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Adra Trip
November 4, 2009
9:49 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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This was the last trip I went on before leaving Andalucía. Adra is in Almería province to the north of Málaga and was the last stronghold of the Moorish people in Spain. Nowadays it's basically a big market garden with a grotty industrial port but nevertheless the southernmost population of Aphanius iberus is to be found here. According to a 2008 study it lives in the Albufera de Adra which presumably used to be a much larger area of wetland at the delta of the Río Adra but now consists of just a couple of semi-saline lagoons. It also occurs in the upper reaches of the Río itself as well as in the man-made Canal de San Fernando. Here's a distribution map:

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Cake or death?
November 4, 2009
10:02 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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After a stunning drive up the coast we arrived to be greeted by mile upon mile of plastic greenhouses. These fill virtually the entire coastline and extend back behind the town for at least 10km...

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This is the town; not much of a holiday destination.

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The idea was to find the river first and take it from there. Here it is towards its mouth. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />

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Rather than follow the river inland we chose to find the Albufera first which turned out to be a mistake. There were no signposts and we ended up driving around for a good hour before eventually finding it down a dirt track running along the beach. It's completely surrounded by agriculture so not visible from any roads. Those trees behind the first row of greenhouses are it.

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Here you can see how close it is to the Mediterranean. That's the same sign on the left of the pic.

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Cake or death?
November 4, 2009
10:14 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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We decided to skirt around the edge a bit and bumped into two policeman who directed me to the entrance of the reserve, warning it was closed. They were right, of course...

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At this point things get, well, illegal. Please note we'd been in the car for four hours so it seemed like the right thing to do. /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> Over we go, then...

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Few pics of how it looks inside. There's only a couple of points where it's possible to access the water so it's the best I could do.

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Margins.

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Plantlife.

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Cake or death?
November 4, 2009
10:35 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Should be Pelophylax perezi.

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Young female of Aphanius iberus 'Adra'. This was the only one I caught as I only spent around 10 minutes inside the reserve; I knew the police were about and was starting to feel like a bit of a fool. /tongue.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tongue.gif" />

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Unfortunately we'd wasted so much time finding and getting into the reserve there was no time left to search for the canal or the river's upper reaches. All in all a pretty disappointing day but I'm definitely going back next time we visit my partner's family. There are some images of the other habitats and an article (in Spanish) here for those interested.

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Cake or death?
November 5, 2009
5:33 pm
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Mark Duffill
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It really is a pity that places like that have to be locked away /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

November 5, 2009
5:40 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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It's so fragile I guess they have no choice Mark. You can book to go inside but no idea how far in advance. Also, inevitably, all the surrounding agriculture is having an impact. Chemicals are getting into the water and less birds (the primary reason for conserving it) are visiting every year. Not long left for the habitat or fish, methinks...

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