Most of the existing Western European raptor species have already been spotted flying over Sagres Peninsula between August and November. Both the rising coastal plateau and the main hinterland valleys funnel incoming birds towards Cape St. Vincent. Knowledgeable birders will be waiting for them on the top of Monte da Cabranosa, the finest of the viewing points to observe low-flying birds of prey during their postnuptial migration. From Monte da Cabranosa, still a rather underwatched place, one can expect to observe several frequent (and some rare) species of vultures, eagles, hawks, harriers and falcons.

HOTSPOT FACTSHEET: MONTE DA CABRANOSA

Location: Monte da Cabranosa hill; Vila do Bispo municipality, Western Algarve | Coordinates: 37° 2′ 8.235″, -8° 57′ 14.8674″ (Lat/Long); 37.035621 N, -8.954130 W (decimal degrees) | Code: VB1 (Cabranosa is normally known as ‘P1’) | Completion Time: up to 12-16 hours, for the three Sagres Peninsula hotspots and adjacent areas | Best Time for Birdwatching: September-November is the best period; Spring migration is also worthwhile; all seasons offer birding opportunities; however, there’s a lower number of birds and bird species during Summer | Protection Status: Natural Park; Biogenetic Reserve; Important Bird Area (IBA); Special Protection Area & Special Area of Conservation  (Natura 2000) | Activities: birding; nature walks; cycling, running & other outdoor activities; sightseeing; cultural travel; extreme sports;

[PLEASE CHECK CABRANOSA’S BIRD SPECIALITIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE] The absolute best phase to observe recurring species (like the Black Kite, the Egyptian Vulture or the Booted and Short-toed Eagles) runs from late September to early October, except in the case of the Griffon Vulture which tends to arrive in late October and early November; a higher proportion of uncommon, or regular but erratic species (such as the Cinereous Vulture, the Iberian Imperial Eagle, Eleonora’s Falcon and the Black-shouldered Kite), also tend to show up between late October and the first days of November. A large part of the birds are immatures. After nesting in rugged river valleys throughout some of the most remote Portuguese regions, the threatened Black Stork usually turns up between mid-October and mid-November. With luck, those magnificent soaring birds might be accompanied by rarities such as Rüppell’s Griffon Vultures (Rüppell’s Vultures usually share the airspace with the large gatherings of Griffon Vultures), Lesser Spotted Eagles, Red-footed and Lanner Falcons, or Pallid Harriers. Sagres Peninsula also recorded Europe’s first White-backed Vulture.

IMPORTANT TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

From Beliche Beach (please see map above) it is a 2.0km / 1.25 miles walk until you get to Monte da Cabranosa. Depending on the season, this patch provides good chances of spotting Pipits (including Richard’s Pipit), Crested Tits, Redstarts, and a variety of Warblers and Flycatchers. Follow one of the two parallel trails heading north along the pine hedge. At the end of the tree hedge these trails merge; at that point, turn right heading east along the edge of the woods located to the left. Monte da Cabranosa is the small hill topped by a conspicuous trig point. Start early in the morning in order to take advantage of the available time, lighting conditions and bird activity. Bring along good binoculars and/or a telescope. Wide-angle lens are needed as much as a good zoom. During Autumn and Winter, a strong maritime wind (and sometimes gale-force winds) might blow throughout the peninsula. Wearing warm clothes is advisable.
 
 
 
 

PLACES OF INTEREST NEARBY

 
Porto da Baleeira: despite being quite busy at times and slightly rundown, Porto da Baleeira (Sagres’ small fishing harbour) might still be a valuable location to observe seabirds. Apart from the most common seagull species, local rarities such as the Eurasian Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus), the Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) and the Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) have been recorded there in the recent past. Also, several boat trip operators offering cetacean and seabird watching are based at the harbour.

Martinhal Lagoon (Lagoa do Martinhal): located in the scenic Martinhal beach. It is a seasonal and quite small brackish water body where it is possible to observe several waterbird species in Autumn and Winter, especially after a rainfall. Despite its smallish size, it acts as a magnet to wandering waterfowl, since it is the only locale of the wetland type in the vicinity. Species like the White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) and the Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) have been found there recently. Frequent finds include the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), the Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis), the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus).

 

Beliche Beach (Praia do Beliche): if you’re in Sagres on a windy day, this is the beach to visit. It is smaller than others in the vicinity of the town, boasting a nice little bay and – generally – calmer waters; to reach the sandy bottom you’ll have to negotiate a steep and long stairway. It is located between the Cape and Sagres. When the Summer crowds invade the peninsula, just try to head north along the coast and surely you’ll find a better and spacious alternative. But please be warned: some of the secluded beaches throughout the Natural Park are not watched over by lifeguards.
 
 
 
 

BIRD SPECIALITIES: MONTE DA CABRANOSA | SAGRES PENINSULA BIRDING HOTSPOTS

 
 

Aegypius monachus
Aegypius monachus
Cinereous Vulture
Oct.-Nov.
Anthus campestris
Anthus campestris
Tawny Pipit
Sep.-Oct.
Anthus richardi
Anthus richardi
Richard’s Pipit
Oct.-Dec.
Apus pallidus Algarve
Apus pallidus
Pallid Swift
Mar.-Oct.
Aquila adalberti AlgarveAquila adalberti
Iberian Imperial Eagle
Oct.-Feb.
Aquila chrysaetos Algarve
Aquila chrysaetos
Golden Eagle
Erratic
Aquila pennata Algarve
Aquila pennata
Booted Eagle
Sep.-Oct.
Calandrella brachydactyla Algarve
Calandrella brachydactyla
Greater Short-toed Lark
Mar.-Sep.
Ciconia ciconia AlgarveCiconia ciconia
White Stork
Resident
Ciconia nigra AlgarveCiconia nigra
Black Stork
Sep.-Oct.
Circaetus gallicus AlgarveCircaetus gallicus
Short-toed Eagle
Sep.-Oct.
Cisticola juncidis Algarve
Cisticola juncidis
Zitting Cisticola
Resident
Coracias garrulus Algarve
Coracias garrulus
Roller
Aug.-Sep.
Elanus caeruleus Algarve
Elanus caeruleus
Black-shouldered Kite
Erratic
Falco eleonorae Algarve
Falco eleonorae
Eleonora’s Falcon
Sep.-Oct.
Falco naumanni Algarve
Falco naumanni
Lesser Kestrel
Jul.-Aug.
Galerida theklae Algarve
Galerida theklae
Thekla Lark
Resident
Gyps fulvus AlgarveGyps fulvus
Griffon Vulture
Sep.-Nov.
.
Hippolais polyglotta Algarve
Hippolais polyglotta
Melodious Warbler
Apr.-Sep.
.
Jynx torquilla Algarve
Jynx torquilla
Wryneck
Sep.-Nov.
Lanius meridionalis Algarve
Lanius meridionalis
Southern Grey Shrike
Resident
Merops apiaster Algarve
Merops apiaster
Bee-eater
Apr.-Sep.
Milvus migrans Algarve
Milvus migrans
Black Kite
Aug.-Sep.
Monticola solitarius Algarve
Monticola solitarius
Blue Rock-thrush
Resident
Neophron percnopterus Algarve
Neophron percnopterus
Egyptian Vulture
Sep.-Oct.
.
Oenanthe hispanica Algarve
Oenanthe hispanica
Black-eared Wheatear
Mar.-Sep.
.
Oriolus oriolus Algarve
Oriolus oriolus
Golden Oriole
Apr.-Sep.
Otus scops Algarve
Otus scops
Scops Owl
Sep.-Oct.
.
Pandion haliaetus Algarve
Pandion haliaetus
Osprey
Erratic
Passer hispaniolensis Algarve
Passer hispaniolensis
Spanish Sparrow
Sep.-Oct.
.
Phylloscopus bonelli Algarve
Phylloscopus bonelli
Western Bonelli’s Warbler
Aug.-Sep.
.
Prunella collaris AlgarvePrunella collaris
Alpine Accentor
Oct.-Mar.
Ptyonoprogne rupestris AlgarvePtyonoprogne rupestris
Crag Martin
Autumn-Winter
.
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Algarve
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Red-billed Chough
Resident
Sturnus unicolor Algarve
Sturnus unicolor
Spotless Starling
Resident
Sylvia cantillans Algarve
Sylvia cantillans
Subalpine Warbler
Sep.-Oct.
Sylvia conspicillata Algarve
Sylvia conspicillata
Spectacled Warbler
Mar.-Nov.
Sylvia melanocephala Algarve
Sylvia melanocephala
Sardinian Warbler
Resident
Sylvia undata Algarve
Sylvia undata
Dartford Warbler
Resident
Tachymarptis melba AlgarveTachymarptis melba
Alpine Swift
Mar.-Sep.
Turdus torquatus Algarve
Turdus torquatus
Ring Ouzel
Oct.-Apr.
Upupa epops AlgarveUpupa epops
Hoopoe
Resident