Archive for December 7th, 2020

Welcome to one of Europe’s last unspoiled ecosystems. Welcome to the place the Romans dubbed Monsfragorum: the fractured mountain

In our last post about Cáceres we introduced you to Extremadura, a beautiful region that border with Portugal. Here we find one of the world meccas for birdwatching, the Monfragüe National Park, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2003.

Source – Turismo de Monfragüe

Crossed by two rivers – Tagus and Tiétar, Las Dehesas de Monfragüe is the largest and best preserved stretch of Mediterranean mountain landscape in the world. Its wild mountains of oak and Mediterranean forest and streams provide a home for the park’s diverse flora and fauna.

Source – Turismo de Extremadura

Extremadura and conservation of bird species

The importance of Extremadura region for conservation of bird species in Europe is worth noting. With the aim to ensure conservation, the Autonomous Government of Extremadura has designated 71 Special Protection Zones for birds (SPA). These areas form the most extensive network of the Iberian Peninsula and currently represents over 26% of the region’s territory.

El Salto del Gitano – the perfect birding spot

Many of Extremadura’s mountain ranges are topped by quartzite inaccessible rocks.  The security these rocks provide and the barrier created by the dense vegetation of the mountain slopes lead certain bird species to choose them for nesting purposes. Among the typical nesting birds are many threatened species of birds of prey.

Source – Turismo de Extremaduraa

The black vulture is one of the stars of the show at Monfragüe but there is also a significant population of Spanish Imperial eagles. The best place to see them is from the park’s most famous rocky viewpoint: Mirador del Salto del Gitano.  From this 300m high cliff over Tagus River, birders can spot the Spanish Imperial eagle, the Egyptian vulture, the Griffon vulture and the black stork, among other birds.

Source – Turismo de Extremaduraa

When to come to Monfragüe N.P. for birding

Extremadura enjoys a continental weather with damp winters and hot summer.  In summer time, temperature during the day does not go down even after the sun sets, so it is normally hot. Winters are mild and only a small portion of the region freezes.

To see black kite, booted eagle, white-rumped swift, roller, subalpine warbler, black Stork, and red-rumped swallow, you should come in summer. Keep in mind July and August) could be very very hot, so best day time for birding are the hours near the sunrise or sunset.

On the other hand, if you wish to see the Spanish Imperial Eagle, as well as most bird species, we suggest you come in spring, from March to May months. Spring and autumn months are also fantastic periods to enjoy the beautiful colours of Monfragüe Park landscapes and surrounding areas.

Source – Turismo de Extremadura

Routes around the park

  • You can explore Monfragüe using its good self-guided hiking routes (Yellow, Green and Red). This is the option most visitors choose.
  • If you prefer to go by car, there are two routes with stops at main viewpoints.
  • More into organised guided tours? The park offers them.
  • Looking for a more special route? Upon prior permission, you can take bike routes or horse riding routes along the edges of the park.
Source – Turismo de Monfragüe

However you decide to visit it, you will enjoy discovering one of Europe’s best birding paradises.  Would you like to know more? Contact us, we will be glad to assist you.


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