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Bird Migration along the Guadalhorce Valley Green Corridor

Diputación de Málaga
Cigüeñas blancas en migración

Bird Migration along the Guadalhorce Valley Green Corridor

Bird migration involves a variety of birds, from small insectivores to larger birds

Bird Migration

Bird migration natural phenomenon takes place in the Western Palaearctic realm every year. Millions of birds move from their reproduction areas in western Europe and the areas where they spend winter in the northeast Africa through the Strait of Gibraltar. These long-distance migrations happen twice a year. There is a pre-breeding or spring migration which occurs between March and May, and it involves bird migrations from Africa, where they have spent winter, back to Europe in order to start mating. On the other hand, there is a post-breeding or autumn migration, when they fly to the opposite direction from the end of July to the beginning or middle of November after mating to spend winter and rest.

Bird migration involves a variety of birds, from small insectivores, such as common chiffchaffs, flycatchers or nightingales, to larger birds, like storks or birds of prey. The latter ones are known as soaring birds, which are most attractive for those who are keen on studying bird migrations because they are easy to follow during the day, and because of their spectacular flight and their stops at specific places along the way, like the Strait and its influence area.

The Importance of the Guadalhorce Green Corridor during Pre-Breeding Migration

Thanks to its closeness to the Strait of Gibraltar, the Guadalhorce Valley Green Corridor is ideal for watching the birds soaring in the sky during autumn migrations, especially during certain weather conditions when west wind is blowing. When the wind is strong, birds fly towards eastern or northeastern slope of the strait in the Guadalhorce Valley.

Migrations Calendar

Not all birds migrate at the same time, but every species or subpopulation migrates at certain time of year after they breed. Black kites and white storks go on their journey in July and August, although in the second half of this month, bird diversity increases as there are also booted eagles, short-toed snake eagles or Montagu's harriers.

In September, there are more different species besides the above ones, such as European honey buzzards, lesser kestrels and Egyptian vulture.

Some other species which are rather famous because they are rare or unique can be seen at this time as well, for example, golden eagles, lesser spotted eagles, red kites, and the pale or pallid harrier. The number of species is lower in October, but it is still a good moment for bird-watching considering that there are rare species such as hen harriers, common buzzards, merlins or Eleonora's falcons. The end of migration period takes place in the second half of October and November when the Eurasian griffon vulture plays a leading role, and cinereous vultures and Rüppell's griffon vultures appear occasionally.

Places for Bird-Watching along the Green Corridor

When the western wind blows, any high place or vantage point which exist in the wide basin is a good spot for watching the birds that migrate in autumn. We are listing certain places which are particularly good for bird-watching in the Guadalhorce Valley.

• Sierra Gorda Viewpoint in Coín                                                                                                             

The view from the top of this mountain or small mountain range, which rises between the Fahala River and the valleys of the River Grande and Peréilas, encloses the migrating birds which come to the Guadalhorce Valley from northeast, east and southeast, during the post-breeding period.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Cerro Gordo-Alburquería Viewpoint (Coín)

This natural observatory is an excellent viewpoint where one can enjoy watching birds that migrate during the day. There is one unique species, the Eleonora’s falcon, which flies to this area at the end of spring and beginning of summer.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Del Santo [Saint’s] Viewpoint (Sierra del Gibralmora, Pizarra)

From this spot, which is placed above Pizarra village and the precipices of the western slope of the Sierra de Gibralmora, you will have wonderful panoramic view of the Guadalhorce Valley Green Corridor.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Los Espartales Mountains and the Sierra Llana (Cártama)

Los Espartales Mountains and the Sierra de Lana, which are a bit more than 400 metres high, make a small massif, where soaring birds, as well as those which are not, join from northeast, east and southeast during their pre-breeding migration.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Hacho Mountain (Álora)

Migratory birds come to the tops of this mountain or its middle height, above all, on its eastern and northeastern side, from the north or northeast. Here, it is rather difficult to bear the temperatures at midday when it is very sunny. However, it is an ideal place for bird-watching if you come early in the morning and in the evening.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Valle de Abdalajís Mountains (Valle de Abdalajís)

This range is part of the Arco Calizo Central, a limestone mountain range, or the Antequera Mountain Range, and embraces migratory birds that come from the north and northeast and go towards the beginning of the Guadalhorce Valley area or the upper part of the Guadalhorce Valley Green Corridor. Steep mountainsides of this massif help the birds soar or glide. The higher parts of Huma Mountain (1,191 MASL), La Capilla Peak (1,186 MASL) or Charcón Peak (1,015 MASL), as well as the mountainsides and passes in this mountain range, are great places to observe soaring birds.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

• Santi Petri Hill (Almogía)

The same as other natural vantage points in the area, the highest point of Almogía Village, Santi Petri Hill, is a place where you watch a great and diverse number of species of soaring birds during their pre-breeding migrations.
Ubicación en Google Maps.

Autor. Salvador Solís Gómez