The Mendixur Ornithological Park, which hosts a multitude of waterfowl, sits at one end of the Ullíbarri-Gamboa reservoir. It is a shallow water area that has undergone a significant process of naturalization, becoming an extremely important enclave for plant and animal communities linked to aquatic environments.
Covering more than 70 hectares, it is located at the southern end the reservoir, and declared a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. It is also part of the Natura 2000 Network (Site of Community Importance for the Zadorra Reservoir System), which confirms its important contribution to maintaining biodiversity in the area and interest in the conservation of such.
Birds are the main exponent of the park, its most visible facet, and in turn these act as indicators to monitor the health of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that support them. The abundance and variety of species that gather throughout the year make this an outstanding site, worthy of being visited, enjoyed and taken care of. Our commitment is to respect all beings who live here.
The visitor can make use of a series of infrastructures that make it possible to view and come into contact with the birds: two trails, two observatories along with signs and information panels.
Mendixur is an ideal place to begin bird watching, identifying them, differentiating types, discovering their habits, enjoying time with them. Consequently, since 2010 the tail ends of the Ullíbarri-Gamboa reservoir, lying within the Mendixur Ornithological Park, have become part of the Euskadi Bird Watching project.
Where and how can birds be observed at Mendixur?
By walking along the Biributxi path, which is a little over 1,000 meters, as far as the diving fowl observatory, located on the water’s edge. Also by following the Errekabarri path as far as the to the great tit observatory, located some 350 meters from the information panel. From the observatories, equipped with benches and information panels, it is possible to view a variety of water birds such as mallards, coots, grebes, cormorants or the common pochard among others, in a relaxed, comfortable, quiet setting, without disturbing or being disturbed.
Another option is to go to the open-air observation point at the end of the 1,000m Errekabarri path, which leads to the area where the wren observatory used to be. The walk runs through a thicket, with ash trees or oaks, which provide shelter and food for woodland birds such as the the European green woodpecker, the cirl bunting, the goldfinch or the robin.
Enjoying a self-guided tour, with the help of the information panels that are located in the Park’s different ecosystems, to discover what the waters of the reservoir are hiding, what the water forest looks like, who lives on its edges, a landscape in the making or the island of the wading birds. To see this island is necessary to go on some 1600 metres as far as Urízar dyke, which is outside the limits of the Ornithological Park but located on the green route.
Taking part in the activities organized by Birding Euskadi. Participating in an interpretive guided tour, accompanied by a guide-interpreter to watch, discover and learn about different water birds in their natural environment. Consult opening hours and dates in the corresponding section The tour lasts approximately one hour and no pre-booking is required. Visits are free and are offered in Spanish and Basque
Garaio Provincial Park..
The Mendixur Ornithological Park is about 15 kilometres northeast of Vitoria-Gasteiz, at the southern end of the Ullíbarri-Gamboa reservoir. It can be accessed via the A-3012, which connects both the A-1 Vitoria-Pamplona motorway (Ozaeta exit) and the N-104 with the village of Ozaeta. The turn-off for Garaio Park is signposted before reaching the village of Maturana. The first road on the left leads directly to the car park for the Ornithological Park.
From Garaio Park about 3 kilometres along the green route for the reservoir, without going onto any public roads, the Garaio Information Office also offers a bicycle loan service. The turn-off for the Ornithological Park is signposted before reaching the Urizar dyke.