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SagresBirdFest2017An exciting week for birding and nature enthusiasts as the Sagres Birdwatching Festival returned on October 4th and runs until the 8th, backed by Vila do Bispo council and organised by SPEA. Events are dedicated to nature, birds and outdoor fun.

In Sagres, "you can see almost everything", says André Pinheiro from Almargem, one of the promoters of the initiative who says that it’s the unique landscape which makes this festival not only for bird watching, but for nature in general.

egretWhile the Algarve in summer is more renowned for its holiday beaches, increasingly it is gaining a reputation for the wealth of beautiful birds that also migrate here for the season – but unlike the majority of the holidaymakers, they arrive from the south and not from the north.

Several, such as the impressive Alpine Swift and its smaller relatives, the Pallid and Common Swifts, can be watched while prostate on the beach as they zoom around their nest-holes in the cliffs. Others, such as the delicate Subalpine Warbler or the striking Black-eared Wheatear, will take a more determined search inland, but more than repay the effort.

eagleImperialEuropeanThe head of Portugal’s Food and Veterinary agency has received an application to authorise diclofenac for veterinary use. The problem here is that as well as being used in medicine to treat sick cattle, the drug is fatal to birds that eat carrion.

Birdlife Europe and Portuguese environmental organisations already have appealed to Portuguese government not to authorise the drug, saying it threatens already rare species such as the Black vulture and the Imperial-Iberian eagle.

Processionary CaterpillarsThey have been seen very early this year so I feel I have to put out the warning again - fast! I have searched the books and net to come up with more comprehensive information on them. I must thank the various holiday companies for helping with some of the technical information.

On a personal basis I know of dogs who have lost their tongues to this beast, and it is not a pretty sight and so distressing. There seems to be little local information about them, there are companies here on the Algarve who will spray the pine trees.

Little BustardA new survey of one of Portugal’s most threatened birds is being supported with funds by a British wildlife holiday group.

The little bustard – 'Sisão' in Portuguese – is declining in Portugal and Spain. It’s a bird of steppes and low intensity arable cultivations, with a key breeding population in Alentejo.

Reasons for the little bustard’s decline are unclear, and a coalition of nature conservation groups is undertaking a survey this year as part of efforts to tackle the decline.

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