News, Forthcoming Events, and What's new on the Website

Deceptively Attractive - a new palm pest establishes itself on the Algarve....

Paysandisa archon - Palm Moth

Paysandisa archon - the Palm Moth. Picture Kevin Rush

New - Out with Papa-figos - Clive Viney's wildlife blog...

The second edition of Algarve Wildlife - the natural year

Cover of Algarve Wildlife the natural year second edition

Press Information from First Nature                                        

Algarve Wildlife – the natural year has been one of the most successful books in the Algarve since it was first published in 2009.  Best-selling author and naturalist Clive Viney has teamed up with renowned wildlife photographer Ray Tipper to produce this stunningly beautiful Algarve wildlife guide in two-week periods throughout the natural year. Written in clear non-scientific  language, this book will appeal to both visitors and residents alike who want to learn more about the wonderful wildlife of the region. 

The second edition was launched at the Mediterranean Gardening Association – Portugal’s International Spring Conference, which was held at Vila Galé  Lagos Hotel between 22 – 25 April 2016. Author Clive Viney gave a talk on the wildlife of the region, highlighting the best times and places to find the numerous fascinating creatures and plants that live alongside us in the Algarve.  Contributors  Ron Porley and Steve Hencher were available to answer questions, as was Sue Parker who manages www.algarvewildlife.com and Pat O’Reilly author of Fascinated by Fungi. The launch took place at 10am on Sunday 24th April and books, signed by the authors,  were available at the special introductory price of €25.

To buy a copy of the second edition of Algarve Wildlife - the natural year in Portugal please contact Rosie Peddle: rosie@thebtf.net

The second edition of Algarve Wildlife – the natural year includes many new features:


“Algarve Wildlife – the natural year is an excellent book for residents and visitors alike.... written in simple language, accessible to all readers, without losing the degree of scientific information that will suit botanists, birdwatchers and other nature-lovers”
Ricardo Tomé  – Past President of SPEA – Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves/Birdlife Portugal

Algarve Wildlife - the natural year Second Edition
ISBN:  978-0-993450-0-4
Publication date: April 2016
Hardback binding; 288 pages; more than 600 colour photographs; RRP £22.50

Algarve Wildlife – the natural year (Second edition)
Available direct from the publisher at www.algarvewildlife.com and (in the Algarve) via the Mediterranean Garden Association -  Portugal – contact Rosie Peddle at: rosie@thebtf.net


Beautiful Birds of the Algarve - Photographed by John Foss

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle

John Foss, a keen amateur photographer who visits the Algarve on a regular basis has very kindly allowed us to use his wonderful bird pictures on the website. He says of himself:

'I have always been interested in birds ever since feeding the ducks on the local park as a boy. I stayed keen on birdwatching throughout my working life. I later took an interest in photography and videography doing the odd wedding for friends and family but not on a professional basis. Now retired I combined the two pastimes into one by taking photographs of birds and nature. I read with interest about the bird life in Portugal and we decided to take a trip there for the first time in 2014. From then on we fell in love with the place and now visit at least twice a year. We have visited many of the well know sites in the Algarve. Such is the diversity of Portugal we still have many places to explore. Long may it continue.'

We hope it does too!

To see his marvellous pictures follow the links from the Bird Index page....

To see more of his wildlife and nature photographs you can visit his website:


New books for Wildlife Lovers

Wild Orchids of the Algarve - how, when and where to find them by Sue Parker
Wild Orchids of the Algarve - how, when and where to find them - Sue Parker

ISBN: 978-0-9560544-8-7; 128 pages; full colour; RRP £18.50 - Euros 23,-

Despite its small geographical area, Portugal’s Algarve region is home to at least 1500 native wildflower species including more than 30 wild orchids. For tourists and residents alike these are major attractions of the very varied Algarve countryside.

For newcomers in particular, wild orchids can be hard to find and even harder to identify. Wild Orchids of the Algarve solves these problems, providing easy-to-follow introductions to the biology and habitats of orchids, and explaining in non-scientific language why the Algarve is such a special place. More than 200 colour photographs of the orchids, both in their natural settings and as stunning close-up pictures of their flowers, ensure that readers will be able to identify the orchids they find on countryside rambles. Also included are tips for photographing flowers, as well as a comprehensive guide to top orchid sites and walks in the various parts of the Algarve. An illustrated Table of Contents and a pictorial Glossary of Botanical Terms make this a uniquely accessible guidebook.

Written by author and broadcaster Sue Parker, this first ever comprehensive guide to the wild orchids of the Algarve is based on 16 years of research and photography in the area.

Comments by orchid experts who have seen and read advance copies of this book:

‘A comprehensive guide to the orchids specific to the Algarve with notes on occurrence and identification. The photographic material is excellent - people will undoubtedly be able to identify the orchids they find using this book.’ Dr. Finn Rasmussen.

‘A great achievement’ - Dr. Chris Thorogood, author of Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve.

‘Congratulations on your marvellous and complete book about Algarve Orchids’. Américo Pereira, Orquideas Soltas

Available in Britain from First Nature Books...

Available in Portugal via: Rosie Peddle, Secretary Mediterranean Gardening Association. Web: www.mediterraneangardeningportugal.org - Email: info@mediterraneangardeningportugal.org

Otters of the World

Front cover - Otters of the World

A wonderfully illustrated book describing all 13 of the world's otter species - including our own Algarve otter - Lutra lutra.

What is it that makes otters so enchanting? Catch a glimpse of these extremely shy creatures, whether by accident or design, and we are immediately captivated - enslaved by their sweet faces and quirky behaviour.  Despite its endearing qualities, the otter is one of our most endangered mammals and is subject to numerous threats including hunting, pollution and habitat destruction to name but a few. Sadly conservation funding and effort to protect our otters is hard to come by, and their low visibility doesn’t help them in the fight for resources in which they compete with higher profile creatures such as elephants, tigers and pandas.

In this reverse world of familiarity breeding contempt, the publication of Otters of the World means that our lack of personal contact with them can no longer be a reason not to care. Written by conservationists who have spent 20 years working on otter species worldwide, this book is filled with fascinating facts about these enigmatic animals and their lifestyles.

With chapters on each of the 13 species of otters to be found around the world, and their struggle for survival, we can be left in no doubt that urgent action is required if we are to preserve otters for future generations to enjoy and value.  The chapter on otter rescue describes the challenges faced by otter conservationists, and the problems that otters confront when returned to the wild, particularly if they have had too much contact with humans during the rehabilitation period.

Despite huge demands on Algarve water resources which frequently result in dried-out riverbeds hardly conducive to the presence of otters, they nevertheless share this beautiful place with us. The otter species that is found throughout Europe is the Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra, and in the Algarve we have a number of important havens for these very special, but intensely private creatures.
Even if we never encounter an otter in the wild, and feel powerless to assist directly with otter conservation, simply buying this most enjoyable and beautifully illustrated book, the proceeds of which will go to support the work of the International Otter Survival Fund, will make a difference.

For more information about Otter conservation......

Otters of the World by Paul Yoxon and Grace M. Yoxon (Whittles Publishing 2014) ISBN 978-1-84995-129-6, £18.99 available from www.whittlespublishing.com

May 2014 - Give Waders a chance - see Ray Tipper's guide to identifying some of the Algarve's wading birds...

Cytinus Species - parasitic plants of Cistus shrubs in the Algarve

Sorting out the Cistus - pictures and identification guide to 6 kinds of Cistus common in the Algarve

Book Launch of Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Algarve by Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock

Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve

Review in Algarve Resident

For those of us who have struggled to identify the Algarve’s wonderful wildflowers using only a general Mediterranean wildlife field guide, this dedicated Algarve ‘flora’ has been much anticipated. The wait was well worthwhile.

A clear and easy-to-follow introductory section provides essential information about the Algarve landscape and its habitats, followed by guidance on wildflower identification and classification. The main text comprises descriptions of nearly a thousand species, arranged by botanical families and illustrated by 650 in-habitat photographs which many of us find more helpful than drawings or paintings, no matter how competent the artist. A further 780 line diagrams illustrate important structural details. The flowers are listed first by their scientific names and then by common names (where they exist); this will be invaluable to non-English-speaking visitors, who can cross-refer Latin names to their indigenous guides. The book concludes with a basic glossary of botanical terms and indexes of both English names and scientific names.

Understandably not every Algarve wildflower is described - several of our orchids are missing, for instance - but the important rare and endemic species are all included. At £35 this book may seem expensive, and as a hardback it may not be ideal as a portable field guide, but in terms of unravelling many mysteries of the Algarve flora I believe it is a brilliant achievement. Invaluable! More information about Algarve Resident...

Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve, by Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock (Kew Publishing 2014) ISBN 978 1 84246 497 7, £35, available via www.kewbooks.com

Lovely new accommodation at the A Rocha Centre near Alvor

New ensuite accommodation at A Rocha

Thanks to a generous donation, A Rocha has been able to improve and modernise their buildings at Cruzhina near Alvor.

The exterior of the house had been in need of work for a very long time. The walls were not insulated and let in the damp during the winter, which also caused lower indoor temperatures resulting in the use of much more energy for heating. During the renovations a coat of waterproof paint added, while the most damaged windows and shutters were replaced. Insulation was added on the north side of the house, all of which will lead to a greater level of comfort for visitors

Two of the guest rooms have had a complete makeover and now include ensuite facilities.

Rias Bird Exhibition

'Live to Fly' - A must for birdwatchers and lovers of the Natural World

Enter the wonderful world of the birds of Portugal by visiting the exhition by well-known bird photographer, Thijs Valkenburg.

Many of us know that Portugal is a famous destination for birdwatching experts and enthusiasts from all over the world, but few of us are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to see the special birds that make their homes in Portugal or stimulate such great interest during the spring and autumn migrations.

Thijs Valkenburg's pictures are a demonstration not just of his skill as a photographer but also reflect his deep commitment to the care and conservation of birds in the region where he works as a member of the RIAS team who care for sick and injured birds and animals . More about RIAS...

The Exhibition:

When? From 18th January to 31st March 2014

Where? Carmo Convent, Centro de Ciencia Viva, Tavira

Opening Times - Tuesday to Saturday 1000 hrs - 1800 hrs

The Uruz Proect - find out about Portugal's involvement with the conservation of ancient cattle breeds.

December 2013 - New bird hides and information boards at Ria Formosa Nature Reserve

One of the new bird hides at Ria Formosa Nature Reserve
The smaller of the two new bird hides overlooks the saltmarsh

This visit has been our first opportunity to visit the Nature Reserve at Parque Natural da Ria Formosa since the new bird hides were installed, along with new information boards to replace the old ones which had become totally unreadable due to exposure to the sun.

The new hides are a great improvement on the old ones, and there were many birds on the small lake in front of the larger of the two hides, no doubt due to the fact that the dry autumn has caused many of the other lagoons in the reserve to dry out completely.

November 2013 - News about Salgados

The Portuguese Government has given the go-ahead for the majority of the area, 359 hectares, (887 acres), to be “developed”. By developed they mean “to be concreted over” and thus lost to the wildlife that finds it vital now and also lost for the enjoyment of future generations. Any development near this important area will have a hugely detrimental impact on the wildlife that uses it.

It will never come back; it’ll be gone for ever. It's not too late to sign the petition to save this unique wildlife site...

New page for Fungi Fans

February 26th 2013 - for those interested in fungi we have a new page on the website. Scroll down and you will find a table with photographs and brief descriptions of over 60 species easily found in the Algarve, with links through to more detailed information.

Update on Ria de Alvor from A Rocha

February 2013 - During 2012 A Rocha won two historic court cases against the owners of Quinta da Rocha who had illegally destroyed habitats of outstanding conservation importance on the Alvor estuary, close to Cruzinha, where their field study centre is situated. As expected, the developers have now appealed against both verdicts and so A Rocha will be continuing the legal campaign.

Flamingos at Salgados Lagoon
One of the great nature sights of the Algarve - part of a vast flock of Flamingos at Salgados Lagoon, just one of the numerous wildlife species who depend on this part of the Algarve for their survival

Please help to save Salgados from worthless and wanton destruction! Salgados is a unique habitat for birds and vital for the enjoyment of future generations. Right now the Portuguese Government has just given the go-ahead for the majority of the area, 359 hectares, (887 acres), to be “developed”. By developed they mean “to be concreted over” and thus lost to the wildlife that finds it vital now and also lost for the enjoyment of future generations. Any development near this important area will have a hugely detrimental impact on the wildlife that uses it. It will never come back; it’ll be gone for ever. When will Man realize that he is not the only animal on the planet? The Algarve does not need more hotels, golf courses or holiday accommodation – all of which stand now at 55% occupancy. What it DOES need is an appreciation of its unique habitats and the wildlife that depends upon them. Please help us get the 40,000 signature that we need for this matter to be raised in Parliament. We need you – you’re our only hope! As Chief Seattle said, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money”.

A zona dos Salgados constitui um habitat único para pássaros, vital para o usufruto de gerações futuras. O Governo Português acabou de dar luz verde a um projecto de "desenvolvimento" que irá cobrir grande parte da área, com 359 hectares. "Desenvolvimento" que, neste caso, significa "cimentar sobre", destruindo assim este espaço vital para a vida selvagem, que ficará perdido para sempre, para as gerações futuras. Qualquer desenvolvimento a ter lugar na área ter um impacto absolutamente pernicioso na vida selvagem que dele usufrui. Quando é que o ser humano vai perceber que não é o único animal no planeta? O Algarve não precisa de mais hotéis, campos de golfe ou alojamento de férias - cujo nível de ocupação anda actualmente pelos 55%. Aquilo que REALMENTE precisa é que sejam apreciados os seus habitats únicos e a vida selvagem que deles depende. Ajudem-nos, por favor, a chegar às 40.000 assinaturas necessárias para levar o assunto à discussão no Parlamento. Precisamos de si - é a nossa única esperança! Como o Grande Chefe Seattle disse, "Só quando a última árvore for derrubada, o último rio estiver poluído, o último peixe morto, é que vamos perceber que não podemos comer dinheiro".

Sign petition to protect this unique wildlife site...

1st June 2012

Over the past couple of months we have been working hard to update all of the Nature Reserves/Parks pages, the Wildlife Walks and the Wildlife Species pages. They are now complete, but of course we will be adding to them over the months ahead. Our Habitats section is nearing completion too, and we welcome your feedback - corrections, additions, and most particularly your suggestions for further improvements.

We are also populating the Walks section, and again any suggestions, pictures etc would be greatly appreciated.

To contribute information and pictures, simply Email us here...

We hope that you have found this information helpful. If so we are sure you would also enjoy our books about Algarve wildlife and wildflowers. Buy them online here...

Wild Orchids of the AlgarveAlgarve Wildlife, the natural year, Second EditionWildflowers in the Algarve