All Saints Day, November 1st, is probably not really the best time to see Andalucía’s flamingos. Yet, pretty much all year round one is certain to catch a glimpse of some of these fragile looking birds that breed in Andalucía’s largest lagoon.
Since it was a public holiday, and sunny without a cloud in the sky, we headed up to the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra, about an hour or so north of Malaga; all the more close thanks to the new motorway.
Just outside the village of Fuente de Piedra is the lagoon; a huge salty lake that makes a perfect habitat for these delicate pink flamingos. Most have already headed off to Africa, but with this warm autumn, there are still a few left, headsbowed, digging around in the shallow waters on the edge of the lake, looking for crustacea.
Hundreds of species of bird come to this special place – close to Africa, the lagoon is a conveniently located point for wildlife to recuperate after an intercontinental trip! So it's a great place for nature lovers.
It is a real oasis in a landscape that has been totally altered through farming and the cultivation of olives – even the lagoon was exploited for its salt, the very mineral that attracts the flamingos; and in the nineteenth century it was under threat of being drained!
The lagoon is protected now and there is an updated visitor centre offering rental mountain bikes - a great way to get around the lake and explore the hiking trails. We’re told spring is the best time to see the birds, rosy pink after their winter in Africa.
The nearby village has little of note, but it does have a charming period train station that appears in a time warp compared to its neighbouring stations on the ultra fast AVE line, where trains pass at 300kph!