First published in 2009, Algarve Wildlife: The Natural Year has been one of the most successful books about the region. This second edition is fully revised and substantially enlarged. Away from the coastal hotspots is a seldom-seen Algarve – one of peaceful woodlands, flower-filled meadows and quiet river valleys all teeming with fascinating wildlife, from beautiful birds and butterflies to the more elusive chameleon and mongoose.
This beautiful hardback book provides detailed guidance on what to see and where. It is lavishly illustrated with some 600 colour photographs of birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles, wildflowers and scenic views of the Algarve countryside, together with a map, directions and descriptions of the Algarve's top locations for wildlife and scenic walks. Packed with a wealth of wildlife, wildflower and fungi information, fascinating facts for Algarve visitors and residents alike, Algarve Wildlife the natural year is written in clear language accessible to all readers, without losing the scientific accuracy sought by botanists, birdwatchers and other nature-lovers.
"[...] an excellent book for all those who come to the Algarve for the first time and are interested in seeing beyond the walls of the resort or the boundaries of a pleasant beach. It is also recommended for those who already know the region but feel they might be losing a good part of it. They are right: this is the book that will help them to notice and to appreciate the immensity of detail that composes the Algarve nature they seek to know better."
– Ricardo Tomé, Past President of SPEA (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves / BirdLife Portugal)
Reviews of the first edition:
"For many people [the Algarve] is an ideal holiday destination at any time of the year. This book takes a year (beginning in August) and looks at the way wildlife changes through the seasons – analysing each two-week period separately. Although both authors are well-known birders, there is plenty of information here for the all-round naturalist, and separate indexes are given for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies, other insects, plants and fungi."
– Review in Birding World
"After dozens of visits to the Algarve with no real idea of where to look and, most importantly, when to look for particular birds, wildflowers or fungi, I now have a guide that answers those vital questions. Such a time saver for anyone who has only limited holiday time and wants to use it as productively as possible. The pictures are superb, making identification so much easier. Thanks, Guys; your book is just the ticket (and excellent value too)."
– Review on Amazon
"I visit the Algarve often and am very interested in the local natural history. At last there is a book that gives first class information on the local ecology month by month. The book is abundantly illustrated with excellent photos taken by some of the best in the world. I would thoroughly recommend the book to anyone thinking of visiting the Algarve, particularly out of season. Those who only go in August miss the incredible abundance of wildlife in the Spring and the spectacular migrations of birds over Autumn. With this book in hand you will know what to look out for. For some reason it is difficult to find – incredibly it is not for sale at Faro airport! – so buy before you visit."
– Review on Amazon
- Finding your Way in the Algarve
- The Natural Year
- 1st - 14th August - The Peak of the Tourist Season
- 15th - 31st August - The Hunting Season Commences
- 1st - 15th September - Salt and Almonds
- 16th - 30th September - Autumn Equinox
- 1st - 15th October – The Peak of the Autumn Migration
- 16th - 31st October - Shortening Days
- 1st - 15th November - Autumn Storms
- 16th - 30th November - Autumn Gold
- 1st - 15th December - Interlude
- 16th - 31st December - Winter Equinox
- 1st - 15th January - New Year
- 16th - 31st January - Almond Blossom Time
- 1st - 14th February - Prelude to Spring
- 15th - 29th February - Spring is in the Air
- 1st - 15th March - Botanical Climax
- 16th - 31st March - Spring Equinox
- 1st - 15th April - April Showers
- 16th - 30th April - Bird Show
- 1st - 15th May - A Watch of Nightingales
- 16th - 31st May - Prelude to Summer
- 1st - 15th June - Long Summer Days
- 16th - 30th June - Summer Equinox
- 1st - 15th July - Hot Summer
- 16th - 31st July - Siesta
- Reptiles and Amphibians
- Dragonflies and Damselflies
- Mosses and Liverworts
- Map: Main Sites and Locations Mentioned in Text
If there was a book like this for every area I have the privilege of visiting, I'd be a very happy traveller.
We took it to the Algarve in late March. The first paragraph for that period says that . . . . "Strong winds and even storms can occur, but they are the exception rather than the rule." Yes, we were hit by a very big storm on one day, and a short sharp hailstorm on another – the locals came out to take photos of the hailstones because it was so unusual. The rest of the time, the weather was fairly benign.
But overall, it must have been an average season, for we saw almost everything the book said would be there at that time. Except that the Portuguese Squill wasn't quite in flower yet. We found lots of things we probably wouldn't have looked twice at without a prompt from the book, like the endemic plants at Cape St Vincent (e.g. Biscutella and Wild Carrot) that look so similar to species elsewhere.
We dipped into other sections of the book – it's hard not to. Each chapter is a half-monthly block starting from August (the beginning of autumn bird migration) through to the following July when plants especially are withering and becoming dormant to escape the heat. But, as nothing is that specific as to the time of year, and seasons tend to be several months long, you find that the few chapters before and after your visit are also applicable. And, of course, some things can be seen all year round.
Beyond the seasonal guide, there are annotated checklists of birds, butterflies, mammals, etc., and a useful gazetteer of places to visit.
Overall impression? Filled with bite-sized chunks of information and excellent photographs, this books guides you through what you might find in the Algarve at any time of year. If you're an out and out bird-watcher, or botanist, or butterfly-hunter, or whatever, you'll probably need to supplement it with a more specialist field-guide. However, for the generally interested visitor, or for the birdwatcher who wants to know what the more obvious plants and butterflies are (or vice versa), this fits the bill nicely.
And it's pretty good for planning when and where to go next time, too.
Clive Viney is the author of The Birds of Hong Kong and South China, which is available in English and Chinese and is the standard regional guide. First published in 1977 it is now in its eighth edition. A keen naturalist, Clive spent most of his working life in Hong Kong where, as a trustee of World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, he was editor-in-chief of their magazine About Life. Clive has written many articles and provided natural history input to Lonely Planet guides. Closely associated with the Algarve since 1988 and as a member of the Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves he has participated in most of their major surveying projects. He gives occasional lectures on the birdlife of the Algarve, introducing visitors and residents to the profusion of wildlife in the region.
Ray Tipper began his birding on the North Kent Marshes at the age of eleven. He left Britain in 1973 spending most of the next 22 years in Hong Kong. As a trustee of WWF he was intimately involved with its renowned Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve. It was in Hong Kong that Ray turned to bird photography, which quickly became his major interest. He gained associateship of the Royal Photographic Society in 1990, and his photographs appear in journals and books throughout the world. Ray leads specialist birdwatching tours all over the world and since 1997 has led some 80 tours in Europe, North and Central America, Asia and Madagascar. He spends much of his time in the Algarve, where his intimate knowledge of its birds has been recognised by his appointment as a member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee.