Castilla-La Mancha is one of the largest regions of Spain that Miguel de Cervantes used as a setting to write his amazing masterpiece Don Quixote. It has several of the best natural parks, like Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park (check out this story to know more about this fantastic wetland near the city of Ciudad Real), plenty of wind-mills as well beautiful landscapes and amazing sunsets. I am a big fan of spending time hiking and walking in nature, listening to nature sounds and birds singing, and I am lucky I have the chance to visit some of the most unique and beautiful natural parks of my country very often. In this story, I am going to tell you about one of the best birding locations and natural parks near the city of Ciudad Real, Tablas de Daimiel. There are other great bird-watching locations in Spain, and if you are in the mood to see some rare flying creatures, you should visit Monfrague National Park, which another writer has visited and written about.
Tablas de Daimiel is a beautiful and important wetland inside the Iberian Peninsula located in the heart of La Mancha region (probably, one of the driest regions of my country), which is very well known for its impressive animal richness, incredible landscapes and sunsets. This small natural park is one of the most endangered wetlands in the world, that forms an exceptional and unique ecosystem from the overflows of the Guadiana and Cigüela rivers in their middle sections.
Its great ecological worth is the bird life that uses this area in winter and for nesting, therefore creating an entire area of water birds. These birds are the real protagonists of the park - they include the great crested grebe, the common grebe, black-necked grebe, herons, storks, egrets, and all kinds of Iberian ducks. There are long boardwalks over the water that allow you to see wild water birds, enjoy the amazing landscape, nature sounds, and beautiful sunsets. I advise you to bring some food for a picnic since the nearest village is 14 km away.
In my opinion, this is Spain’s best example of the wetland ecosystem and probably the best birding spot in the whole country and you can visit it for free – although there are plenty of private tour guides that will provide you amazing and detailed information about this unique ecosystem. I think Spring is probably the best season to visit the park, since it is likely you'll find plenty of water after winter and so you can spot different kinds of impressive multi-coloured birds. If you like birds, water flowers and sunset, you should come and visit this unique bird paradise.
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