Countdown begins for Sagres Birdwatching Festival

The Sagres Birdwatching Festival, an event that attracts bird and nature lovers from all corners of Portugal and the world, is less than a month away.

With over 150 activities planned, the event will take place between October 1 and 5 and aims to highlight the “show that is the migration of birds and the beauty of the Western Algarve.

“In October, thousands of birds fly over the Algarve, on their way to wintering grounds in Africa, putting on a show worthy of a festival. While hundreds of seabirds, like gannets and shearwaters, sail past the coast, vultures, eagles and storks soar overhead in search of the route to Africa. On land, trees and bushes are welcome resting points for small songbirds on their ambitious journey south,” organisers say.

From bird ringing to dolphin watching, the list of activities is packed with diversity. There will also be visits to local grottos, maritime bird watching, workshops, astronomy events, hikes and much, much more.

Many of the events are free, although all must be booked beforehand. Many of the events are already sold out, so organisers are advising people to sign up ASAP.

“After registering online for their chosen activities, participants just have to head to Sagres, collect their bracelet and enjoy all the Festival has to offer,” they say.

This year’s poster-bird is a “regular at the festival: the unmistakable Black Stork.”

According to the organisers, the Black Stork is often seen soaring high overhead.

“Shier than White Storks, Black Storks are usually seen alone or in pairs (during breeding season), but from August to September, when they migrate to Africa, they may gather in flocks of up to 100 birds. This is when they are easiest to spot, and Sagres is a particularly good vantage point from which to do so, precisely around the Festival’s dates. At this time, Black Storks from central Europe congregate here, in search of passage to Africa. Since they need thermals to soar, and these hot air currents only form over land, these birds tend to cross the Mediterranean at its narrowest point, at Gibraltar,” they add.

The festival is organised by Vila do Bispo Council, the Portuguese Society of Bird Studies (SPEA) and environmental association Almargem.

For more information, visit www.birdwatchingsagres.com.