The river Guadalquivir in Cordoba

... is by all means very interesting for naturalists, both for Northern Europeans as well as local birdwatchers. It is also a perfect site to visit while on holiday in our city. Here you can find rich birdlife and some interesting sights.
The place to start with is the Roman Bridge where you can easily watch the Sotos de la Albolafia Natural Monument and its heronry. It is mainly composed of Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets and Night Herons (for the 2008 survey results click here In the winter it is a spectacular starling roost.
If you walk westward on the right side, the track is easy to follow and you can delight in the riparian woodland, consisting of Poplars (Populus alba) and Willows (Salix alba). This ecosystem is protected by the Habitat Directive.
More birds regurlarly turn up while birding the river: The Purple Gallinule is as spectacular as it gets.  The Little bittern, flocks of Bee-Eaters, and a large colony of Sand Martins are also regular sights.  You are guaranteed good viewing of several smaller passerines like the Cetti’s Warbler, Nightingale, Penduline Tit, and so on ...

Nycticorax nycticorax (Foto: J.M.Delgado)
Other highlights are observations of Pond terrapins (Mauremys mauritanica) and of course otters, if you are lucky enough. In fact this last species is quite common in the region and is firmily established in the city. It is easy to see tracks and footprints of otters when the water level is low and leaves plenty of mud and topping stones in view. Whenever you walk along the San Rafael Bridge, keep an eye on the river. You can see adults at any time, but the best time of the day is dusk (something of a 10% chance to see the local otter!).

Each year there are more than a hundred bird species recorded along the 7km strech of river surveyed by our non-profit organization. You can find the complete results of our surveys and more general information (with english summaries) in our downloadable magazine Arvícola (issue nº,1 click here). Enjoy yourself and please, tell us about your experience here.