If you are passionate about ornithology, make sure you visit Spanish Andalusia. The stretch of coast from Gibraltar to Huelva abounds in interesting places where migratory birds can be observed and photographed.
The best time to come is late autumn, when birds fly to Africa, and early spring when birds breed and embark on a journey to Northern Europe. Observe the weather forecast as well! For example, birds heading to Africa prefer Atlantic Poniente wind over the easterly Levante wind as the latter can easily push them towards the wide Atlantic.
MOST POPULAR BIRD WATCHING PLACES IN ANDALUCIA
1. Tarifa – a real migration hotspot, the strait of Gibraltar is a very busy migration corridor between Europe and Spain, recommended time to visit autumn when birds gather to rest before their final flight to warmer Africa. Between 350 and 400 different species can be observed each year near Tarifa, e.g. griffon vulture, black vulture, white-tailed eagle, short-toed eagle, black-winged kite, peregrine falcon, black stork, white stork, melodious warbler, kingfishers and many more.
2. Donana National Park near Huelva – one of the finest birdwatching sites in mainland Europe, this wetland reserve at the delta of the Guadalquivir River boasts around 360 species of birds. Bird watching is possible at a couple of centres around the park edges, but if you want to explore the park thoroughly, you need to take a guided tour. Guided tour takes about 3,5 hour and costs around 20 Euros.
3. Odiel Marshes near Huelva – well preserved wetlands reserve, second largest wetland in Huelva province, only half an hour drive from the famous Donana National Park.
4. Gibraltar – the Rock, with its unique flora, is a temporary home for many species migrating between the two continents
5. Sierra de Grazalema – great region for bird lovers, those fabulous limestone mountainous provide attractive and varied habitats for birds, they are home to nearly 300 hundred species including Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagles, Western Olivaceous, Orphean Warbler and many other.
6. Serrania de Ronda – unique mountainous region which similarly to Sierra Grazalema is a real paradise for those enjoying birdwatching, around 250 species of birds can be found there.