Portugal from Lisbon to the Algarve

Autumn 2019 

A paradise for ornithologists and nature photography

Day 1- Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado

My first night was near Grandola. From here I started in the morning the next day and headed towards the national park, Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado. Here I drove along the peninsula on the N253-1. Here you have a wonderful view of the Atlantic in the west and in the east of the inner water, which is a protected wetland in 1980 with hiking trails and a large variety of birds. In the north lies Setubal, a port town. (More on this on the last day of travel).

Here I was lucky enough to discover an Iberian shrike. This species is more pink in color on the chest than the northern gray shrike.

I also discovered our native species, the black calyx (Saxicola rubicola).

In the further course I saw a wide variety of water and rivers, such as the stilt, greenshank, redshank etc. but also many storks and buzzards. Below you can see an extract of the pictures in the photo album!

Storks. On the way on the IC1 in the direction of Castro Verde I saw an old holm oak tree with really many stork nests that had been built by different generations and could tell many stories.

Almost arrived in Castro Verde, I discovered a snake in the middle of a street, which of course I didn't want to run over. I turned and parked my rented vehicle on the street and helped the queue off the street. It turned out that it was a slightly poisonous western lizard snake.

Pictures day 1

Rothuhn (Alectoris rufa)
Rothuhn (Alectoris rufa)

Day 2- from Castro Verde to Castro Marim (Algarve)

On the second day we went from Castro Verde to Castro Marim. The Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana is reached via the N123. The area was designated as a national park in 1995 and covers an area of ​​approximately 70,000 hectares. The aim of the protection is to protect the landscape of the Guadian Valley and the history of the two cities in the park. A new EU project was started here with the aim of reintroducing the Iberian lynx. Here I was able to photograph deer and the red partridge. From there via the IC27 to Castro Marim. The aforementioned medieval castle is located about four kilometers north of Vila Real de Santo António, opposite the Spanish city of Ayamonte. The Castro covers a hill on a branch of the Guadiana into which the Ribeira da Rio Seco flows. Originally, a bay that is now silted up reached the hill of the city of Castro Marim. From the top of the castle you have a very nice view towards the Atlantic Ocean and across to Spain, but also (which was of course of interest to me) the view over the Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve with an area of ​​30 hectares. Here I was hoping to see my first flamingo in its original habitat.

At the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve

Day 3- Ria Formosa Natural Park

Driving along the Algarve coast is sure to bring more out of the holiday season. It is much quieter, few vacationers get lost here at this time of the year. It is now winter for the locals, some of them wear sweaters and winter jackets, while I am only wearing a t-shirt at 22C. walk around to visit the many nature parks. On the 3rd day I visited the Ria Formosa Nature Park, among other things. The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is a natural park around a lagoon in the southern Portuguese Algarve. With a protected area of ​​170 km², the lagoon is one of the largest protected lagoon areas in Europe. Here you pay 2 euros entry and can then drive your car into the guarded parking lot. You also receive a map with the hiking trails and the viewing platforms. The variety in the area is very interesting, from forest-like to brackish water and a freshwater pond. Actually, I came here to see the purple pond hen, but you won't show up that day.

I continued towards Sagres Fortress. Known for its cliffs and surfing paradises. I came to see the northern gannets, but they were probably out at sea. However, I was lucky enough to discover a few other species that were new to me


Day 5- To Castelo de Noudar and Castro Verde

Along the N125, IC1 and IP8 via Castelo de Noudar to Castro Verde

The next day I drove again in the direction of Castro Verde, as my destination had not yet been reached. I was still looking for the sliding head. This time, however, I drove a different route. There are said to be many cattle egrets in the hinterland of the Algarve. Since I have already been able to photograph almost all heron species from Europe, I was still missing this one species that does not occur in Austria, or very rarely. Once I discovered a specimen at Lake Neusiedl, but far too far away. But this was a lasting impression that I really wanted to experience. Now the opportunity was given and on to Castro Verde in search of the glider. Also a kind that doesn't exist in Austria.

In the hinterland of the Algarve I drove along the N125 and I was lucky enough to see many cattle egrets and a hunting buzzard.

Day 6- The last day of this wonderful journey

From Castro Verde my next destination is Lisbon. For the last day I stay at the Parque Natural da Arrábida just next to Setubal.

This park covers an area of 10,800 hectares and is located between Sesimbra and Setubal. However, I visited another park near the small town of San Sebastiao. There is salt production here. In these salt basins are water striders and flamingos. But I was looking for the bald ibis. However, the change is very small to see this because it is very rare. But still at least caught in flight. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate that day, there was a strong breeze and it was raining.

My tour
My tour