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Ria Formosa

Ria Formosa

Birdwatching at Ria Formosa, Quinta do Lago, Algarve,
text by Simon Colbourne

Spring or autumn this is paradise. For the last eight years we have taken an autumn break here. The resort sits some twenty minutes from Faro airport, inside the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. Whoever said that golf courses, for the resort is mainly comprised of championship links, are green deserts, needs to see the fabulous array of southern European and North African birdlife here.

A Purple Gallinule

The area is about three miles square and comprises scrub, pine trees lagoons and salt pans. We have now logged over 150 species here and never cease to be amazed at some of the sights. Highlights include:

  • Watching the 500 or so Little Egrets coming into roost from the bird hide near San Laurenco golf course at dusk.

  • Taking time with the fabulous Purple Gallinule.

  • Watching a pair of otters fish the pools

  • Being able to see Flamingos, roosting Storks and Osprey in one pan of the binoculars

  • Catching sight of rarities such as Little Bustard (up in the hills at dawn) Bluethroats along the estuary walks and even wolves a little way inland.

  • Ria Formosa

    Ria Formosa photos copyright: Simon Colbourne, Purple Gallinule photo copyright: Jeremiah Satterthwaite

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