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Birdwatching festivals - an essential part of 'Nature Tourism'


This year’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival starts on October 2 and is the largest such event in Portugal.

The successful festival format is sponsored by Vila do Bispo council, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) and eco-group ALMARGEM.

There are over 170 birdwatching and nature related activities in various locations across the municipality but the main attraction is of course the huge number of migrating species, off to Africa for the winter months.

This year the festival is linked to a campaign aimed at combating the illegal capture and sale of birds in Portugal.

The combined efforts of coordinator SPEA, A Rocha, A Aldeia, Quercus and the Portuguese League for the Protection of Nature will draw attention to the practice of capturing, selling and illegally killing birds for the pot, many of them migratory, which undermines conservation efforts and makes Portugal’s biodiversity all the poorer at a time when ‘Nature Tourism’ has at last got the government's attention.

To the eastern Algarve where ‘Birds of Cacela Velha’ starts on October 5 as one of the weekend’s activities of EuroBirdwatch 2014.

Activities include observation of birds in the Ria Formosa, another important flight path for migratory birds. A guided tour will show participants species such as flamingos, spoonbills, and Purple Gallinules.

This activity also is coordinated by SPEA locally and at the European level by BirdLife International,and will last for two days – 4 and 5 October.

The Algarve is a region with a huge number and diversity of migratory birds pass by, many stopping to rest and feed before the trip to north Africa. There also are many species that find the Algarve rather a fine place to spend the winter.

Birdwatchers are exactly the type of off season tourist the national and regional tourist boards have woken up to. The truth is that they have always been coming to the Algarve, but they have been hard to count as many stay in private accommodation in rural areas.

The region's birdwatching offer may soon be deprived of perhaps its jewel in the crown, the Salgados lagoon and countryside area to the east of Armaçao de Pera where plans for a large tourist development by Finalgarve currently are stalled due to spirited opposition by the 'Friends of Salgados' a mixture of media business and nature oriented non for profit associations.

Should the Salgados area be secured for nature tourism purposes with very little investment needed, the Algarve then could boast east, west and central opportunities for birdwatchers to observe the best of the region's birdlife.

Birds of Cacela Velha, Tel: 966 019 851 or email: adrip.cacela@gmail.com

Sagres Birdwatching Festival http://www.birdwatchingsagres.com/



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+4 #1 Colin Key 2014-09-29 20:22
"This year the festival is linked to a campaign aimed at combating the illegal capture and sale of birds in Portugal. "
The various organisations involved in this "campaign" are deluding themselves. Killing (by whatever means) and eating wildlife is a major part of Portuguese culture and will not stop for at least another generation. Even affluent Portuguese who have no "need" for this supplement to their diet still promote it as part of their heritage because their fathers and grandfathers did it.
I have been involved in fighting against this culture for over twenty years but I have now given up. Portuguese law (at both the highst and lowest levels) is totally impotent when it comes to enforcement of anything to do with wildlife or the environment. SPEA, Almargem and LPN are totally lacking in "cojones" and probably could not organise a p**s-up in a brewery. :sigh:

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