This tour encompasses the two remarkable areas of Castro Verde and Mértola, and includes habitats of stunning natural beauty, reached from Lisbon within a 90 minute-drive (or from Faro within a 60 minute-drive). Parts of the areas visited are zones of special protection, including the bluffs and hills of the Guadiana Valley Natural Park.
The unique rolling plains of Castro Verde are the most important zone in Portugal for steppe bird conservation. Species like Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Eurasian Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Black-bellied Sandgrouse or Roller, can be confidently expected here.
The tour also includes a visit to the Guadiana Valley, where some really spectacular species often associated with craggy scarps can be seen, including Black Stork, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Eagle Owl, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Bunting.
Apart from being a delight from the historical perspective, Mértola is the only Portuguese town still with a Lesser Kestrel colony.
The actual range of habitats includes open steppe land (some cultivated, some fallow), small dams and oak woods, as well as scrub and valley escarpments. Some notable species, which are scarce elsewhere or difficult to see, or are essentially Mediterranean species (not occurring much further north), have significant populations in these areas, and include White Stork, Black Stork, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Eurasian Black Vulture, Golden Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Red Kite, Black Kite, Black-winged Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Common Crane, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Eagle Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Roller, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Thekla Lark, Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous Bush Robin, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, Golden Oriole, Spanish Sparrow and Rock Bunting.
The prices quoted include bird guide, transport (including fuel, tolls and hotel pick up and drop off in Lisbon or in the Algarve - in Faro or to the east of this city), free use of optical equipment (quality binoculars and telescopes) and field guides, bird list, entrance fees for entry to private or protected areas, participant’s accident insurance and VAT.
Lunch is not included, but we are happy to arrange a restaurant lunch on request.