Monday, 23 March 2009

Tavira saltpans

We spent a couple of hours or so this afternoon around the saltpans here in Tavira. The area forms part of the Parque National da Ria Formosa, designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. It's a wonderful place to see wading birds and we can routinely see more than 20 species here in the winter months and at migration times. Just now most of the pans are dry and wader numbers are relatively low but in our short visit this afternoon we still managed to find 17 species.

They say that salt was harvested in the Tavira area as long ago as 2,000 BC and the expertise required to produce high quality salt, flor de sal as it is called here, is passed down from generation to generation. Today we were pleased to see work being done to prepare the pans for this year's production and we hope that it won't be long before the pans are flooded again and providing feeding areas for the many migrant waders that will be passing through here in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, we managed to photograph a few of the current 'residents'.

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