Bundle up in a
head to Norway's frigid Svalbard archipelago
watch polar bears, walruses and thousands of seabirds. Or head
to France to watch dancing crimson flamingos in the Camargue wetlands. In
Hungary, try spotting the world's largest flying bird at
Hortobagy National Park. And don't forget to check out Bulgaria -
a little known birder's paradise.
It's no surprise that the wildest
parts of Europe are the lands most challenging
to human habitation. In
the cold Svalbard archipelago of Norway, reindeer and polar bears still
outnumber people. Walruses haul out on the archipelago's beaches,
and thousands of seabirds come to the islands to breed. .
But wildlife also thrives
in Europe's warmer and more people friendly
Mediterranean climates. Spain's Doriana National Park provides
habitat for more than 300 species of birds and is one of Europe's prime
areas for overwintering geese. The Spanish Imperial Eagle also
breeds in the park
In France, the Camargue's
wetland holdings and reserves on the Rhone River delta comprise a U.N.
World Biosphere Reserve, providing habitat for more than 350 species of
birds. But perhaps most spectacular are the reserve's more than
10,000 breeding pairs of crimson flamingos. Foxes, wild boars and
badgers are also in the reserve, as are semi-wild Camargue horses.
And though birding and
wildlife viewing sites are generally undeveloped in Greece, the Greek
Islands have 196 Important Bird Areas or IBAs. (IBAs provide
habitat considered essential to one or more species of bird.)
For a chance to see the
bird in the world, the endangered great
bustard, consider Hungary's
Hortobagy National Park.
This U.N. World Heritage Site also attracts more than 70,000 common
cranes and boasts Europe's most diverse population of raptors.
And who would have expected the small
formerly Communist country of
to be a birding paradise? On the United Nation's
Reserve and World
Heritage list is Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast nature reserve - Lake
Srebarna. During fall migrations in late August and September,
can fill with over 10,000 Lesser Spotted Eagles, 20,000 white pelicans
and more than 130,000 white storks.
WILDLIFE OF NORTHERN SPAIN
Film by Fernando Ballesteros with music by Douglas Spotted Eagle