Friday, August 31, 2001


Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l’Emporda July/August 2001

While on a family holiday in Spain I took the opportunity to visit The Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l’Emporda. The park is located between Sant Pere Pescador and Castello d’Empuries in northeast Costa Brava.

The Catalan parliament declared the Emporda marshes a natural site of national interest in 1983 and afforded it all the protection of a nature reserve. This accounts for 4,824 ha. Including 850 ha of Global Natural Reserve and is the second most important area in Catalonia next to the Ebro Delta.

There have been 323 different species of birds observed, 93 of which breed there. Some of the more interesting nesting birds include; Kentish Plover, Stone-Curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Montagu’s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Purple Heron and Bittern. White Storks have also nested in the reserve and a project is running to encourage them to continue. Purple Gallinule’s were introduced five years ago and are breeding successfully.

A total of five visits were made to the reserve during my stay, four mornings and one evening visit. The more visible species were; White Stork, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Mallard and Little Ringed Plover. Also Cetti’s and Fan-tailed Warbler were extremely vocal throughout the reserve. However a little time spent in either one of the hides, wooded areas or scrub would always produce something different. The most exciting time for me was watching the Bee-eaters hunt and interestingly seeing them dive into water after insects. Also seeing Golden Oriole, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler and Alpine Swift was very exciting.

Species List   (Species in Italics were seen outside of the reserve)

Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Dunlin, Little Stint, Greenshank, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Snipe, Curlew, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Cattle Egret, Night Heron, White Stork, Mallard, Gadwall, Water Rail, Purple Gallinule, Moorhen, Coot, Common Buzzard, Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Little Owl, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Swift, Sand Martin, Pallid Swift, House Martin,  Swallow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Subalpine Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Wren, Moustached Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Starling, Nightingale, Woodchat Shrike, White Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Serin, Yellowhammer, Linnet, House Sparrow, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Kingfisher, Hoopoe.