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Spicing up a trip to Barcelona - The Llobregat Delta,

Chris Cameron

The Llobregat Delta is adjacent to Barcelona International airport and is probably the best option for birdwatchers staying in Barcelona with a few hours to spare. This is not a trip report. It simply suggests ways of  getting to the reserve, because English language information is rather hard to come by.

Easy option:

Get the train or bus to the airport. Find tourist information (not airport information) and ask for a copy of details of local campsites.

The best way to find it is to ask for either Filippis or Estrella campsite, they are all on the same road - the Castelldefels road. Once on this road (dual carriageway), take the first exit on the right after the Repsol station and rejoin the same road going back the way you came (towards Barcelona). Having rejoined the main road turn off directly opposite the same Repsol petrol station you passed. This road terminates at the reserve centre, where the hide is.

In September 2002 this cost us 20 euros including tip, but we got a bit lost (we did not know, at that time, that the reserve was near the campsite and had only general directions) so this is probably on the high side. If our experience is anything to go by, the taxi drivers will have no idea of the reserve's location and may even deny its location. This was with a fluent Spanish speaker in the party.

After visiting the reserve, walk back to the main road (about 1km with birding possibilities including a hide) and get the bus back to Barcelona (bus stop 50m on left, at end of road). 1 euro fare, buses every 30 minutes, duration, less than 30 minutes. There were a few taxis on the main road and hailing one might be an option for someone in a hurry.

Cheap option

If you feel confident with your Spanish, or just confident, take the number 91 bus from Placa de Catalunya. You need to get off a few kilometres after passing the airport, as near as possible to a large sign on the left hand side of the road for "Camping El Toro Brava". Just opposite, on the right hand side of the road is a Repsol petrol station and a small fireworks factory. Cross the road (rather busy - take care) and walk down the road to the campsite, where you will start to see signs for the reserve. Return to Barcelona as described above.

The Reserve

The reserve has well made paths linking a number of hides overlooking freshwater lagoons etc. There are reeds, trees and a few open areas. A further path follows the main river channel to the sea. On our visit there were still a few post-breeding birds left, along with migrant passerines, ducks, grebes and a few waders. A group of 4 large (eagle-sized) all dark raptors passing overhead (signs in the reserve suggest that a large variety of raptors move through on passage) went unidentified, but commoner species provided a few hours entertainment. Spring will probably be the best time to visit, with lots of warbler potential but it looks like the sort of reserve that can be good at any time.

Or .

Nearby Montserrat might provide some good birding, again probably better in the spring. Get an inclusive ticket (train, cable car and funicular) from Placa de Catalunya station - avoid the option which includes a restaurant meal, unless you really want to eat there. From the top of the funicular to the spectacular summit is a relatively easy three hours, allowing time for wildlife stops. You need a head for heights and reasonable fitness, but it's much easier, say, than Ben Nevis. Even at around 4000 feet, it's still a real mountain, so take sensible precautions regarding kit and clothes. We had superb weather in late September, until a sudden drizzle on the way back turned into widespread low cloud, obscuring all the summits and causing a rapid temperature drop.


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