Lleida Steppes

This is a huge flat area around Lleida town, the dry lands of inland Catalonia, belonging to the Ebro River valley. What were once true gasslands have been largely transformed into agricultural land, irrigated or not. Many bird species have adapted successfully to this transformation while others struggle to survive. There are, though, patches of remaining natural habitat and great efforts to protect steppe birds are being done. A big part of the area is already protected by the UE Natura 2000 network.

In this extensive area, we find savannah-like sectors with sparse trees, irrigated fields, reservoirs with extensive reedbeds, the largest inland lake of Catalonia “Estany d’Ivars”, mediterranean scrubs and cereal cultivations.

The neighbouring region of Monegros (Aragon), outside Catalonia but very close to it, offers even more extensive steppe lands. If the target species are the Great Bustard or Dupont’s Lark this is the place to go.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Little Bustard, Dupont’s Lark, Roller, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Iberian Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Montagu’s Harrier, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Bearded Tit, Penduline Tit, Lesser Kestrel, Rock Sparrow, Black Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Western Orphean Warbler, Red-necked Nightjar, Eagle Owl, Blue Rock Thrush.

1 day visits are possible starting early, but a minimum of 2 days is recommended to cover this vast area, especially if you want to visit Monegros Region (Aragon). Combine it with Central Pyrenees or Ebro Delta for a longer trip.

It is possible to visit the area all year round, but spring is undoubtedly the best time. Also, in summer it gets very hot during the central hours of the day.