Portugal’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns to celebrate migration of soaring birds
By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 22/09/2014 – 08:33
The Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns, to the delight of bird lovers and ornithologists, who gather every year to observe the beautiful spectacle of different species flying over the village of Sagres on migration to warmer climates. Thanks to a collaboration between the Vila do Bispo Municipality, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA, BirdLife in Portugal) and the NGO Almargem, the 5th Sagres Birdwatching Festival will be held from 2nd – 5th of October 2014 in this magnificent part of the southern Portuguese region of Algarve, which is home to unique bird species and the perfect place to witness a natural phenomenon that is not easily seen elsewhere in the country.
During the Festival’s four days, many events and activities will serve to highlight the importance of respecting nature and teaching children how even the smallest of species can affect the whole ecosystem. Activities will include birding tours, mini-courses on various topics, boat trips to observe cetaceans and birds out at sea, horse and donkey rides, photography projects and educational workshops for children.
This year, the attention will be focused on the beautiful Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans, a migrant passerine that enriches local wildlife during the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Similarly, sightings of species such as storks, eagles, vultures and falcons will delight visitors, who will also be lucky enough to samplethe excellent regional food.
In the past, this event has gathered around 800 people, drawing public attention to the migration of birds both in Portugal and abroad.
According to Nuno Barros, SPEA’s Marine Programme Assistant at the Department of Marine Conservation, “Sagres Peninsula is one of the most extraordinary places in Europe for birdwatching. Most of the species are in their post-breeding period between August and November. Thousands of migratory birds gather in this place, some on their way to Africa, others as a result of their dispersal to the South.”
The dynamism brought by the festival to this area has created a strong incentive for people to come back at other times of the year; English tourists are especially keen. The beauty of the landscape in the Sagres Peninsula, together with the fascinating natural phenomena and the festive atmosphere, makes this Festival an occasion that no bird lover would want to miss!