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The Arade River crosses the western Algarve and flows into the sea
just past Portimão, forming a narrow estuary. From the birding point of
view, this area is less interesting than other wetlands in the Algarve,
however it has been rather less visited and so the information
available on its birds is quite limited.
To visit the left bank the best option is to leave the N125 following signs to Ferragudo. To the north lies
Mexilhoeira da Carregação. After passing this village, a small group of saltpans appear on the left. Here it is
possible to see Black-winged Stilts and sometimes there are Flamingos as well. Proceeding along the road
and following the signs for the ‘grutas’ (caves), one passes over the N125 and finally reaches an area of
marshland. This area is more interesting at low-tide, when it is possible to watch large numbers of gulls and
some waders, such as Redshank, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper. There are also a few passerines,
like Yellow Wagtail and Crested Lark.
In the Parchal area there is another complex of salt pans (called “Marinhas do Parchal”) and there are also
estuarine mudflats, where it is easy to find several shorebirds, such as Ringed and Grey Plover, Whimbrel
and Turnstone. Another interesting spot around Parchal is the fishing harbour, where there are usually very
large flocks of gulls. The most abundant species are the Yellow-legged and the Lesser Black-backed, but it is
worth scrutinizing the flocks in search of rarer species. A little further south, in Ferragudo, it is possible to see
Sandwich Tern and several species of gulls.
On the right bank there are two easily accessible locations that offer good views over the river Boina, a
tributary of the Arade. They are: Ladeira do Vau and Companheira (both locations are easily accessible from
the road that connects the A22 motorway to the centre of Portimão). In this area there are large numbers of
gulls, but it is also possible to find egrets, White Storks, Spoonbills and a few waders.
Best season: unknown
Counties: Lagoa and Portimão
Where it is: in the western Algarve, about 50 miles west of Faro. Access is made by the A22 motorway or from
the main road N125; in both cases, one should follow the signs to Portimão (for exploring the right bank) or
Lagoa / Ferragudo (for the left bank).
If you want to know other places to watch birds in this region, we suggest:
Most interesting species:
Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Crested Lark, Crag Martin
Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, White Stork, Shoveler, Kestrel, Grey Plover, Whimbrel,
Common Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Linnet
|On the left bank of the estuary, the area of Parchal is a good place to observe shorebirds, especially at low tide.
|The river Boina (here as seen from the Ladeira do Vau) usually hosts large flocks of gulls