The Għadira and Simar nature reserves will welcome visitors for another season of bird and wildlife watching as from this weekend, BirdLife said.

It said in a statement the two reserves are the largest remaining areas of salt marsh in Malta and are designated as Wetlands of International Importance.

They provide a variety of habitats for resident breeding birds and visiting migrants, including dry and wet reed beds, lakes dotted with small islands, olive groves and other indigenous wooded areas.

Visitors to the reserves should keep an eye (and an ear) out for the resident moorhens and coots on the lakes, as well as migrating birds visiting the reserves, including majestic grey herons and little egrets, shy water rails hiding in the reed beds, gregarious starlings in trees and kingfishers darting from perch to perch over the water.

Public bird-watching hides give visitors the opportunity to observe the birds’ natural behaviour in their natural habitat.

As well as birds, the reserves support a rich variety of other wildlife, including reptiles such as snakes, geckos and chameleons, numerous insect species and even rare protected fish in the lakes.

The reserves will be open to the public every Saturday (Għadira) and Sunday (Għadira and Simar) between 10.30am and 4.30pm from November to May.

Entrance is free of charge and guided walks lead are organised every hour.

Mondays to Fridays, the reserves are open for school visits as part of BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda environmental education programme.

www.birdlifemalta.org.

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