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Bird-Watching in Andalusia
A bird-watcher's paradise, Andalusia attracts ornithologists throughout the year, but the variety of birds increases in spring, when you can see many wintering species along with those arriving for the summer months.
The Straits of Gibraltar are a key point of passage for birds migrating between Africa and Europe. Soaring birds, such as raptors and storks, cross here because they rely on thermals and updrafts, which occur only over narrower expanses of water. One of the most impressive sights over the Straits is a crossing of flocks of storks, from August to October—numbers sometimes reach up to 3,000.
Overall, northern migrations take place between mid-February and June, while birds heading south will set off between late July and early November, when there's a westerly wind. Gibraltar itself is generally good for bird-watchers, although when there isn't much wind the Tarifa region on the Atlantic coast can be better.
There are also some 13 resident raptor species in Andalusia, and several that migrate here annually from Africa. The hillier inland parts of the Costa del Sol are the best places to see them circling high in the sky.
For more information about bird-watching in Andalusia, contact Centro Ornitológio del Estrecho de Gibraltar (Parque Natural Los Alcornocales, Carretera Nacional www.alcornocales.org), or the www.andalucia.com/rural/birdwatching.htm Web site.
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