Wetlands of Almería

Regular visitors to my blog will know my passion for nature and how I like to watch wildlife. The province of Almería had many natural places such as las salinas de Cabo de Gata with its population of Flamingos, amongst other things. I’d never really thought of myself as a bird watcher as I like to observe ALL wildlife but as there are some 1,100 species of fauna that have been recorded within the park, the majority of which are birds, it’s easy to see where your time could be spent.

Las salinas de Cabo de Gata

Las salinas de Cabo de Gata – Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

A little further up-the-road from las salinas de Cabo de Gata and still within the boundaries of the natural park, is the bird watchers paradise of Rambla Morales. Here you can see a wide diversity of bird-life including the endangered white headed duck

Elsewhere within the province of Almería are any number of open spaces where you can observe wild-life. Sometimes a simple puddle or “charco” after a rain can be as good as either two of the above mentioned places, although normally you wouldn’t have as much biodiversity.

Sierra de Cabo de Gata - Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Sierra de Cabo de Gata – Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

To the west of the city (cuidad) of Almería is an area known as Almería Poniente. Here lies a group of lagoons, lakes and pools known colloquially and collectively as the Western wetlands  – these stretch from Roquetas del Mar to Adra, the most western point of the province (see post Barranco de la Cerra de Guainos). There are several species of birds to be found in the western wetlands, most can be found elsewhere within the province such as flamingos, dunlins and black-winged stilts but there is a special calm about the western wetlands, possibly due to the location being well off the beaten tourist trail.

Western wetlands - Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Western wetlands – Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

One of the more common birds to be seen possibly around the world, is the gull of which there are many varieties. It’s actually a mistake to call them all seagulls though of course everyone does, even me. Because these birds are so common, they tend to get overlooked and even in some places, treated as pests… this is because their natural method of feeding is interrupted by human intervention, e.g.,  people who think it is “cute” to feed them fish & chips or whatever at the sea-side. The gulls then get used to this and start to expect food from passers-by and this is why we hear reports of gulls attacking people. Occurrences such as this, are the result of people meddling with nature and nothing more. The same thing sometimes happens with swans! So people beware – whilst you think it is cool to feed these animals, it’s not always in their best interests and often you are doing more harm than good. You must also remember that gulls are birds of prey!

If you want to feed these or any wild birds, find out what they eat and feed them in a responsible manner, there are plenty of places where you can purchase specially made wild bird food… oh and DON’T feed bread to birds! They will of course eat it but it is very bad for their digestion especially as the tendency is to feed the birds with bread that has passed it’s best for human consumption!

Oops, I went into a rant there!!🙂

And for those more interested in the more “wilder” birds i.e., birds of prey, there is no shortage of them!

I’m having some serious internet connectivity issues today so as much as I’d like to add to this post, I think I need to call a close on it. Special thanks go to my good friend and field guide extraordinaire, Jesus Contreras – if you want to come to Almería on a bird watching holiday, he’s your man! If you want photography experiences, please see me after🙂

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