Ornithological route through the Estany d’Ivars i Vila-Sana

  • Difficulty: Low
  • Distance: 3 km
  • Itinerary: the natural space comprising the Ivars and Vila-sana Pool
  • Start Point: from the parking area at Ivars or from the parking area at Vila-sana. The route connects the two areas.
  • Route: nature /water
  • Advice
      - It is recommended to take observation material: binoculars and/or a telescope, and identification guides.
      - Early in the morning and in the evening are usually the best times for observing birds.

With the recovery of the Estany d’Ivars i Vila-sana (Ivars and Vila-sana Pool), a longstanding dream of many people has come true. This pool was dried up in 1951 in order to turn its land into crop fields. The ecological and landscape transformation associated with its recovery in 2005 has been spectacular and highly satisfactory. This has particularly been true from an ornithological point of view, with the new birdlife exceeding initial expectations and with this location quickly becoming one of the most important wetland areas in Catalonia.

The Pool Tower

At this point on the itinerary, as well as the opportunity to enjoy one of the most spectacular visits to the pool, it is possible to observe bird species such as the coot, mallard duck and moorhen and great fliers such as black martins and swallows. On the other hand, at water level and in shallow areas, it is possible to find the grey heron, which is always stationary and waiting to catch some fish. 

The Vila-Sana lookout

This lookout is the next point where visitors should stop. It was built with an adobe wall, which has the peculiarity of standing in front of what used to be a row of trees. These are now all dead, but serve the function of perching and sleeping places for many birds, which include the cattle egret (at sunrise and sunset it is possible to count around 400 examples). The European shag (or green cormorant), a bird which winters at the pool, also roosts in these trees, providing them with added interest.

The Vallmajor vantage point

One of the highest observation points at the Ivars and Vila-sana pool offers visitors a privileged panoramic view of the whole space. It is also possible to observe such outstanding birds as the purple swamphen, purple heron and different species of duck, including the northern shoveler, common teal, red-crested pochard and the abundant mallard duck. Waders, which prefer zones of shallow water, are also very numerous in this area, as are apparently fragile species like the black-winged stilt.

Saulons del Suat lookout

This adapted wooden structure has two levels and offers an unsurpassable view of the largest island in the pool where it is possible to observe a colony of black-headed gulls and, with a little luck, several pairs of Mediterranean gulls. It is also normally possible to see yellow-legged gulls and great flocks of northern lapwings in winter.

Ivars lookout

This structure is also built with adobe and is located near the reed bed system, where the water is naturally filtered before entering the main part of the pool. It is also an interesting habitat for many passeriform species and a nesting area for the likes of the marsh harrier. From this lookout, visitors can also watch the great crested grebe, little grebe and purple swamphen and small passeriform species such as the European penduline tit, great reed warbler and acrocephalus.

Termenal Vantage point

Almost at the half-way point of the itinerary, visitors will find a great window, in the form of a wooden balcony, which projects out into the pool. In fact, this wooden walkway, which often serves as a roosting place for gulls, as well as allowing visitors to observe the ducks and coots that habitually frequent the pool.

More information

Guided visits can be arranged in advance

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