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Around the town of Castro Marim, close to the mouth of the
Guadiana, lies an area of saltpans, associated with vast areas
of saltmarsh, which form a refuge for many species of
Most interesting species:
Audouin’s gull, Caspian Tern, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Spectacled Warbler
Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Gadwall,
Mallard, Garganey, Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet,
Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed
Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Tern,
Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Black Tern, Kingfisher, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Skylark,
Crag Martin, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Southern Grey Shrike, Magpie, Corn Bunting
Long-tailed Duck, Crested Coot, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marsh Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope,
Wilson's Phalarope, Slender-billed Gull, Forster's Tern, White-winged Black Tern, White-rumped Swift,
In the eastern part of the reserve, close to the international bridge over the Guadiana, lies the Venta-Moinhos
saltmarsh. To get there, leave Castro Marim northwards on the N122 which connects to the A22 motorway
(Via do Infante) and follow the signs to the reserve headquarters. Along the unsurfaced road leading here,
there are several pools, which often hold Water Pipits in winter.
The saltmarsh and the saltpans located near the headquarters of the Nature Reserve are the best place to
include Caspian Tern, Common Redshank and Black-winged Stilt.
In recent years there have been several sightings of Red-necked Phalarope at these saltpans.
Best season: Throughout the year, may be less attractive between July and early August.
Counties: Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António
Where it is: This site lies in the Eastern Algarve, specifically in the extreme southeast of mainland Portugal,
near the villages of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, the latter bordered by river Guadiana.
Access is from the motorway A22, or from the N125, veering northwards at the crossroads for Praia Verde,
and following the N125-1 towards the railway station of Castro Marim. The Esteiro of Carrasqueira lies next to
the N122 between the two towns mentioned, and from here it is also possible to get to the Cerro do Bufo
If you want to know other places to watch birds in this region, we suggest:
|From Castro Marim it is possible to get views over the salt marshes on the eastern side. In the background, the town of Ayamonte
The Esteiro of Carrasqueira lies along road N122, which connects the Castro Marim to Vila Real de Santo
António. The best observing site is located just outside of Vila Real (after passing the railway line), looking
northwest from the road. Here it is easy to watch Little Tern and Eurasian Coot. In winter, this is one of the
best places to find the Caspian Tern. Other waterbirds that can usually be seen feeding here include Little
Grebe and Cormorant, along with flocks of Mallard and Shoveler. A few years ago, there has been a record of
Long-tailed Duck, which is a major rarity in Portugal.
exposed during low tide - this is a good place to look for shorebirds, such as Black-tailed and Bar-tailed
Godwits, as well as Ringed and Kentish Plovers.
The town of Castro Marim offers a broad perspective over the eastern part of the reserve, especially from the
castle or next to the chapel. The main church in the town often holds Crag Martins during the winter, while
Collared Doves are present throughout the year.
and saltpans near the reserve headquarters; and the Esteiro da Carrasqueira. Salt is explored industrially
and the saltpans are quite extensive; access by car is not allowed to the saltpans so it is necessary to walk in
order to visit them.
Starting at Cerro do Bufo, access is made from 125-1 national highway, which connects the Castro Marim
railway station to the village with the same name. The saltpan complex lies on the right side and to get there
one must follow an unsurfaced track. Here it is possible to watch several species of water birds, including
during the spring and summer, Audouin's Gull, Little Tern, Collared Pratincole and Yellow Wagtail; in winter,
there are Shelduck, Shoveler, Black-necked Grebe and Caspian Tern. Species that can be found year round
include Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Spoonbill, Greenshank and Avocet. Kingfisher is regular at this location
and, during migration times, Black Tern often turns up. The Slender-billed Gull, until recently a rarity in
Portugal, seems to be a regular visitor here during autumn and winter. In the surrounding areas, it is possible
to find Stone Curlew and Little Bustard, along with Garganey on passage. Crested Lark is a resident in the
|At the Cerro do Bufo saltpans, Flamingos are usually present (the castle of Castro Marim is visible in the distance).