Just over one month ago, whilst walking my dog near the dunes at Alvor, I had the incredible experience of seeing and hearing about 300 Bee-eaters come in off the sea. They were so exhausted that I could probably have gone and picked them up (had to put "Bodi" on the lead in case she went after them). After 30 minutes or so they became active again and most of the flock moved on leaving behind a contingent which have nested there in a vertical sand face for as long as I can remember. Over the next couple of weeks I counted 42 pairs occupying nest holes, and I believe that many of these had immediately bred and were subsequently feeding young.
The dunes at Alvor are sacrosanct and an important ecosystem for plants and animals, as well as birds (many breeding pairs of Kentish Plover and Short-toed Lark, in addition to the Bee-eaters) and there is a warning sign that the maximum fine for driving over the dunes (walking is permitted) is €28,000 (yep, twenty-eight thousand Euros!).
The local district council (Câmara Municipal de Portimão) has now moved in with two two huge diggers and four heavy trucks and within a week has removed the dunes. The sand is being dumped on the beach nearby to replace sand lost during the last bad winter (where several beach-front restaurants have been on the verge of collapse) and the area where the dunes were is to become an "official" park for caravans and camper vans (in an attempt to keep all the mainly German and Dutch vehicle owners in one place).
I have photographed this activity and sent emails to the local Câmara (Dept Ambiente), as well as to other organisations, but not received a single response.
Watching the nests of these gorgeous birds being gouged out of the sand cliff, and seeing and hearing them (to my mind) trying to warn the other birds, did, I must admit, bring tears to my eyes.
There really is no hope. If this happened in the U.K. there would be heavy fines and probably custodial sentences. I would willingly kill the b@stards who authorised this.