Sub title: An extended Local Patch
Apart from leading and guiding a great many wonderful wildlife tours around the world, nature in my local area still holds great joys and surprises. It is always a pleasure to travel with likeminded folk and friends whilst trotting around some of the most exotic wonders of our natural world, but it is all too easy to forget the wonders on my own doorstep! Pondering the extended local patch I tour with people, also indulging myself in spare moments, I realize I have it all, from steppe to wetland areas and finally up high in my mountains of the staggering Serranía de Ronda. Such variety, such beautiful scenery, such a way of life makes for a very real privileged existence, one I appreciate and enjoy to the full.
The area or, probably more correctly, areas, are among the most important in the whole of southern Spain. On the steppe of Osuna you can still find good numbers of Great Bustard, in fact the largest concentration in Andalucia, while many sites hold good numbers of European Roller, Lesser Kestrel and Collared Pratincole to name just a few important species. Whilst northeast of Osuna there lies the most important breeding ground for Greater Flamingo in Europe, Fuente de Piedra.
Fuente de Piedra, a large saline lagoon, can hold up to 38,000 adult Greater Flamingo, while the lagoon also plays host to an enviable large colony of Gull-billed Tern. The spring can be a great time to visit this area with migrant waders showing well in their breeding plumage, with some remaining to breed including Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover and Little-ringed Plover, Stone Curlew breed in the surrounding countryside. Moving southeast we soon arrive in the mountains of the Serranía de Ronda.
The high elevation of the Serranía de Ronda and diversity of habitats results in a wide variety of raptors frequenting the area. From high mountains, rocky crags, dramatic cliff faces to woodland and open spaces, the area offers just about every habitat required by a vast range of raptor species. Our resident breeding eagles the Bonelli’s and Golden Eagle, both favour nest sites on vertical cliffs with a preference for an overhang to the actual nest site, although this is not always apparent when viewing the nest. Our summer visiting eagles, Booted and Short-toed Eagle, choose woodland or even small copses for nesting. Of course there are more than raptors here, so many mountain birds such as Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear breed, whilst warblers are here in great variety.
All these areas beckon much needed tourism, but especially nature and cultural orientated tourism. In fact, tourism may be the only way these natural wonders may be conserved and preserved. In a world increasingly aware of the harm that tourism can do, helping to protect the environment - both at home and overseas - is very important. Visiting these areas can have an immense benefit on both the destinations and the people who live there. Helping to conserve natural and cultural assets and injecting often much-needed cash into local economies is hugely important to many of the rural places visited by environmentally aware tourists, so help protect the natural wonders here by choosing these areas as your next holiday, you won’t regret it!
A pictorial of this natural wonder
Why not join Peter on one his Day Tours? See Links below.
Serranía de Ronda – My Mountains – for further information read HERE
Osuna – Steppe Country – for further information read HERE
Campillos - Mountains to Lagoons - for further information read HERE
Strait of Gibraltar - Migration, wetlands and so much more read HERE