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Cape St Vincent
Most interesting species:
Black Stork, Honey Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle,
Dotterel, Alpine Swift, Thekla Lark, Alpine Accentor, Blue Rock Thrush, Chough, Ortolan Bunting
Shag, Gannet, Black Kite, Peregrine Falcon, Great Skua, Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart, Whinchat,
Northern Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, Jackdaw
Eider, Red-footed Falcon, American Golden Plover, Sabine’s Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Snow Finch
The lighthouse of Cape St Vincent usually has more tourists than birds, but this is a good place for
seawatching, especially in the early morning. Depending on season, it is possible to see different species,
including Cory’s Shearwaters, Gannet, Scoters, skuas and Razorbills. Shag, which nests on the cliffs, can be
seen flying along the coastline. Around the car park there are usually some flocks of Jasckdaws, often
perching on the aerial cables. From November onwards, the cliffs next to the lighthouse are the haunt of the
Alpine Accentor and in winter a few Crag Martins are usually around.
The geodesic point of Cabranosa, known among Portuguese birders as the "P1" (this codename was used
during the soaring birds watching campaigns in the 1990’s) is a prime location to watch land birds during the
autumn migration. To get here, one should take the dust track that leaves the Cape road and runs northwards
along the hedge (see map); at the end of the hedge, veer right and proceed uphill until the geodetic point is
reached. This is perhaps the easiest place in Portugal to see the Honey Buzzard, especially in September or
early October, when many birds move through the area. Other soaring birds that can regularly be seen here
during migration times include Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Black Stork. In late October or early
November, it is not unusual to see flocks of Griffon Vultures, sometimes with a few hundred birds.
The Vale Santo is a small hamlet, lying a few kilometres north of the Cape. In this area it is usually possible
to see small parties of Choughs, which get here to feed. In autumn, this is also a good spot for watching
migrant passerines such as Northern Wheatear or Ortolan Bunting. Furthermore, this is one of the few places
in the country where the Dotterel turns up regularly.
of mainland Portugal. It is here that the Portuguese south and west
coasts meet. It's a rocky plateau, lying above limestone cliffs, which rise
directly from the sea. The area is dry and almost treeless, except for a few
small pine plantations. Under favourable weather conditions, this area is
particularly good to watch bird migration, especially in autumn.
County: Vila do Bispo
Where it is: in the southwest tip of the Portuguese mainland, 30 km west of Lagos and 6 km west of Sagres.
To get there from Lagos, follow the N125 westwards to Vila do Bispo, then the N268 to Sagres and finally
another 6 km westwards towards Cape St. Vincent.
If you want to know other places to watch birds in this region, we suggest: