Just south of Pêra you can find one of the better sites for bird watching in the Algarve. Lagoa dos Salgados is a typical coastal lagoon separated from the sea by the extensive Praia Grande dune system. Covering an area of about 50 hectares there are several good viewing points for the extensive variety of waterfowl in particular which can be found here.
Listed in the national list of Important Bird Areas, over 200 species have been recorded here. It is also known as a good area to spot rarities and other less common species such as the Ferruginous Duck and the Squacco Heron. Other interesting species like the Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Golden Plover, Pied Avocet, Ruff and Eurasian Spoonbill are spotted regularly.
Access is easy from the N125 at Alcantarilha and following the N269-1 and then the M526 from which you can see the marsh and spot the turn off. The best approach is from the north side of the lagoon where there are easy parking areas, open trails and good viewing points across the marsh. Tourismo de Portugal has produced a terrific online “Birdwatching Guide to the Algarve” that shows this and many other sites in detail.
Between the lagoon and the dune system is a band of fields and scrub which provide good viewing areas for a number of birds. We enjoyed a picnic amongst the bushes this winter and had several nice sightings while eating our lunch. To finish your visit a short walk across the dunes will bring you to beautiful Priai Grande de Pêra.
As we are still relatively new to European birding we added several “lifers” to our list on our first two visits here. Whether you are a serious birder, a casual observer or just want an accessible and pleasant walk you won’t be disappointed spending a couple hours here.