PARQUE NATURAL SIERRA DE ANDÚJAR (SIERRA MORENA)
ANDALUSIA, JAEN (NW)
Lat: 38°17′23″N 4°01′43″E, 74,916.5 ha, 1,290m (Burcio del Pino)
Best Time for visit; anytime ()
Birding Site Guide
The Sierra Morena is located in S central Spain. The airport is in Malaga, from where it is a drive NE on the motorway. The area to head for is the River Jandula and dam along the JF5004 (some sources give it as JH ?). Anywhere in this area there is good birding for Iberian species and of course always keep a look out for Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus often cited as the rarest cat in the world, or at least Europe, with only 300 left. This is the main stronghold for them with the delta of the Coto Donana being a smaller stronghold. The area known as La Lancha gives the best view over the valley.
Villa Matilda is a wonderful place to stay in the area Hotel Matilde.
Of birds Spanish Imperial Eagle is obviously high on the list and easily seen, but there are also Golden Eagle, as well as Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures, Common Buzzards and owls. Other birds, depending on habitat are the introduced Azure-winged Magpie (now split with the prefix Iberian), Iberian Grey Shrike, Red-billed Chough, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Blue Rock Thrush, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher and smaller birds include Rock and Cirl Bunting, Spotless Starling, Hawfinches, Crested Tit, Crag Martin, House Martin, Black Redstart, Dartford and Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper and Serin.
River Enchinarejo Valley
Iberian Lynx is the obvious star with 70% of the world’s population found here, there is also Wild Cat and Wolf, Wild Boar, Roe and Fallow Deer, Ibex, Mouflon and European Otter (Enchinarejo Valley and river especially) and of course Rabbit. The easiest way to see the Iberian Lynx is from the road to the reservoir where it gives a huge view of the valley. Morning and evening the cats cross this road via specially constructed, for them, viaducts below the road. Keep an eye on the observers around these viaducts and eventually a cat will cross. They are totally unbothered by humans and don’t even deign to look at you even at 30m! Cool cats!
Bats in the region (look in the cave near the dam) included Mediterranean Horseshoe Rhnolophus euryale and pipistrelle spp. bats.
River Enchinarejo Valley
Cork and Holm Oak, Strawberry Trees, Lentisc and Wild olives. Pine included Austrian and Umbrella. Along river courses oleander, alder, willow and poplar will be found.
Trips can be booked through the people I went with, my friends Nick and Lance who run Birding Abroad: Birding Abroad.