When the Christmas and New Year break is over, our thoughts should turn to Spring and the opportunities that we have in Andalucia to see the wonders of nature. Birding immediately springs to mind! Various companies offer tours with the loan of high spec binoculars and knowledge of the best viewing sites so you might want to check these out online.
For any keen birder or naturalist, every spring (February to May) and autumn (July and October) there is what it is considered one of the greatest natural events; the migration of millions of birds between Spain and Africa. The Strait of Gibraltar is the narrowest point (14 Km) between the two land masses of Europe and Africa and is one of the best spots in Europe to watch the bird migration between the two continents. 315 species of birds have been recorded migrating between the two continents.
Gibraltar offers a natural resting spot for birds to rest and feed before continuing their migration to Africa or Western Europe, some as far as Russia. The vegetation on the rock is considered to be unique to Western Europe. In addition, the Strait of Gibraltar Natural Park has a diverse range of habitats, making it the perfect place for birding. Many different groups of birds use this flyway but the Strait is probably best known for the large number of soaring birds. Formation of enormous flocks of hundreds or even thousands of birds, such as Black Kites, White Storks and Honey Buzzards can be seen from February onwards.
There are a variety of viewing sites available close to the Straits such as Playa de Los Lances, Punta Carnero, Algarrobo, Sierra de la Plata, Punta Camorro, Cazalla and Puerto de Facinas. Castellar de la Frontera is renowned for the soaring kites and other birds of prey to be seen at the top of the natural peak containing the old town.
Don’t forget the Cadiz side of Doñana for some iconic species such as White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Slender-billed Gulls, Spectacled Warbler, Lesser and Greater Short-toed Larks, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Bonelli’s Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Spotted and Lesser Spotted Eagle and Little Swift. Here there is year round birdwatching. But don’t forget the province of Cadiz has other areas of high ornithological value such as La Janda and Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
What´s your favourite specie of bird to observe?