WWF Reserve, Saline di Trapani
To reach the Salina reserve from where my mother lives, taking the most direct route, took me about an hour, including a few stops to capture images, to cover the nearly 5 km journey on foot. I left early so as to cover as much distance as I could before the temperature rose, which it did well into the 30s celcius by the time I got there. I must have been out to punish myself for some reason.
Salt pans or, more accurately, evaporation ponds and irrigation channel
The purpose of my outing was to capture some images of the now disused evaporation ponds that form the reserve, to visit the WWF centre and, hopefully, to see some bird life including Greater Flamingos. I was out of luck with the flamingos that will arrive later in the summer but also with the WWF centre which was closed. On reflection I have never seen the place open but I have seen reports from those who have visited.
WWF information board
- The roadside edge of the salt ponds have tall reeds that obscure the view. There are a couple of breaks in the reeds, including a simple wooden “hide” at one corner of a pond, so I was able to get good views of a few birds.
WWF sitting area and “hide”
I am not usually lucky enough to get close to birds in the wild but they were kind to me and allowed me to get some reasonable shots of Little Terns, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and egrets. In addition to the bird pics I bagged a few of the salt pans and the old windmills that were used in the past to pump water from the pans. I could hear reed warblers of some kind but didn’t see these elusive birds.
Avocet (image to be replaced from camera later this month)
On the way back I saw a kestrel, a few moorhens and a family of mallard. A couple of years ago I saw Spoonbills, Shelduck, Greater Flamingos and some shorebirds.
Overall it was a productive outing, though really hot on the way back. I was disappointed that the WWF centre was closed but perhaps on a future visit I will have a chance to talk to the staff about the habitat.
Salt production is still a significant industry in Trapani using modern methods of production. In addition to the ponds near the reserve there is large production areas at between Trapani and Marsala.
How to get there
I do not recommend walking unless you are very keen to get exercise.
By car, take the SP21 road from Trapani to Marsala. It passes the WWF centre where there is on-road parking on the side road outside the centre (not on the main highway).
Google Map view
There are no buses on this route.