Because of the extensive usage of the land, a large part of Extremadura is exceptionally suited for many plants and animals. Of course, Extremadura is famous largely for its great variety of birds. Every year, bird watchers come from everywhere in Europe to witness this abundance. However, there are many mammals too. A meeting with an otter is no rarity, especially not if you are patient. Red deer, roe deer, wild boars and badgers are also common. Less eye-catching animals, such as the stone-marten, mongoose, ermine and weasel are common. The common genet lives here too, but is difficult to spot. Next to the birds and mammals, Extremadura also contains many amphibians and reptiles; too many species to name. Everywhere in Extremadura, these animals can be found in the nature around you. Even so, there are a couple of regions in which the chance of spotting these rare animals is higher than usual:
Without a doubt, this parc is the most famous area of Extremadura. In Monfragüe, you can find the highest density of birds of prey in the entirety of Europe. Two impressive rivers, the Tagus and Tiëtar, are dammed in Monfragüe. From the castle of Monfragüe, you have a beautiful view over the entire area. A large part of the area is shut for visitors, but there are two roads through the region, and several spots have been established for lovers of nature. At these spots, you can be certain to find the griffon vulture and black stork. Black kites fly everywhere, although its red relative is less common. Golden eagles, Spanish imperial eagles, booted eagles, Bonelli’s eagles and short-toad snake eagles can be seen with a bit of luck, and so are the black vulture and Egyptian vulture. On the rocks next to the Tiëtar, the eagle owl breeds. In the parc, many other species reside that do not immediately stand out as much. Among them are the blue rock trush, rock bunting, white-rumped swift and subalpine warbler. If you wish to see many birds, the best thing to do is to stay at a vantage point and have patience; the birds usually pass by every now and then. Also, a couple of walking routes have been set out. It is also possible to make many observations from there. At the dam, there is a lovely picnic place in the shade. In Spring, you can see breeding griffon vultures and ravens from there.
Cornalvo is situated a little south from the finca. In the parc, there is a reservoir with a lovely footpath around it. When you follow the road further up, you arrive at an observation point for birds. From there, you can drive through the dehesa on a 16 km long road. On this route, it is easy to spot all the bird species that are typical for the dehesa: the hoopoe, azur winged magpie and various other songbirds are present in large numbers. Black kites are also common; several species of eagles and vultures can also be seen, and next to the reservoir you can also find the osprey. In the parc, there are several walking routes.
La Serena is the place to be in Extremadura for watching birds of the steppes. The great and little bustard, stone-curlew, pin-tailed and black-bellied sandgrouse all live there. The collared pratincole can be spotted from the road, and there are also many calandra larks and thekla larks to be found. Various species of birds of prey hunt on the steppes, while vultures search for carcasses in the air, and large groups of storks float on the thermals. The landscape of La Serena is also worthwile. Especially gorgeous are the surroundings of Campanario, where typical rocks mark the landscape, so-called dogteeth, or, as the Spanish call them: “los dientes del diablo” (devil’s teeth). It is easily possible to combine a trip to La Serena with a visit to the large reservoirs: the Embalse de la Serena and the Embalse de Orellana.
Very different to the Serena are the steppes between Trujillo and Cáceres. The vastness of the landscape is very impressive. In Spring, the steppes are filled with many various colours of flowers. Here too, the steppe birds can be seen. In the Spring and Summer, you also have a good chance of meeting European rollers. There are a number of good roads through the steppes from which you have a beautiful view across this impressive landscape.
Along the river Guadiana there are several areas that are of special interest for migrating wading birds. From Autumn to March, huge numbers of cranes live here. In the Spring and Summer, all types of herons that can be found in Extremadura can be seen there.
Los Barruecos is a nature parc near Malpartida de Cáceres. The granite blocks on which the storks have built their nests are characteristic of this parc. In the parc, it is possible to go for a walk. Small songbirds such as the Dartford warbler and Cetti’s warbler can be seen here. There is also a museum of Wolf Vostell in the parc. In the parc itself, sculptures made by this artist have been placed. Next to these areas, Extremadura contains many more beautiful places where special observations can be done, such as the various sierras, Arrocampo, the reservoir of Tálavan, and the steppes near Belén. These are each also gorgeous regions each with a character of their own.
On this website you can find much more information about the nature in Extremadura.
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