Fuente de Piedra

The Fuente de Piedra natural reserve covers over 1,300 hectares. It is home to over dozen species of bird, but the incontrovertible queen of them all is the pink or common flamingo. The birds, on Senrra Island, are in the middle of the lagoon, which measures 18 kilometres in perimeter. Flamingoes from all along the Mediterranean en the North African coast make for this spot to breed.

Almost every year, provided there is sufficient water in the lagoon, the island, empty in winter, changes colour, as if by magic. The earth-brown shades turn to pink in spring, when the adult flamingoes fly in, and then become dark grey when the little chicks hatch. The lagoon undergoes a real metamorphosis.

Fuente de Piedra is in the north of the province of Málaga, but strategically it is right in the centre of Andalucia. This means that the adults, who take flight at dusk on food forages, can reach the Odiel wetlands in the province of Huelva, or Doñana and the salt flats in the province of Cádiz, in just one night's flying time.

Their huge wings, their excellent sense of direction and their enormous capacity for gliding all help to make them agile and fast. This means that they are equipped with a tremendous ability to escape from drought and other complicated situations, something their survival depends on.

Since hundreds of years, the birds have returned to Fuente de Piedra faithfully. In March every year, the first ones start searching out the most appropriate spots for the perpetuation of the species and then report back that the lagoon is almost ready. Then, once they have all arrived, courtship starts between the sexes. This year, the result has been a stunning thirteen thousand chicks.