Spain is one of the countries in Europe with the highest biodiversity. This is due to its location and its orography, which favor a wide variety of ecosystems and, consequently, the presence of a varied bird life. Not only can you see the largest number of species in Europe, but many of these species are exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula, making it impossible to observe them outside, as is the case with the spanish imperial eagle, the true emblem of the iberian wildlife.
In Spain there are many well-preserved places with great natural values, but not all of them offer the same opportunities to practice wildlife photography. Below we are going to list some of those natural places that allow us to photograph some of the highlights of Iberian fauna with the best results. In future blog posts we will expand the information on each of these places and many others that we will discover, providing information on itineraries, best dates, links of interest, etc.
Undoubtedly the group of birds most coveted by wildlife photographers is that of birds of prey. The Iberian peninsula has a great variety of species and places to observe them, but without a doubt one of the best places to photograph them is the Monfragüe National Park. Most of the Park is a reserve with restricted access, but there is a road that cuts the park from end to end. This road has several observatories from which you can obtain acceptable photos of some species of birds that outside this place it is difficult not only to photograph but to observe, such as the spanish imperial eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, black stork, egyptian vulture or cinereus vulture.
In Monfragüe three of the four Iberian vultures can be photographed, but to photograph the rarest and scarce of all it is necessary to go to the Pyrenees, This is the bearded vulture. Although it is present throughout the entire mountain range, there is a place where getting some good photographs is possible. In the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park it is not difficult to observe this species, but it is in Escuaín where there are more possibilities to photograph it. In this sector of the National Park there is a very accessible route called Los Miradores de Escuaín, from where with a bit of luck it is possible to see the bearded vulture flying past very close to the rocky wall through which the path runs, hanging over the abyss of the Canyon.
There is another ecosystem in Spain that is home to some species of birds highly sought after for their uniqueness, the cereal-growing steppes created by humans throughout history. Although there are very good examples of this environment in different parts of Extremadura, the two Castillas and Aragón, there is a particularly recommendable site, La Moraña. In this Abulense region it is possible to observe one of the most sought after species in this ecosystem, the bustard. Along the agricultural roads that cross these farmlands, it is possible to locate groups of these birds feeding on the fallows. Still, it must be borne in mind that it is a very elusive species and it is not easy to have them close so photography will always be far away.
The same does not happen with the lesser kestrels, another of the highlights of this area, which are easy to photograph in a breeding colony established in the ruins of a church.
There is a spectacle of Spanish nature that cannot be missed, the wintering of the cranes. During the winter the Iberian peninsula concentrates the bulk of the European population of this species, and there is an exceptional place for observation and photography, the Gallocanta lagoon. In addition to being able to enjoy walking the paths and observatories enabled, it is also possible to rent at a very low price some Hides located on the margins of the lagoon that allow you to obtain very good photographs. It is allowed to bait with corn in the vicinity of the hiding places to guarantee that the birds approach them. In addition to the places already mentioned, there are many others that we will analyze in successive entries.
Although all these sites offer good photography opportunities, it is important to remember two points to keep in mind when developing our activity. On the one hand, we must always respect current legislation regarding wildlife photography in the places we visit and request permits when necessary, always bearing in mind that the well-being of wildlife comes first. And secondly, although the places described are exceptional for wildlife photography, we will never be able to obtain the same results as if we do the services of specialized companies such as Wildlife Photo Spain. At Wildlife Photo Spain we are specialists in organizing photographic tours throughout Spain, using the best photographic hiding places for each species and always with all the permits required by the administration.
For this reason, to get the most out of your trip to Spain, we encourage you to combine our photographic trips with visits to the places that we will discover in future blog posts.