A black-winged stilt feeds with a hundred metres of Barcelona airport. Photo: Paddy Woodworth
Only fragments of Barcelona’s Llobregat Delta remain. Can it be saved?
A black-winged stilt is high-stepping daintily through shallow water. Its almost absurdly long legs flash vivid red, scattering silver droplets in the sunlight with each movement. The bird is so close to the hide you could almost reach out and touch it.
A pair of little terns and a pair of ringed plovers share a small, gravelly sandbar nearby, their chicks skulking almost invisibly in patches of marram grass behind them. A great egret seizes a fish in a deeper channel, while a marsh harrier quarters the surrounding reed beds, hunting prey to feed its young.
This is a typical enough summer view from a hide in any Mediterranean wetland. Typical, that is, until the structure begins to shake as a Boeing 747 thunders overhead, so low you can see every detail of its wheels retracting after take-off. Look out the right-hand window of the same hide, and you don’t see birds: you see the end of a runway at the Barcelona-El Prat airport, the seventh busiest in Europe, barely a hundred metres away.
Read the full article in The Irish Times, 22 July 2017
Articles & Blog
Articles on the environment; Spanish, Catalan and Basque politics; travel; culture; and other subjects; interspersed with personal reflections and images