|Portugal - spring flowers and easy birding in the Algarve and Alentejo|
|2 - 9 Apr 2014 (1 week)|
Natural History & More
Reserve your place now on our 2014 holday
Wonderful displays of spring flowers and impressively easy birding in the wetlands and steppes of southern Portugal.
Our holiday will start on the Algarve, where we will be based in a historic hotel set in the heart of the Rio Formosa national park. From here we will explore the coastal wetlands and salt pans, home to birds such as purple swamp-hen, greater flamingo and collared pratincole as well as lesser short-toed lark, a real local speciality. Underfoot we will seek out interesting local plants, including the delicate Leucojum trichophyllum and the bizarre ‘brownbell’, Dipcadi serotinum. A day away from the coast will take us inland to the limestone hills of the Barrocal, where we will enjoy a variety of spring orchids and the spectacular Paeonia broteroi.
From here, we will travel round the rugged Atlantic coast, stopping along the way to take in more of the area’s special orchids and visit Cape St Vincent, the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe. Many of the plants we will find here are real Lusitanian specialities, restricted to this corner of Portugal and North Africa.
The second part of our holiday is based in an idyllic ‘get away’ hotel in the lower Alentejo, from where we will take excursions into the extensive steppe and cork oak forests. Bird highlights should include some of Europe’s most threatened species: great and little bustard, black-bellied sandgrouse, Spanish (or should that be Iberian?) imperial eagle and black vulture are all possible out in the rolling hills. Nearer to home we will find a variety of cistus and lavender species and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the hotel.
Our holiday will end with a train journey back down to Faro, from where we fly home.
Leaders: Philip Precey with local guides