A festival for nature lovers

northern gannet fling above the sea

Sagres is again hosting the Birdwatching & Nature Activities Festival this year.

From October 1 to 5 October visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, most of which are free of charge.

From bird-ringing to walks, talks and challenges for children, an activity for everyone will be available.

The biggest show though, is provided by the thousands of birds migrating to Africa.

Among the migrating birds is the Northern Gannet, which is the festival’s poster-bird this year. The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is the largest seabird to be found in Portuguese waters.

Although they are clumsy on land, the birds are known for their spectacular dives, torpedoing into the water to catch their prey – small fish such as sardine and herring. Those visiting the festival will be able to watch, it truly is fascinating.

Fishermen use gannets to locate schools of fish and will often “reward” the birds with tasty morsals.

Reaching 100cm in length and with a wingspan of around 180cm, adult Northern Gannets nest in large colonies on cliff faces and rocky promontories.

They pair for many seasons and have elaborate rituals when greeting their mate – “chattering” with their bills and stretching upwards. Only one egg is laid per season, with the chicks hatching some 45 days later and the chicks’ first flight takes place when they are about 14 weeks old.

For more information about activities click here. Registration for many of the activities, where numbers are limited, will open on September 1.

Interested in the most south-westerly point of mainland Europe? Click here to gem up about Sagres and its environs.

Image courtesy of Tiago Guerreiro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *