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Bee-ing the change: English resident inspired to create  bee sanctuary and rewilding project in Portugal

Deborah and her bike in Woking, wearing her bee capeDeborah Richmond will cycle to Portugal in custom-made bee cape to raise awareness and crowdfund for a 25 acre honey bee sanctuary and reforestation project. Deborah began the first phase of her epic 950 km cycle ride on 16th September and aims to arrive back to her rewilding project in Portugal by 3rd October. The vision for the Rewilding our Planet project is to transform 25 acres of degraded monoculture land into a sanctuary for the honey bee, to re-forest and re-establish a biodiverse landscape.

ParadisePortugalSawdaysThe Sawday’s guide to extraordinary and legendary places has picked Quinta do Barranco de Estrada on the Santa Clara reservoir as the place for birders to stay if they want to get the best of a ‘Spring birdlife explosion.’

The boutique travel guide, Sawday’s, “still looks for authenticity, warmth and character, places that embody the slow life and where hours of love have been poured into the tiniest detail to create those simple, personal joys that make something truly special.”

OilAriealShotSmallA campaign that is raising concerns about planned oil exploration off the Algarve coast has been supported by a donation from a British wildlife holiday company.

A group from Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays has donated £500 (€550) to SPEA, Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves. SPEA is part of the coalition Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo (Platform for an Algarve Free of Petroleum) that is campaigning against oil and gas exploration in the region.

griffonA new paper just published by Arrondo et al in the journal Biological Conservation analysed the foraging strategies of 71 griffon and cinereous vultures tagged in Spain and foraging in the Portuguese-Spanish border region - which is largely defined by river valleys and is not associated with any abrupt or systematic change in terms of climate, topography or land cover.

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.

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