La Janda - a new chapter?
Only a half-dozen Andalucian sites on Ebird (https://ebird.org) have managed to top 200 hundred species and just as few over 500 trip reports so with a reported 235 species listed in 538 reports (figures correct to 20/11/18) La Janda is clearly a remarkable birding destination despite being a mere shadow of its former self. If current plans come to fruition it's about to become even better. The circumstances behind this change are explained in the paragraph below and the map that follows it shows the area which may soon be open to (pedestrian?) birders. This new paragraph has been inserted into my account of La Janda after my description of the egret colony (f). Please note that as area (g) has not previously been mentioned in my notes (h) to (q) on the map below refer to (g) to (p) on the most recent previous version. It should, however, be noted that these details are preliminary. Another recent development is that the road onto La Janda from the A2226 near Benalup has now been resurfaced and improved.
To the north-west of the weir lies the strictly private Las Lomas Estate. The roads here have long been gated and inaccessible. However, in 2018 a judgement regarding the legal status of the area concluded that the Junta de Andalucia had a legal claim to the area and a responsibility to develop which should mean better access (see http://blog.lagunalajanda.org/2018/08/14/los-humedales-de-la-janda-son-dominio-publico/). As a result, following an initiative by the Asociación de Amigos de la Laguna de La Janda (www.lagunalajanda.org), the Department of the Environment of the Andalusian junta has requested that the Las Lomas Estate allow access on tracks currently kept closed (see yellow routes marked on the map (g)). This should open up a lot more of the area for birdwatchers but note that, although it is planned to allow unrestricted non-motorised access along these routes, vehicular access will only be by prior arrangement and “for a justified reason”. Details of how to gain permission and what qualifies as “a justified reason” remains to be seen ….. The track first follows a main drainage channel (3.5 km) before turning south along the Rio Barbate and then on to El Canal (5 km). There’s also a shorter spur (3 km) towards the estate buildings although it seems unlikely that you will be able to access the A 2228 by this route). The bushes along the canal/river may prove to hold interesting species whilst the track down from El Canal should offer excellent views across the area. Check locally for the current situation and whether access has been formally agreed (hopefully I will be able to post details on my occasional blog).
When I have any further information I will post it here and add it to my notes. If you visit the area before I do so please don't assume the the area is open unless you have positive news of the fact. If so let me know asap!
About me ...
Hi I'm John Cantelo. I've been birding seriously since the 1960s when I met up with some like minded folks (all of us are still birding!) at Taunton's School in Southampton. I have lived in Kent , where I taught History and Sociology, since the late 1970s. In that time I've served on the committees of both my local RSPB group and the county ornithological society (KOS). I have also worked as a part-time field teacher for the RSPB at Dungeness. Having retired I now spend as much time as possible in Alcala de los Gazules in SW Spain. When I'm not birding I edit books for the Crossbill Guides series.