Join us for a ‘festival of birds’.
The Algarve and Alentejo regions of southern Portugal are less well known to birders than neighbouring Andalucia or Extremadura and yet the birding is just as good, with a long list of exotic Mediterranean species, especially in spring, when local residents like Great and Little Bustards, Audouin’s Gull, Calandra and Crested Larks, Hoopoe, Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian and Spectacled Warblers, Zitting Cisticola, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless Starling, Serin and Spanish Sparrow are joined by a wave of migrants, streaming north from Africa, such as Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Lesser Kestrel, Collared Pratincole, Caspian Tern, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Pallid and Alpine Swifts, Short-toed Lark, Bee-eater, Roller, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, blue-headed Yellow Wagtail, Black-eared Wheatear, Western Bonelli’s Warbler and Woodchat Shrike. Even Common Waxbill and Black-headed Weaver are possible! Few European venues offer such a wide variety of birds in such a short time.

This popular tour has become an almost annual feature of the New Horizons calendar, and so this will be the seventh group since 2011 to enjoy this very relaxing birding trip to southern Portugal. The ideal base for this ‘festival of birds’ is the fabulous Casa Rosa, a large traditional villa converted into six apartments with an outdoor swimming pool, in a tranquil rural setting near the village of Moncarapacho, not far from the coast. This will be ‘our house’ for the week where we shall enjoy home cooked breakfasts and dinners on the sunny terrace (weather permitting) prepared with fresh local produce by our hosts, Kjersti and Jan. On most days we shall be back in good time to relax by the pool and this arrangement is ideal for non-birding partners.
During our stay we shall visit the top coastal sites, all the way from Cabo São Vicente in the west, to the Spanish border in the east, where we can expect to see a wide range of wetland birds like Little Bittern, Purple and Night Herons, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Red-crested Pochard, Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Mediterranean, Slender-billed, Audouin’s and Yellow-legged Gulls, Caspian, Sandwich and Whiskered Terns and Zitting Cisticola, as well as Griffon Vulture, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Pallid and Alpine Swifts, Wryneck, Crested and Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, blue-headed Yellow Wagtail, Blue Rock Thrush, Dartford and Spectacled Warblers, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chough, Raven, Common Waxbill and even Black-headed Weaver! Offshore, there is the possibility of various seabirds including Cory’s and Balearic Shearwaters and Gannet.

Little Bittern

Wryneck

A typical Alentejan landscape

On top of all these Algarvian delights, we shall have a day further north in the beautiful sparsely populated Alentejo region, where the traditionally farmed plains and cork oak forests will be awash with wild flowers. Birds here include Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Red, Black and Black-winged Kites, Lesser Kestrel, Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Little Owl, Calandra Lark, Black-eared Wheatear, Spanish Sparrow and Corn Bunting, with the added excitement of displaying Little and majestic Great Bustards!

Great Bustard

Cost £1175

What the price includes:
Return flights with Jet2.com from East Midlands to Faro (to be confirmed), all transport in Portugal, six nights’ half board accommodation, all excursions, bird checklist and the services of your guide.

Deposit: £450
Single supplement: £120

Bee-eater

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