The Ria Formosa Nature reserve is a protected area that stretches for many miles along the coast from Faro to the Spanish border, and includes most of the beaches. The area is home to many wild birds and is situated on the route for birds migrating between Africa and Northern Europe, and is of world ornithological importance. The reception office for the reserve is only 10 minutes from Casa Jardim. In our own garden there is a wide variety of birds including hoopoe, willow warbler, siskin, sardinian warbler, jay, greenfinch, blackcap, woodlark, skylark, robin, blackbird, sparrow, song thrush, stonechat, pied wagtail, swift, and bee eater. The swallows dip in the pool, and at dusk you will see the little owls, and possibly a nightjar swooping silently overhead. A more recent visitor is the buzzard who sits on top of a post overlooking the garden and we have even seen a short-toed eagle soaring overhead, hopefully returning to nest in the area.
There are boat trips in the Ria Formosa from Fuzeta, Olhao and Faro to visit the islands, also trips for birdwatching, fishing, dolphin observation and snorkelling to see seahorses.