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Torrevieja Birding Guide & Map for the Best Spots

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Bird-Watching in Vega Baja del Segura

Torrevieja is located within a unique area of Spain. Its low profile made it so that some parts of the region are below sea level. This has produced various water bodies within the area and when it comes to it in terms of bird habitats, whatever that occurred naturally, or was done by humans centuries ago to extract salt from the sea, the origins are not relevant. The plains of Vega Baja del Segura are natural wetlands, which provide good conditions to many migrating birds and some species who adapted to live here throughout the year. I’m confident that you’ll have many interesting encounters with various birds whichever you look for them or not. Certainly, the area is densely populated by both humans and birds. Situated between prime bird-watching locations like El Hondo, San Pedro del Pinatar, and the local salt lagoons of the city, one thing is certain – Torrevieja is great for birding enthusiasts.

Muscovy Duck – there are usual and unusual visitors of El Hondo Nature Reserve. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Birding Spots Map

El Hondo Nature Reserve

If Costa Blanca belongs to ex-pats and tourists, El Hondo is a real metropolis of birds. Situated just about 30km / 19 mi from the Mediterranean Sea, this birds’ paradise would impress even casual visitors. Though El Fondo consists of many lakes and ponds, the main attraction is situated just next to the center of El Hondo Nature Park. A 1km long hiking trail is like a “bird safari”. You could spend hours observing the marvelous species even without actually starting the trail. Across the whole range of the hiking route, you’ll find four bird-watching cabins and a bridge over a pond filled with various ducks, hens, and other bird species. All of it covers only a small part of El Hondo. While most of it is preserved for the birds and the staff of the park only, it is possible to reach much more bird-watching cabins in the south, or contact the park rangers to arrange a bird-watching tour deep within El Hondo Nature Park. 

Though Greater Flamingos are a common sight, it is rare to see them from up-close. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Bird to See

Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
El Hondo Nature Reserve is located just 30 km / 18.6 mi from Torrevieja. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Torrevieja and La Mata Nature Park

Salt lagoons of Torrevieja and La Mata are an obvious destination for bird-watching. Together with the Segura River, they build a natural sanctuary for many birds. The vineyards surrounding the southeastern side of La Mata Lagoon make this part of the area exceptionally attractive to a great variety of species. No surprise that the very heart of the nature park resides here. From what I saw this is the best place for bird-spotting around Torrevieja, especially if you are a casual bird watcher. My personal favorites are hoopoes, red-legged partridges, Iberian grey shrikes, and many smaller species of birdies.

There are plenty of bird-watching towers around the perimeter of La Mata Salt Lagoon. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

In the water of salt lagoons lookout for avocets, stilts, and various species of plovers. Endangered Kentish Plover is the dearest one of the area. Trees are the home for countless small birdies. You’ll probably be going to hear wrynecks from afar, but good luck spotting them. Graceful doves will be what you’d get. This is only a small forecast of what you’ll see in this birds’ paradise, the salt lagoons of Torrevieja and La Mata are. 

Birds to See

Nrik kiran, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
La Mata Nature Park has a high variety of natural environments and all of them are dominated by birds. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Santa Pola Lagoons

Pink Flamingos – the main and certainly a good enough reason to visit the salt lagoons of Santa Pola. It is one of the sanctuaries of these majestic birds in the Valencian Community. Flamingos are so plentiful that spotting them is almost 100% guarantee at any time. No gear is required either, all you have to do is simply drive through the lagoons on the road N-332 between Santa Pola and Torrevieja. There are few parking lots, where you can stop to observe flamingos in detail but generally, they tend to shy away from these ponds to the ones further from the road.

Greater Flamingos tend to shy away from spotlight in Santa Pola Salt Lagoons. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

This is where binoculars or spotting scope comes in handy. Though spotting birds here is generally easy, the gear is mandatory to enjoy the company of pink greater flamingos and other birds. Together with gulls and stilts, these elegant birds usually dominate the lagoons, but keep your eye on

Bird to See

Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Tower of Tamarit is a perfect place for a quick birding stop in Santa Pola. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Cabo Cervera

Big numbers of bird species find the sea as their natural home. The problem for bird-watchers is that the spaces are even bigger, thus observing birds might be not as convenient. The general rule of bird spotting by the sea – if they don’t come to you, you go to them. Walking along the coast will ensure encounters with many different bird species. My favorite place for birdwatching around Torrevieja is Cabo Cervera. This rocky cape is a wonder of nature worth exploring on its own but given the birds which feed here – walking along the coast is never boring.

A Gang of Kentish Plovers – An endangered species in the area. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Don’t forget to look out the vast waters of the Mediterranean, where among various species of gulls, Northern gannets dive the sea for food. If you are lucky – you can observe an unlucky individual of these beautiful birds chased by a Great skua. During the off-season of tourism, the walking route could be extended to La Mata beaches for the small Sanderlings and Kentish Plovers. 

Bird to See

Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wader birds, which dominate Cabo Cervera, specialize in finding hidden food. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Segura River Channel

Segura is the longest river in the Province of Alicante. Naturally, it has been the source of life not only for people since prehistoric times but other lifeforms as well. To this day, the river plays an important role in human life and as the result – the delta of Segura river has been heavily industrialized. This greatly affects the potential of this natural hub for many animals including birds. Even despite all the human activities, the river is still filled with birds. The best spotting route from my experience goes from Guardamar de Segura, following the river to the Mediterranean Sea. From there you can follow the coastline and then turn inland through the Park of Alfonse XIII for the maximum variety of bird species. You’ll most likely be going to spot some grey herons, little egrets, great cormorants along with various ducks and hens. Be sure to visit Queen Sofia Park, located between Park of Alfonse XII and Guardamar, for semi-domesticated peacocks and other birds.

Most of the birds are a bit further from the very delta of Segura river. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Birds to See

xulescu_g, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Salt Lagoons of San Pedro del Pinatar

There are many reasons to visit the Salt Lagoons of San Pedro del Pinatar and birds are definitely one of them. Within a fairly limited area, you can find the Mediterranean, Mar Menor, and salt lagoons themselves. No surprise this variety attracts a wide range of bird species. The lagoons are dominated by Greater flamingos, elsewhere look for the usual suspects of the Spanish coastline like Kentish plovers and their cousins, accompanied by countless species of gulls and smaller bird species. San Pedro del Pinatar has an exceptional landscape, worth a visit by itself, but you never know who else going to show up on any given day. 

Bird to See

Davidvraju, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Even in urbanized salty ponds, flamingos are flamingos. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Personal Experience

Without a doubt, I’m yet to fully explore all the depths of birding possibilities in the wetlands surrounding Torrevieja. The potential is so high that I imagine it can only be done throughout years of constant bird watching. There might be very few people alive who actually saw everything the area could show and even so – the diversity is probably always changing. Climate change for sure leaves its marks here. Nevertheless, the high diversity of different salinity water bodies provide in the region provide all year round or temporarily home to a great variety of birds. Birding around Torrevieja will be a real joy to any enthusiast of this endeavor. 

All content and photos by Alis Monte. If you want to collaborate, contact me on info@ctdots.eu Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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