The Refugio de Fauna Silvestre de la Laguna de Sariñena (in Aragonese Refuchio de Fauna Silvestre d’a Lacuna de Sarinyena ) is a wildlife refuge located in Los Monegros in the south of the province of Huesca. The refuge, which has an area of 604 hectares was declared as a protected natural area for the first time on April 4 1995. It is located within the municipality of Sariñena between the basins of the Alcanadre and Flumen rivers. In 2001, the natural space was also declared a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) together with the other nearby lagoon of the Balsa de la Estación.
The Sariñena lagoon is endorheic meaning that its waters have a very high concentration of salts.
Intensive farming and using the lagoon water for irrigation during the 1970s caused the water level to drop dramatically and this in turn changed the saline concentration and the lagoon was in danger of drying up completely. However, a group of researchers and several naturalists proposed the construction of a drainage channel around the lagoon that would guarantee a similar level of water throughout the year. As a consequence of this successful campaign and work completed there is now a ring of reed surrounding the lagoon and numerous species of birds summer or winter in the environs.
This is one of the most important areas for birdlife in Aragón and serves as a shelter for numerous species of aquatic birds. It is considered to be the second most important wetland in Aragon, after the Gallocanta lagoon, and almost 12,000 birds spend the winter on its shores.
Find a hotel close to the Refugio de Fauna Silvestre de la Laguna de Sariñena
Some birds seen at the Refugio de Fauna Silvestre de la Laguna de Sariñena. (In no particular order).
European bee-eater, Hoopoe, Golden eagle, Marsh harrier, Stone curlew , Common shrike , Mallard, Sandpiper, Bittern, Avocet, Long-eared Owl, Griffon Vulture, Buzzard, Purple Swamphen, Great Tit, Kestrel, White Stork, Quail, Black wheatear, Crow, Cuckoo, Raven, Little egret, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Swallow , Spanish Sparrow, House Sparrow, , Tree Sparrow, Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Yellow wagtail, Barn Owl, Black Kite, Blackbird, Little Owl, Golden oriole, Wood pigeon, Linnet, Shoveler duck, Red legged partridge Nightingale, Great crested grebe, Turtledove, Swift, Greenfinch.
Otters in the Refugio de Fauna Silvestre de la Laguna de Sariñena
Interestingly, this laguna and surrounding irrigation channels have a high concentration of otter. This is due to the abundant food supply of the introduced American red crab. Read more about otters in Spain here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/otter-lutra-lutra-nutria-europea/
Tourism, Ornithology and Nature Fair – AVENATUR
This biannual Fair (normally taking place in November) has been created by the Sariñena City Council to promote the conservation of the natural environment both locally and globally and also to promote ornithological tourism in Aragón.
Avenatur website: www.avenatur.com (In Spanish)
There is an excellent interpretation centre in the town of Sariñena and I recommend you visit there before you visit the lagoon itself. The staff are very knowledgable and will tell you all you need to know to get the best out of a visit. (Unfortunately its only open on weekends). Inside the centre you will find:
- Audiovisual exhibitions.
- Recreation area with botanical garden.
- Bird Observatory at the foot of the Lagoon.
Interpretation Center hours: Open weekends and holidays
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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