Bird watching Algarve Portugal CASA ROSA  Villa Apartment Holidays

birds flying birds



Butterflies of the east Algarve Portugal.

Spanish festoon


Scarce Swallowtail

Spanish Festoon and Scarce Swallowtail both photos Roger Wasley April 2015

Casa Rosa 20-27 May 2013

This was our first visit to Casa Rosa and a first visit to Portugal for a birdwatching trip.  Expectations were high and I have to say they were met. On our first day, we saw a Short Toed Eagle on the donkey track and after it flew, we found the remains of the snake it had been having for its tea. We saw the Eagle again the next day, perched on an electricity pylon, been mobbed by a Woodchat Shrike and Azure Winged Magpie.  Bee Eaters were nesting nearby and were an absolute delight to watch. Cuckoos were seen regularly flying around and it was nice to see them rather than just hear them. Over the week, we regularly saw Little Owls and twice saw Barn Owls within ten minutes walk from Casa Rosa. Hoopoe were seen regularly in and around the grounds as were Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, one of which was heard before it was seen, foraging on one of the metal street lights just outside the gate! Crested Tit and Short Toed Treecreeper were also seen locally as on one occasion was Golden Oriole. Great fun was had watching the resident swallows from our window over breakfast and amusement created by one swallow who decided to roost on the alarm box at the top of the stairs.  Trips were made to Ria Formosa visitor centre, Quinta Do Lago and Vale Goncalinho Education Centre.  Highlights of those trips had to be Great and Little Bustard, Roller and Lesser Kestrel at Vale Goncalinho and Purple Swamp Hen at Quinta Do Lago with some help from a friendly Estate security guard to put us on the right track to the Nature trail. Kentish Plover and Black Winged Stilt were in plentiful supply and we also saw Purple Heron and Little Bittern at QdL. In total, we saw 77 species of birds in our week long trip.
Butterflies were in plentiful supply on our trip as we saw over a dozen species, the best two places been the donkey track and the summit of Mt San Miguel where we saw numerous Swallowtail and Two-tailed Pascha. Lizards proved generally elusive, been heard and seen vanishing into vegetation more than out in the open, but the odd one was obliging enough to hang around for photos. Geckos were seen regularly in the wall lamps on the grounds at Casa Rosa, I’m guessing waiting to snack on insects attracted to the lights.  Three species of dragonfly were seen, 2 of which were captured on camera.
We would advise anyone to try the bread that is delivered daily from a local bakery. It was inexpensive and very good for either breakfast or lunch.
Kjersti and Jan-Ketil were fantastic hosts, answering all our questions with great patience. The apartment was very spacious and spotlessly clean and we would recommend Casa Rosa to anyone looking for a base for an Algarve birding trip or to anyone just wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Algarve tourist resorts.
Cathal, Robert and Sean, Sheffield, England
may 13
Lulworth Skipper
may 13
Southern Gatekeeper on star clover
may 13

may 13

 may 13
Kentish Plover (Quinta do Lago, Ria Formosa and elsewhere)
may 13
White stork, a regular sight around the Algarve
may 13
(Believed to be) Grizzled Skipper, Mt San Miguel
may 13
Common Blue butterflies mating (Donkey Track)
may 13
Swallow (at Casa Rosa)
may 13
Lizard (unknown species)
may 13
Speckled Wood (donkey track)
may 13
Two-tailed Pascha (San Miguel)
may 13
Swallowtail (San Miguel)
All photos, Cathal Berney




Butterfly Trip Report 13th – 21st May 2007

Phil & Brenda Larkin

Like most people looking for something away from the bustle of the larger holiday destinations in the Algarve, we were drawn to Casa Rosa by the website and endorsements from first-time and regular visitors – we were not disappointed. The laid-back atmosphere, extremely welcoming hosts and good food exceeded all our expectations. The local knowledge of Roger and Hanny and the customary sharing of information from like-minded naturalists staying at Casa Rosa meant that we could easily fill the days with birds, butterflies and an assortment of reptiles, insects and of course flowers without too much effort.

Casa Rosa is not promoted as a butterfly hotspot, but you should find most typical species for Southern Portugal in the immediate area or not too far distant.

The following is a list of species seen during an 8 day stay in May. There were no serious efforts to make a big list, in fact 4 of the days were spent by the pool with short walks around the garden and the ‘donkey track’ which leads from Casa Rosa through local fields and farm land. Only 2 excursions were made to Monchique and the Coto Donana, which I would recommend to anyone; it is mostly easy motorway driving and you will find a wealth of interesting wildlife here.


Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni – seen regularly in all locations visited

Southern Gatekeeper Pyronia Cecilia – can be found all around the garden particularly the pines at the back of the apartments

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera – seen everywhere

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas – found in the garden by the entrance

Geranium bronze butterfly          Geranium Bronze

Geranium Bronze Cacyreus marshalli – 3 specimens on the flowers by the ‘frogs’ at the entrance to the terraces and on the dining terrace

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria – all along the donkey track

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina – all along the donkey track

Large White Pieris brassica – seen everywhere

Small White Pieris rapae – seen everywhere but not as regular as L. White

Lulworth Skipper

Lulworth Skipper Thymelicus action – by the bee hives and the first gate on the donkey track

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus – seen regularly from the donkey track

Cleopatra butterfly

Cleopatra Gonepteryx Cleopatra – regularly found on the donkey track, but extremely difficult to photo

Swallowtail butterfly

Swallowtail Papilio machaon – seen everywhere

Ilex Hairstreak butterfly

Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium ilicis - a few found at Mte. San Miguel

Clouded Yellow butterfly

Clouded Yellow Colias crocea – seen everywhere, with 1 found roosting in the garden

Spanish Purple Hairstreak

Spanish Purple Hairstreak Laeosopis evippus – numerous at Coto Donana

Two-tailed Pasha

Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius – initially found by 2 visiting photographers. 2 specimens seen at Mte. San Miguel on a regular perch 10 yards from the car parking area. Easy to identify by the large size.

Spanish Swallowtail Iphiclides feisthamelii – 1 seen at Mte. San Miguel

Blue Spot Hairstreak

Blue Spot Hairstreak Satyrium spini – plenty at Mte. San Miguel

Western dappled White

Western Dappled White Euchloe crameri - seen passing through the garden and along the donkey track

Spanish Marbled White Melanargia ines – numerous Mte. San Miguel

Lang's Short tailed Blue Butterfly

Lang’s Short tailed Blue Leptotes pirithous – 1 found in vegetation by a small brook near Monchique

Brown Argus Aricia agestis – only found at Coto Danana but should be seen elsewhere

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus – 1 seen on the road from Monchique

Comma Polygonia c-album – 2 seen on the road from Monchique

Green-striped White Euchloe belemia – plenty at Coto Donana

Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus – 1 seen on the road from Monchique


Two interesting local sites are (1) the ‘donkey track’ (ask Roger or Hanny for directions). After about 400 yards along the track there is a field on the left with bee hives. Anywhere in this area is good for the common butterfly species. The Geranium Bronze is present in the Casa Rosa garden with at least 3 separate specimens present during our stay; one could even be seen on the plants on the dining terrace. (2) The summit of Mte. San Miguel which is a short drive away. Again Roger will provide directions. Go to the very highest point among the masts and buildings and park where you can. There is a bit of rubbish about but the bushes and grass hold hairstreaks, various whites, plenty of Swallowtails and Two-tailed Pasha (we saw 2). Our second visit here provided views of 3 Honey Buzzard and 5 eagles (species yet to be identified from grab-shot photos), a Blue Rock Thrush and plenty of other bird species. The police seem to patrol this area regularly, but appear to be very relaxed and can spot a Brit tourist a mile off especially when carrying bins, cameras, scopes etc.

Ref :

Butterflies of Europe – Tristan Lafranchis

As Borboletas de Portugal – Ernesto Maravalhas

Butterflies of Britain and Europe – Tolman & Lewington

And a few more butterfly pictures taken by myself or our guests,

 Swallowtail butterfly         Swallowtail Papilio machaon

Speckled wood butterfly.

Speckled wood butterfly             Clouded Yellow butterfly Clouded Yellow


swallowtail butterfly.

Swallowtail courtesy of Charles Cuthbert.