Lagoons of La Mancha where to watch birds

The high temperatures that have affected Europe during 2016 delayed the migration of birds from northern Europe to the warm places of southern Europe and neighbouring Africa. The rains of autumn brought water to the lagoons and groves of La Mancha, where it is possible to see numerous species of birds. Some of these natural spaces are well-known lagoons while others are less frequented places. In this post, we explain how to enjoy the so-called wetland area ‘La Mancha Húmeda’ accompanied by good binoculars and the usual clothing for field trips.

Ruidera Lagoons

The 15 lagoons connected to each other over a distance of about 30 kilometres greening the plains of La Mancha are one of the most important wetlands in Spain, and are of universal fame because of Don Miguel de Cervantes, who placed some of the most famous misadventures of Don Quixote in the vicinity. Given that this is a popular recreation area for the cities of Toledo and Albacete, the current population of birds is not as abundant as in the past, and among the waterbirds can be seen egrets and various kinds of ducks, accompanied by their predators. To learn more about them and organise an overnight stay and meals, see our specialised page.

lagunas de La Mancha

Manjavacas Lagoons

The lagoons of Manjavacas are located in the border between the provinces of Cuenca and Ciudad Real; the main ones being Manjavacas, Sánchez Gómez, La Dehesilla and Alcahozo. It is a little monumental area; whose main attraction is precisely these lagoons; and is part of the Biosphere Reserve of La Mancha Húmeda. Due to not receiving contributions from underground water nor being connected to some water channel, they depend totally on the rain; so, they only accommodate birds during some months of the year. According to the prevailing weather and the migration cycles, it is possible to observe flamingos, cranes, races and different species of ducks. To know how to get there and for more comprehensive information, access our dedicated page.

lagunas de La Mancha

Groves of Guadyerbas river and sands of Baldío de Velada

Although not a lagoon, we thought it would be appropriate to mention this little-known place in the province of Toledo where it is also possible to observe birds. It is a stretch of river near the province of Avila that has a unique vegetation, where cranes, kingfishers and black storks are fed. Being an area with a rich fauna, its skies are frequented by the magnificent golden eagle. It is a trip for which it is common to stay overnight in Talavera de la Reina; although it is possible to find some restaurant and country house in its vicinity (see specialised page with more information).

lagunas de La Mancha

Daimiel Boards

The boards of Daimiel is an ecosystem recovered in recent years to avoid illegal intakes of waters that were being carried out. For this reason they have again become a place for wintering and nesting of crane and duck species. These lagoons of La Mancha have well-organised facilities, with marked walks and observatories that allow a close-up view of some bird populations accustomed to being looked at and photographed from relatively close, which is why it is a trip recommended even with children (trying to keep them quiet so as not to disturb the birds and the other visitors). For information about access and how to organise the visit, see our page in Spanish.

lagunas de La Mancha

Campo de San Juan Lagoons

A set of numerous lagoons in La Mancha, located in the northeast of the province of Ciudad Real and southeast of the city of Toledo. The most important are Albadiosa, El Longar, los ‘dos Altillos’, Tirez, Peñahueca, Salicor and Pedro Muñoz. In these you can see species of migratory birds and ducks that are common in the aforementioned lagoons. Access our page in Spanish about these lagoons.

lagunas de La Mancha

Hito Lagoons

The smallest of the lagoons of La Mancha that house birds in transit during the migratory periods, it is dry most of the year since it is nourished mainly by rainwater supplemented by small sources of high salinity. It is located in the west of the province of Cuenca, very close to the A-3 motorway and the important archeological site of the Roman city of Segóbriga (usual complement of the trip). More information about Hito Lagoon.

lagunas de La Mancha

About the author