Bioria Nature Reserve is located at the fringes of the Aveiro lagoon in the central coastline of Portugal. Very well hidden behind the town of Estarreja. An endlessly connected series of wetlands with large reed fields and small-scale wet farmers' fields. Hundreds of White Stork and thousands of water birds live here. And more than 200 pairs of Purple Heron. It is the largest colony of Purple Heron in Portugal. Nowhere else in Europe you can see and photograph these birds from this close and this easy. Even outside the birdwatching hides. Cycling and hiking trails have been laid out and there is a visitor center. Yet the area is still hardly known because it has only been a protected area for a few years. More than 180 different bird species have been seen already. The Purple Heron are really everywhere you look in the small rice fields and other wet fields. They seem less shy than in Western Europe. Black-tailed Godwit, Spoonbill and countless other waders can also be found here during migration. And Red-rumped Swallow, European Bee-eater, Hoopoe and Black-winged Kite make it a typical southern European bird mecca.
Best way to see the Purple Heron, is to walk or cycle the "Salreu" path. This is the route you see in the Birdingplace-map. Path Salreu is circular, and starts and ends near the Environmental Interpretation Center of BioRia. It has a length of about 8 kilometers and can be accomplished on foot or by bicycle. It is a route that crosses paddy fields, marshes, reed beds and rushes. By foot the duration of the tour is about two and a half hours.
Terrain and HabitatWetland, Sea, Reedbeds, Agriculture, Mud flats
ConditionsFlat, Swampy, Open landscape, No shadow
Is a telescope useful?Can be useful
Good birding seasonAll year round
Best time to visitSpring
RouteUnpaved road, Wide path
Difficulty walking trailAverage walk
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle, Wheelchair
Birdwatching hide / platformYes
A telescope can be very useful, because you also pass the lagoon where the birds are very far away. But the Salreu is a rather long walk, so maybe you should think twice :-)
There are also three other birdwalks you can do in the area. Path Rio Jardim ( 2 km), Path Bocage (3,6 km) and Path Rio Antuã (5,7 km). For more information see the Bioria-website, click on the link below.