Gallocanta lagoon: good winter birding

Located on a continental plateau at an altitude of around 1,000m Gallocanta lagoon is deservedly well-known for its role as a stopover and wintering site for thousands of Common Cranes Grus grus. The spectacle offered by these birds as they gather to roost on and around the lagoon, especially in February and March, is one that any visiting birder worth his binoculars could hardly fail to appreciate.

Common Cranes winter and migrate through Gallocanta

The first-time visitor should know a few things about this site when planning a winter visit. Firstly, it can get very cold here in the winter, so make sure you bring your woollies! Secondly, the level of water in the lagoon depends entirely on rainfall, and that has been scarce or intermittent in recent years, so don’t be surprised if the water in the “lagoon” is only a at a fraction of its capacity.

However, only the fickle and faint should be put off by the above. Apart from the Cranes and other waterbirds there may be on the lagoon itself, there are a lot of interesting birds that can be found on Gallocanta’s shores and in the surrounding area. These include a small but regular wintering population of Great Bustards, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark, Thekla Lark, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture…there are even small numbers of Dupont’s Lark if you care to try and find them.

For more information see the Gallocanta itinerary in the sites and itineraries section of the website.

Oh yes! And don’t miss Eloïsa Matheu’s wonderfully atmospheric recording on the same page.

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