Sagres birdwatching

Sagres Birdwatching Festival unveils full programme

The full programme of Sagres Birdwatching Festival has been unveiled, including all the usual popular activities such as bird ringing and boat trips as well as some new events.

Registrations open on September 1, giving birdwatchers a month to decide which activities they want to take part in.

This year’s festival will take place between October 1 and 5 and is expected to attract over 1,000 birdwatchers from all over the world to the Western Algarve.

According to organisers, new activities for this edition include “cycling along the scenic ‘Rota Vicentina’, night-time walks (to see bats, insects and scorpions), as well as a variety of talks and workshops about birds (from Mexico and the Netherlands), marine bioacoustics (listening under water), analysing owl pellets, and even the importance of whales in regulating our climate.”

Sagres birdwatching

For children, the programme features challenges such as treasure hunts (‘In search of the lost mammal’) and art and environmental education workshops (such as ‘Painting birds on cloth’).

Successful activities from previous editions of the festival will also be repeated, from bird ringing sessions and beginner’s birdwatching courses to themed walks (archaeology, culture, geology, plants and insects) and boat trips.

Organisers add that registered participants will also be able to “witness the moment a bird is returned to nature, build nest-boxes, bug hotels and bird feeders, help clean Mareta beach and learn about birds and wine.

“Activities will take place all around Sagres peninsula, making this the ideal opportunity to discover and explore the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park,” they say.

Sagres birdwatching

Some activities are led by Portuguese and English-speaking guides or specialists, while others are led in one language only. While most activities require signing up beforehand, there are also some which do not require prior booking – such as October 2’s morning seabird watching activity. There is also a selection of free events.

Further information can be on the festival’s website (www.birdwatchingsagres.com)

Poster bird

The poster bird for the 2022 edition of Sagres Birdwatching Festival is the Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), the largest seabird that can be spotted in Portuguese waters.

“Known for its spectacular dives, this seabird torpedoes into the water – a sight that festivalgoers can witness as these migratory birds prepare for their trip to the southern Atlantic. Surprisingly, despite their powerful flight they are somewhat clumsy at take-off and landing,” organisers say.