Two major Spain and Portugal bird festivals are coming up on the Iberian peninsula at the end of September and beginning of October.
The Delta Bird Festival in Spain concentrates on wetland bird migration and conservation, while the Sagres Birdwatching Festival in Portugal is located to catch the best of the autumn migration of raptors and passerines from Africa to northern Europe. Both Spain and Portugal bird festivals are easily accessible by public transport and feature talks and workshops as well as some great birdwatching opportunities.
Delta Birding Festival in Spain
Now in its eighth year, the Delta Birding Festival takes place in the Ebro Delta in Catalonia, northeastern Spain. The Delta de l’Ebre is the second largest wetland in the western Mediterranean, and a large part of it is the MónNatura national park through which more than 300 bird species pass on migration and this is where the event is situated.
The Festival consists of presentations from internationally acclaimed naturalists and wildlife photographers, stands selling everything from optical equipment to artworks, guided tours of that part of the Ebro Delta, documentary film screenings and activities and workshops for both adults and children. A full list of speakers and activities is available here.
Photo: Ebro Delta Festival map
During the Festival there will be the culmination of a photo competition for both amateur and professional bird and wild nature photographers that has been running over the preceding months. An award ceremony will take place on the Sunday afternoon and over the course of the Festival you will be able to view an exhibition of the finalists’ images to make your own decisions on the best photographs.
The main aim of this Spain bird festival is to encourage and promote research and conservation projects and the profits from ticket sales this year will go to the ecological recovery of Ullals de Panxa, a freshwater spring-fed wetland in the Delta, and arrest the decline of the Western Marsh Harrier for which the area is known.
Photo Credit: Al Henderson, Ebro Delta Birding – Flamingo
Arriving by train:
On the Saturday and Sunday there is a shuttle bus that leaves the Renfe train station of l’Aldea/Tortosa/Amposta at 10.30am and returns at 8.30pm (Saturday) and 4.15pm (Sunday).
Arriving by car:
Detailed instructions for the Spain bird festival can be found here.
Friday, September 24 – 4.00pm to 8.30pm
Saturday, September 25 – 9.30am to 8.30pm
Sunday, September 26 – 9.30am to 3.00pm
More information at: www.deltabirdingfestival.com
Want to travel to see Spain’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Spain. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Sagres Birdwatching Festival in Portugal
Timed to coincide with the autumn migration, the Sagres Birdwatching Festival is a celebration of the area’s biodiversity and landscapes. This point of land in southwest Portugal is a migration hotspot and the festival, now in its 13th year, offers field and boat trips, lectures and courses and activities of all sorts for adults and children.
Events at this Portugal bird festival take place all around the peninsula so you will need car transport or bicycles to get around. Seabird and cetacean-watching trips are organised at various times every day, as well as kayaking and birdwatching tours, bird ringing demonstrations and visits to local caves to see prehistoric remains. Some activities are free while others incur a charge. New for this year are night tours to see owls and nocturnal butterflies, and bike tours on the Vicentina route.
To visit the Festival you have to get a wristband from the Festival secretariat at Beliche Fort. This can be found on the road out of Sagres towards Cabo de São Vicente and it is open October 1 to 4 from 8.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 7.00pm, and on October 5 from 8.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
Photo Credit: Seo-EO – Pelagic Seabird
The programme of events for the Portugal bird festival 2022 can be viewed here and activities you wish to take part in should be prebooked through the site.
Opening times (check programme of events for timings of specific activities):
Saturday 1 October – 7.30 am to 10.00pm
Sunday 2 October – 7.15am to 10.30pm
Monday 3 October – 7.30am to 9.15pm
Tuesday 4 October – 7.15am to 11.00pm
Wednesday 5 October – 7.30am to 7.15pm
More information at: www.birdwatchingsagres.com
Want to travel to see Portugal’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Portugal. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Original Date of Publish: 7th September 2022