by DAISY SAMPSON
Sagres peninsula is a birdwatching hotspot in Portugal with more than 150 different species passing through the area between August and November.
The natural phenomenon of migration, at its peak in October, is now to be celebrated as a new tourist attraction for the region with the first ever Birdwatching Festival of Sagres being announced by officials from Vila do Bispo Câmara.
This pioneering event, to take place between October 1 and October 3, will be centred in and around Sagres, the primary corridor of migration in Portugal for thousands of birds as they move south in the autumn.
Over the three days of the festival, visitors to Sagres will be able to observe and learn about the different bird species with various activities aimed at ornithologists of all standards, from experienced twitchers to those who are curious to learn more about nature in the Algarve.
Adelino Soares, president of Vila do Bispo Câmara, said: “We have one of the best sites in the country to be able to observe birds and their activities, and we want to further promote this activity as it is an event that will benefit the entire municipality.”
It is hoped that this festival will also act as a new form of sustainable tourism in the region, diverting the focus of the Algarve away from the traditional tourism concept of beach and golf holidays, to it being an area of special interest to naturalists.
Activities will be taking place on land and at sea, with the Primary School in Sagres acting as an operations centre, complete with a reception area and information point.
Some of the events planned for the festival included a night tour from 10pm until midnight on October 1, a course on bird identification on October 2 and nest box construction on October 3.
Meanwhile, during each day of the festival there will an opportunity to view an exhibition of bird photography, nature tourism trips and monitoring sessions.
The Birdwatching Festival of Sagres is being supported by the local Câmara, Algarve tourism board ERTA, environmental organisations and agencies, and several private companies.
For further information about the festival, including a full programme of events, please visit www.birdwatchingsagres.com (available in English)