Archive for October 7th, 2020

Not even 2 hour motorway drive south Barcelona airport, on the Mediterranean coast, we find Ebro’s Delta, one of the most famous river deltas in Europe, a wetland location containing 320 sq. km. of Natural Park. The delta hosts a wide variety of aquatic environments and a wide range of different habitats that provide micro habitats for a huge abundance and variety of birdlife, and it is key breeding site for many rare species of birds. Most recent survey has revealed over 300 species of birds that are either resident or migratory to the Ebro Delta.

This nature reserve, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and full of contrasts, is an ideal setting to get away from crowds and stress of big cities: wild beaches of large dune fields, spaces where there are plains and salt mirages and extensive rice fields. Photography lovers will also discover a spot where the beauty of a sunset with the stylized shadow of a group of flamingos is worthy of the most demanding camera objectives.

Why are there so many great birds in the Ebro delta?

The answer has a lot to do with the range of habitats available: ricefields, saltpans, muddy bays, sand dunes and spits, freshwater lagoons and reedbeds, riverside woodland and open sea.

The delta is the habitat of 7 species of gull and 9 species of tern. Here we find as well the world’s largest Audouin’s gull breeding colony, one of the essential concentrations of common reed bunting, and the Iberian Peninsula’s second largest colony of flamingos and glossy ibis.

In order to perform best possible experience, the park has bird-watching routes equipped with walkways, lookouts and information panels and expert guides to accompany you.

South Itinerary

A full day route starting in the village of Poblenou del Delta and that includes spots as Sant Antoni saltpans, Saltpans de la Trinitat, La Tancada, Erms de la Tancada and Gola del Migjorn.

First observation spot will be the tower with views over l’Encanyissada lagoon, from where species such as Little Bittern, Purple Gallinule, Red Crested Pochard, Caspian Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Harrier, Greater Flamingo, Fan-tailed Warbler and Great Reed Warbler can be spotted. Continue towards the coast, stopping at the Sant Antoni saltpans, a very interesting spot for gulls, terns and waders.  

Head now to the beach and follow the sandy track that leads down the Trabucador to the saltpans of la Trinitat. On the shores of the bay a good variety of waders, gulls and terns may be seen and in the winter months the waters of the bay are a prime site for divers, Red-breasted Merganser, Black-necked Grebe and the occasional Common or Velvet Scoter.

Back to La Tancada lagoon. This is an interesting site for ducks, including Red Crested Pochard and Garganey. Ospreys fly over on quite a regular basis.

Between here and L’Eucaliptus resort are the Erms de la Tancada, an area of saltings, rough pasture with bushes and channels which is ideal for migrant birds in the spring and autumn, with a huge potential for producing pleasant surprises.

Route continues the way to Illa de Buda and the Gola de Migjorn along a road that past vast extensions of rice fields. An observation tower offers views over the Illa de Buda with its ricefields, saltings, pools and lagoons and the reedbeds and marshy areas of the Alfacada, as well as the open sea. This area is one of the best in the whole of the delta for seeing a great diversity of birds in a short space of time.

Finally, make the short drive to the beach for a seawatch, at what is said to be the best spot in the delta for seeing Gannet, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Razorbill, Balearic and Levantine Shearwaters, sea duck, gulls (including Mediterranean Gull), terns and waders, depending on the time of year.

North Itinerary

A day long itinerary starts with an observation tower overlooking the southern tip of the Canal Vell lagoon. Among other birds, Night Herons can be seen here, as well as Greater Flamingo, Great White Egret, Bittern (on migration) and a variety of ducks.

Continue to Riumar, more precisely to Lo Garxal, a shallow lagoon with usually abundant terns and waders. Water Rails breed in the reedy areas along the southern edge while the inhabitants of the dune slacks include Lesser Short-toed Larks and Collared Pratincoles.

Platja de la Marquesa beach is the spot for conducting a seawatch in the hope of seeing skuas, shearwaters, seaduck and other seabirds according to the season. In the winter months Mediterranean Gulls pass by in their hundreds, as do Black Terns in late summer.

From here a track leads to the Fangar lighthouse. The huge, flat sandy area past the dunes is a major breeding area for terns and Kentish Plover, while on the bay side there will often be large numbers of waders, terns, gulls and ducks.

The last port of call is the southern shore of the bay, or port, of the Fangar. From the edge of the bay it is possible to follow the shoreline for approximately 4 kilometres. If possible avoid the time around high tide, when most of the birds, especially the waders, are forced elsewhere. Photography lovers should not miss this area: it can be excellent for close up views of waders, flamingos, terns and gulls, especially in the afternoon when the sun is behind you.

Would you like to know more about birdwatching options this nature reserve has to offer? Please, let us know, we will be glad to assist you! info@across-spain.es       

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