Sagres hosts the biggest nature event in the country

Sagres hosts the biggest nature event in the country

Starting this Saturday, the Birdwatching & Nature Activities Festival features 275 activities over five days.

The Bird Watching Festival & Nature Activity returns to Sagres for its 13th edition. Between October 1 and 5, 275 activities are bringing together thousands of people to celebrate nature.

This year, the biggest nature event in Portugal includes field trips, boat tours, workshops, talks, environmental education activities, bird ringing sessions and more. There will also be hikes, photography courses, history-themed guided tours or dolphin-watching.

Among the novelty activities, the highlights are the night-time walks, analysing owl pellets, bike trips along Rota Vicentina, and how whales help regulate the climate.

According to Associação Almargem, one of the event’s organisers, “The grassland birds of Vila do Bispo” (October 2) is one of the field trips that is causing the most curiosity among the public and is already sold out. Organised by one of the most experienced guides in the Algarve, Simon Wates, this trip takes participants to see how birds interact, depend on and contribute to preserving their habitat.

At the festival, there will also be space for artistic expression. Participants will be able to visit two exhibitions: one with scientific illustrations and another in which photographs taken by local fishermen immortalise their interaction with the birds.

The ‘headliner’ of the 13th Festival of Bird Watching & Nature Activities in Sagres is the Northern Gannet – a sea bird that usually appears in the areas surrounding Cabo de S. Vicente. One of the Northern Gannet’s biggest peculiarities is that it has no nostrils, which allows it to enter the ocean to feed at a speed that can reach 60 kilometres per hour.

Festival participants will be able to watch the ‘spectacle’ of the Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), the largest seabird sighted in Portuguese waters, when these migratory birds are preparing to continue their migratory journey south of the Atlantic.

Birdwatching & Nature Activities Festival.3
Northern Gannet @ Nuno Oliveira

Although many activities are already sold out, “there are activities that will only open during the event itself to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate. Due to cancellation or any other reason, the organisation will update the number of places available at the location”. For this reason, “the best thing is to be in Sagres during the festival days”, reveals the organisation.

The Forte do Beliche is the festival’s meeting point, where registration and clarifications can be made. There, participants will also be able to find shops selling typical products, optical materials and speciality books.

Cerro da Cabranosa, a privileged place for watching birds of prey, and Cabo de S. Vicente, the stage for gannets and other seabirds, are two additional locations to take note of during the festival.

Two-thirds of the activities are free of charge. However, boat trips and some specific workshops, which are activities organised by local partners, require a registration fee ranging between 20 and 50 euros.

The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) has created a Code of Conduct and Good Practices for all participants. Including not straying off the trails, dropping litter on the ground or collecting plants.

The festival is promoted by the Municipality of Vila do Bispo, with the co-organisation of the Associação Almargem and the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA).

The complete programme of the festival can be found on: https://www.birdwatchingsagres.com/en/programa/