the National Forest of the Maritime Dunes of Vila Real de Santo António, the tranquillity of the green “3 Pauzinhos” Trail presents the visitors with glimpses of European Goldfinches, Short-toed Tree Creepers and Sardinian warblers, just to name a few.
At the “Cerro do Bufo” 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.
The saltmarsh and the salt-pans are located near the Interpretative Centre/Headquarters for the Castro Marim Nature Reserve and are the best place to observe Caspian Tern, Common Redshank and Black-winged Stilt. According to registered observations, there have been recent sightings of Red-necked Phalarope in this area.

 

Day 3 – Tavira  and Olhão

There are many paths to explore around the Salinas and birds can be found on any of the pans depending on the state of the tide and the season.
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.
Except for a few weeks in late summer you should see White Storks on or around their nests which are easy to spot atop the tall chimneys.
The Quinta de Marim 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.
Forte do Rato is a good place from which to watch birds on the muddy channel at low tide. The Salinas are best visited at high tide when waders and gulls move from the channels which are inundated by the tide.
The Santa Luzia salt-pans and saltmarshes attract a wide range of birds according to season. 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 Nightjars, Little Terns, Avocets and Kentish Plovers.
Notes: Should you be interested, an optional 1h30m bird watching boat trip is offered on this day at 10h45am (costs not included).

 

Day 4 – Castro Verde

In Castro Verde the main target is the Great Bustard, one of the world’s heaviest birds. It inhabits a huge area of uniform countryside in the Baixo Alentejo and can sometimes be difficult to see. 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 5 – Individual departure or extra days (on request)

Info

Hotel Baia de Monte Gordo

Hotel Baia de Monte Gordo

Hotel

Hotel Baia de Monte Gordo (3***) or similar

In the centre of the beautiful Monte Gordo village, 200m away from the sea, the modern Hotel Baía de Monte Gordo*** offers simply decorated rooms with balconies, air conditioning, LCD TV with satellite channels, electronic locks, safe, Wi-Fi in all rooms, telephone with outside line and equipped bathroom with tub and hairdryer.
The top floor of the hotel features an outdoor pool with a retractable roof surrounded by a breath taking panoramic view.
The hotel’s restaurant provides typical local dishes as well as international cuisine, served with a wide range of drinks, including local wines.

What's included

Accommodation

  • 4 nights in a twin room for two pax (3 stars hotel)
  • Single supplement available with a surcharge
  • Extra nights available on request

Meals

  • 4 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel
  • Half-board available with surcharge (buffet dinner at the hotel without drinks)

Transport

  • Rental car vehicle (class A with ABS, 4 seats and 3 doors)
    Your car rental includes unlimited mileage, insurance (except Excess and TWL), and 24h Travelling Assistance
  • Rental car upgrade and extras available on request, with extra costs

Your information pack includes

  • Accommodation vouchers
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • General information about your holiday
  • List of species more common and where to find them
  • List of hotel(s)
  • Directions for arriving at your first hotel, if applicable
  • Detailed maps and route notes in your own mobile with App Routes & Maps (or detailed travel documents 1x per room)
  • Foreign Office Travel Advice
  • Assistance 24/7

Exclusions

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

Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our Guided and Self-Guided holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.

BeCool Travel has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you travelling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travellers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses.

Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.