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Aigüamolls de L’Empordá – Catalonia, Spain, Stephen Christopher


Catalan Bird tours

Stephen Christopher


It’s not surprising that there was a national campaign to save the Aigüamolls de L'Emporda from development (which succeeded back in 1983); its like all the other itineraries rolled into one!

Of course, its similarity to other wetland sites (with the presence of Flamingo, herons and waders) is only to be expected but Roses Bay, which forms part of the reserve, is actually a better bet for both Red- and Black-throated Diver than anywhere on the Ebro Delta.

Similarly, your chances of seeing Moustached Warbler, Spotted and Little Crake are arguably better here than on the Llobregat Delta, a place it would also challenge for migrant capital of Catalunya given regular sightings of Red-throated Pipit, Crane and Red-footed Falcon.

And you might not even be too surprised to see Cory's and Balearic Shearwater from the Cap de Creus seeking shelter in the bay given its proximity to the peninsular.

But would you also expect White Stork, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Roller and Stone-curlew from the Steppes of Lleida...

Bonelli's Eagle, scrub warblers, Golden Oriole and Southern Grey Shrike from the Garraf...

Or Dotterel, Rock Sparrow, and Short-toed Eagle from the Pyrenees?

Of course it does have its own claims to fame, it being the original site for the reintroduction of the Purple Gallinule, for one, which later spread to the other wetlands of Catalunya.  In winter it also plays host to Hoopoe, Booted Eagle and flocks of Stone-curlew and Glossy Ibis.

And even better, it boasts one of only two breeding populations of Lesser Grey Shrike in the whole of the Iberian peninsular (the other being near Lleida) and offers two prime locations at which to see it.

All this in such a relatively compact area is what makes it a national favourite and is a must if you have limited time and are forced to choose just one place to visit.


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