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The Ebro delta is the most important wetland area on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, and the second largest in the Iberian Peninsula. It is situated 200 km southwest of Barcelona as an extensive, flat marsh area at the mouth of the river Ebro. The delta is formed by sediments transported seawards by the river, a process which began hundreds of years ago and still continues to change the shape and appearance of the land.
The delta contains several natural habitat types such as lagoons of varying salinity and depth, dunes, shallow beaches and bays, as well as the river and its riparian woodlands. However, the delta is dominated by human activities, and the vast majority of the land is used for agricultural purposes. Rice fields are dominating, but the delta also contains small fruit plantations and salt pans, all adding to the delta's diversity.
The delta is like a moving tapestry of colour, spectacle and fantasy. There's so much variety and abundance of species that when I first visited it I could barely sit still for fear - absolute fear - of missing something.
Birds were everywhere. Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and Great Reed Warbler were competing for space on the tops of reed stems with Little Bittern of all things. Meanwhile, on the lagoons behind them, Black-necked Grebe, Red-crested Pochard and a host of other ducks were apparently doing exactly the opposite and lazily rafting away the day, wisely allowing the magnificent Greater Flamingo to lavish all the attention.
Although the diversity of herons for me will always symbolise the delta - all nine European species breed here - it is the sea and shorebirds of which I have become most fond.
Swarms of migrant Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Marsh Sandpiper and Osprey all join the delta's very own Collared Pratincole, Black-winged Stilt, Slender-billed Gull and the largest population of the world's rarest gull, the Audouin's Gull.
Some, such as Whiskered Tern,Caspian Tern, Gull-billed Tern and even a few Lesser Crested Tern seem to dart and swerve their way directly into your notebook. But others, such as Glossy Ibis, Spotted Crake and Purple Gallinule resist, skulking deep within the reeds themselves and a careful scan of the many clearings is needed to see them sneaking out, ever watchful of hunting Marsh Harrier.
Birds you can see here include:
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Content and images originally posted by Stephen C and Cristian Jensen
Stephen C's reviews
This for me is quite simply the best birding location I have ever been to; there is always something else around the corner. And there are lots of corners! The incredible range (and quantity) of species is the attraction here, where you can be watching a Zitting Cisticola one second and a Greater Flamingo the next.
Most can be observed at close quarters even without the hides and viewpoints and so its great for introducing someone to bird watching, particularly young people.
The seasonal changes are also noticable but more and more species, such as the squacco heron, are beginning to overwinter.
Habitats include rice fields, reed beds and wetlands, freshwater and saltwater marsh, coastal dunes and scrub.
A great place to take the family or go alone and there are a couple of excellent restaurants along the way! Apart from around the restaurants, at certain times of year, you could go all day without seeing anyone. Just you and the birds.
These days, thankfully, experience affords me the luxury of touring my favourite spots, sitting calmy and allowing the birds to come to me. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
For more info: email me at [email protected]
- Something different everytime I go; peaceful
- incredible variety of species
- good all year round
- for birding: the beach is packed in august