Delta de L’erb

South of Barcelona in the seaside town of Sitges Date Palms line the beach. The dog was busy eating these at every opportunity.

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Date Palm

Dotted along the coast are small pockets of protected foreshore and back shore where the public are asked not to walk. This allows a miriad of mediteranean coastal plants a chance to survive. Below is a pic of some back shore on the Calafat coast.

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Backshore Calafat

The foreshore at Calafat

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Foreshore Calafat

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Further down the coast we reached the Delta de L’erb and spent a few days at Casa de Fusta Amposta . This area is a birdwatchers paradise and covers 360 square kilometers of wetlands providing overwintering habitiat. Here we saw Flamingos, Egrits and Marsh Harriers.

The area is used for rice growing with 21000 hectares of Paddy Fields. Irrigation chanels supply and drain fields with fresh and waste water. To assist the bird life the fields are kept flooded over the winter and only drained in March when they are ploughed leveled and sown again. It’s such an unusual landscape and probably best visited in the winter as they warn about the Mosquitos which I can imagine must be horrendous..

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Fresh water supply channel to the Paddy Fields

Little mud banks around the field edges retain the water. A break in this bank is used to drain a field shown below.

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Drainage ditch

A traditional building in the delta surrounded by Paddy Fields

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The causeways / diches that divide the fields are useful as access walkways but also as places to grow vegetables that can be eaten with the rice such as Broadbeans. The origins of Paella as a peasant food came about by combining rice with shellfish found in the mud and adding whatever vegetables were to hand.

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Vegetables growing on the dividing ditches/ access ways

Our base was becide a restaurant ( Casa de Fusta) that allowed vans to park. Wifi was free with a meal. We really enjoyed this place.

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View from hide near restaurant

All along the coast south of Delta de l’erb high rise holiday apartments line the shore. However just behind this strip of beachside holiday accomadation one finds agricultural farmland. The area between Peniscola and Benicarlo a few hundred metres behind the highrise looks like this. Also in this area are enormous Orange and Mandarin plantations where one can buy them for about 30 to 35cent a kilo. ( Non Organic)  or about 1.50 a kilo (Organic). . Other crops included brassicas and everything is on drip irrigation. Traditional farm houses dot the landscape but you get the feeling these are no longer used as residence but more as a base while working in the fields. Each has a pump and large water resevoir used to pump water though channels accross the fields.

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Artichoke

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Drip irrigation

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Fieldscale production

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Traditional farm house

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Crops at various stages all on drip irrigation

While I was here I was looking about for some slugs for an assignment. It seems too dry here, all I could find were some snails under a log beneath an olive tree.

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In the town of Cuenca wild rocket growing along the footpath.

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