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Río Matarranya, Spain

Home Forums Field Trips & Conservation Río Matarranya, Spain

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  coelacanth 5 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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  • #302407

    Matt
    Keymaster

    This was a trip we made earlier in the summer but hadn’t gotten around to going through the photos until now.

    The Matarranya is a tributary of the Río Ebro and is one of the more pristine rivers within that system. It has its headwaters in a limestone mountain massif known as Els Ports which is itself a nationally protected park and area of outstanding natural beauty, and it was this area we intended to explore.

    The massif is located at the north-eastern end of the Sistema Ibérico, a complex system of mountain ranges and massifs in the centre of Spain, around 200 km SW of Barcelona.

    Our first stop was at L’Hospitalet de l’Infant, a small coastal town south of Tarragona. There is a population of Aphanius iberus inhabiting a freshwater spring in a dry river bed here, and I try to check it whenever in the area. There were loads of adults and fry in the small lagoon so we didn’t bother to catch any on this occasion as it was evident the population is doing well.

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    #348988

    Matt
    Keymaster

    We then drove inland and passed Móra d’Ebre, a town located on the main Ebro channel where we spotted some huge carp foraging among the macrophytes.

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    #348989

    Matt
    Keymaster

    We then moved on to the village of Valderrobres through which the Matarranya flows as it leaves the mountains. Plenty of fishes visible from the bridge in the village.

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    #348990

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Close to Valderrobres is a waterfall known as ‘El Salt’, and which looked spectacular in photos. After quite a hairy drive down some dirt tracks we eventually found it only to be disappointed by the almost total lack of water. Place was still nice though so we climbed down into what would normally be the river and checked out a few of the remnant pools where we caught a few young cyprinids which I think were Parachondrostoma miegii.

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    #348991

    Matt
    Keymaster

    We then drove to the village of Beceite from where it’s a short drive to the gorge from which the Matarranya emerges within the park itself. In winter it’s impossible to walk the gorge due to the amount of water but in summer you can follow the river bed right up to its source.

    In places where water blocks the ‘path’ there are wooden slats or poles attached to the rock which you balance on while holding a guide-wire, and in others you have to climb small cascades, also with the help of wires to grab onto. It’s a spectacular place with very few people, and as soon as we parked we spotted a couple of large raptors soaring overhead.

    The park is home to a large colony of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) with golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) also common, and I think the ones we saw were the latter.

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    #348992

    Matt
    Keymaster

    There were also plenty of fishes; does anyone have any idea what this might be? There were quite a few of them in the lower part of the gorge but I failed to catch any as they were only present in the deeper pools.

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    #348993

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Continuing upriver we found a place where it was easier to fish and caught a few juvenile Barbus – should be B. haasi.

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    #348994

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Continuing on we found several deeper pools which were stuffed with Barbus. At one point we were also lucky enough to cross paths with a female Spanish ibex (this is the subspecies Capra pyrenaica hispanica) and her calf.

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    #348995

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Finally arrived at the source of the river and at this altitude there were no more fish though there were plenty of frogs plus a young viperine snake (Natrix maura). We didn’t go right up to the source as it would have involved quite a scramble and the sun was beginning to set so at this point we turned and went back.

    As we drove out of the park we spotted a lone ibex enjoying the evening sun, and then it was back to the hostel for a very enjoyable hour watching bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) hunting, followed by quite a nice sunset.

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    #348999

    coelacanth
    Participant

    There were also plenty of fishes; does anyone have any idea what this might be? There were quite a few of them in the lower part of the gorge but I failed to catch any as they were only present in the deeper pools.

    Looks like a Pyrenean Zebra Trout.
    http://tominargentina.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/zebre-crossing.html

    #349003

    Plaamoo
    Participant

    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for sharing Matt!

    #349004

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ooh nice link Pete and cheers Jim, bit more to come yet! :D

    Here’s a quick vid of those Barbus for now, and I’ll put up a couple more pics of the striped jobby with some other stuff mañana.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLeduwQSq3w&list=UUhFm4Vng0lokjPQsPl3O2bw&index=1&feature=plcp

    #349010

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Mystery-fish-2.JPGMystery-fish-1.JPGThese help any? It does look quite trout-like?

    #349011

    coelacanth
    Participant

    Zebra Trout for sure, cool fish! Away from the normal distribution for the fish though I think, worth checking if it’s known that they are there.
    You need a travel fly rod or ultralight lure rod…..

    #349014

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ok will check it out and yeah a couple of hundred km south of the Pyrenees although that link did mention ‘Mediterranean rivers’? Wonder if someone could have put them there as we only saw them in one short stretch of a few hundred metres.

    P.S. as for the rods – still useful if one has no clue what to do with them? :p

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