Spring is just a few days away and the annual migration of birds over the Maltese islands has started. Visitors to BirdLife Malta’s nature reserves have, in fact, already admired a few migratory species.

The first small flocks of barn swallows have been skimming the water at Simar Nature Reserve, while the little ringed plover has returned to Għadira Nature Reserve.

A moorhen at Salina Nature Reserve. Photo: Aron TantiA moorhen at Salina Nature Reserve. Photo: Aron Tanti

Salina Nature Reserve has already seen its first breeding pair of moorhens and recorded the first little ringed plover. The first flock of grey herons have also landed at the reserve, which still hosts large flocks of gulls and tens of various species.

In a bid to encourage more people to witness this delightful spectacle, BirdLife Malta is extending the opening hours of its nature reserves.

The Simar and Għadira reserves are now open to the public during the week.

During April and May, before the reserves close for the summer break, the premises will be open for a further hour (see schedule for details).

Getting people to connect with nature and enjoy themselves is getting increasingly important for all

Salina Nature Reserve will retain its actual opening hours, while Foresta 2000 remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is accessible all year round.

The NGO has also introduced a new facility which will give photographers the opportunity to book one of two photography hides that have just been set up at Għadira.

A chameleon photographed at Għadira Nature Reserve. Photo: Ray VellaA chameleon photographed at Għadira Nature Reserve. Photo: Ray Vella

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said: “While these nature reserves are small pockets in our country which give priority to the biodiversity needs of these areas, getting people to connect with nature and enjoy themselves is getting increasingly important for all.”

Barn swallows have been spotted at Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija. Photo: Denis CachiaBarn swallows have been spotted at Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija. Photo: Denis Cachia

He also urged the government to seek ways of extending the importance given to nature reserves beyond their borders “to make sure we have a healthier lifestyle and a better quality of life”.

In the past days, repairs were carried out at Simar Nature Reserve which was severely hit in last month’s storm. A number of trees and the visitors’ centre were considerably damaged.

The Salina reserve suffered some damage as well, albeit to a lesser extent.

Through ongoing collaboration with Transport Malta, the organisation has recently improved the road signage leading to all the reserves. The reserves’ entrances have also been embellished in the past months.

Entry to all of BirdLife Malta’s nature reserves is free but donations are welcome through https://birdlifemalta.org/donate.

A new photography hide at Għadira. Photo: BirdLife MaltaA new photography hide at Għadira. Photo: BirdLife Malta

BirdLife Malta nature reserves extended public opening hours

Day Reserve March April-May
Monday Għadira Nature Reserve 2 to 6pm 2 to 7pm
Tuesday Simar Nature Reserve 2 to 6pm 2 to 7pm
Wednesday CLOSED        –        –
Thursday Għadira Nature Reserve 2 to 6pm 2 to 7pm
Friday Simar Nature Reserve 2 to 6pm 2 to 7pm
Saturday Għadira Nature Reserve 10am to 4pm 10am to 4pm
Sunday Għadira/Simar Nature Reserves 10am to 4pm 10am to 4pm

Salina Nature Reserve is open all week (Monday to Sunday).
April to September: 7am to 8pm; October to March: 7am to 6pm.
Visitors’ centre: 9am to 1pm (Monday to Friday).

The road signage leading to all the BirdLife Malta reserves have been improved. Photo: Nathaniel AttardThe road signage leading to all the BirdLife Malta reserves have been improved. Photo: Nathaniel Attard

New photography hide facility at Għadira Nature Reserve

One can book a hide against a donation via e-mail on photography@birdlifemalta.org.

This facility is available on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the following hours:

Mondays and Thursdays
2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm (April and May only).

Saturdays
10am, 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

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