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Bird Watching Santa Pola Natural Park • Ian


Santa Pola Natural Park SANTA POLA SALINAS

Santa pola Salt flats are impossible to miss if you travel along the N332. From the Alicante Direction.

There are two firms that operate the salt production for this area. The first and largest, the Bras del Port works, is found soon after leaving Santa Pola and just after you pass the mountains of Salt on your left.

 
   

Walking in Spain

Santa Pola Natural Park SANTA POLA SALINAS

Santa pola Salt flats are impossible to miss if you travel along the N332. From the Alicante Direction.

There are two firms that operate the salt production for this area. The first and largest, the Bras del Port works, is found soon after leaving Santa Pola and just after you pass the mountains of Salt on your left.

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The present Santa Pola salt works and the space that today constitutes El Hondo used to form a great wetland known as the Albufera de Elche, which covered almost the whole plain of Elche.

Santa Pola Salt Works Nature Reserve is 2,470 hectares in size. The environments found in this natural enclave are extremely varied.

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Richards-pipit

It is a good idea to take the turning on your left just prior to these salt mountains, because you will find at the end of the road a nice un commerialised beach. Beware the human species tend to use this a Naturists Beach (Nudists). Along this beach area in the winter months you are likely to be able to see Richards Pipits

Richards Pipit Only a few over winter in countries like Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

After exploring the beach you need to go back to the main N332 and turn left with care, carry on down untill the road bears sharp left and over on the right you will see the newly renervated Old Tower, pull in here

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Tower of Tamarit Santa Pola as it was

Tower of Tamarit Santa Polas as it is now

View of the tower of Tamarit, situated in the parque natural de las Salinas de Santa Pola in the province Alicante, Spain
Once you have parked do take extra care of your belongs you should lock up the car (in the boot out of site) and do not leave on show items insde the car that are of value. Once you walk with care a little way you will very likely have sightings of Slender-billed Gull, Osprey and Sandwich Tern, many other species are always possible, including Great White Egret and Spoonbill.

This Nature Reserve -officially declared "Region of Special Importance for Birdlife"- is one of the few places in this country where you can watch flamingos and storks any month of the year.

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The Museo de la Sal works as an Information Centre for the Park, also providing guided tours and a bird watching centre.

Guided Visits (with or without animation) can be scheduled. For more information, contact Artalia, phone number +34 637143545 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +34 637143545 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. E-mail artalialugardelarte@yahoo.es

Another recently started activity localy is sea harvesting, devoted mainly to breeding shrimps and prawns.

BIRDS INCLUDE

The flamingo, which can be observed in the Reserve in concentrations of up to 8,000 individuals,

Flamingos

 

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Little Grebe (W), Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe (W), Balearic Shearwater (PM,W), Cory's Shearwater (W), European Storm-petrel (Su), Great Cormorant (W), Mediterranean Shag, Northern Gannet (PM,W), Little Bittern (Su), Black-crowned Night Heron (scarce PM), Squacco Heron (Su), Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron (Su), White Stork (PM), Glossy Ibis (scarce PM), Eurasian Spoonbill (scarce PM), Greater Flamingo, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon (W), Common Teal (PM), Mallard, Northern Pintail (scarce W), Garganey (PM), Northern Shoveler (W), Marbled Duck (Su), Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard (W), Tufted Duck (scarce W), Common Scoter (W), Marsh Harrier (W), Montagu's Harrier (PM), Osprey (PM,W), Common Kestrel, Common Quail (Su), Water Rail, Eurasian Coot (W), Black-winged Stilt (Su), Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover (PM), Ringed Plover (PM,W), Kentish Plover (Su), Golden Plover (W), Grey Plover (W), Northern Lapwing (W), Red Knot (PM), Sanderling (PM), Little Stint (PM), Curlew Sandpiper (PM), Dunlin (PM), Ruff (PM), Slender-billed Gull (PM), Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Tern (PM), Sandwich Tern (PM,W), Common Tern (Su), Gull-billed Tern (Su), Whiskered Tern (Su), Black Tern (PM), Razorbill (W), Rock Dove, Pallid Swift (Su), Common Kingfisher (W), European Bee-eater (Su, PM), Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark (Su), Lesser Short-toed Lark, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow (Su,PM), Eurasian Crag Martin (W), Water Pipit (W), Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Su), Black-eared Wheatear (Su), Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Zitting Cisticola,Savi's Warbler (Su), Moustached Warbler, Reed Warbler (Su), Great Reed Warbler (Su), Sardinian Warbler, Bearded Tit, Woodchat Shrike (Su), Spotless Starling, Reed Bunting.

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These pools are a lagoon and spit type wetland area that is part of what used to be a much larger swamp on the flood plain of the left bank of the River Segura. Nowadays, mainly due to the actions of man, the area is divided into two large areas of wetlands:

El Hondo de Elche and Santa Pola, with an area of brine pools between the two.

The area is fed by a mixed water supply; it receives sub-surface fresh water from further inland and salt water that enters through the channels that connect the lagoon with the sea.

The part that is permanently under water is limited to the area of the saltworks, whereas the rest of the area suffers sporadic and variable flooding.

The typical vegetation is salt water, made up of species whose distribution depends on the presence of water and the degree of salinity. At one end of the scale, one finds communities of hyper-saline annual saltworts and salt grass, which gradually give way to perennial saltworts, species of sea lavender and many other species as salinity and humidity decrease. Some of these species are endemic (Limonium santapolense, etc.) and of great bio-geographic interest.

Further inland, in the fresh-water zone, one finds hydrophilic communities of reeds and rushes making their contribution to the botanical diversity of the area.


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