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.
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.
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.
Iberian Imperial Eagle
Greater Short-toed Lark
Southern Grey Shrike
Western Bonelli’s Warbler