Portugal is among Europe's top destinations for watching birds in their natural habitat. In Porto, in the Natural Reserve where the Douro Estuary is located, a small natural refuge was created in 2007 on the South bank of the river, on the Vila Nova de Gaia side, in order to protect the birds and local landscape; altogether, there have been recorded sightings of more than 200 species. In this protected area, also known as bay of São Paio, bird watching lovers can see half of the bird species of mainland Portugal.
There, visitors can see kingfishers, flocks of cormorants and herons, white egrets and squacco-herons, common sandpipers and sea-turtle doves, plovers and red knots, blue throats and seagulls of several species, among many other birds.
The location is a site of choice for bird watchers and nature photographers, there existing wooden constructions purpose-built for bird watching and for observing nature. The reserve, where there are regular bird sightings accompanied by technicians of the Biological Park of Gaia, is open every day from dawn to dusk. Admission is free, just follow the signs.