Refugio de la Serpiente

A paradise for birds in Andalusia´s heart

This is the name given to the location where the bird ringing station is located, and it is a smallholding of private property, aware of the social and environmental importance of ornithology, experts and amateurs offer promotional, environmental  education and study of the fauna and flora.

A privileged territory
We are on the A-353 near Km.5, between Estepa and Gilena,  in the province of Seville, in the Sierra del Becerrero, a  place with high scenic, natural and geological value, the Sierra Sur in Seville but overlooking  the Valle del Guadalquivir and countryside.
Tartessians, HoopoeIberians, Romans and Muslims have left signs of their passage through the area. Archaeological and related words in the names still reflect the imprint of the events that took place here. Home and refuge for bandits in a more recent past, the environment and Sierras of Estepa also witnessed the presence of other more “peaceful” games, dedicated to the study of nature. Such is the case conducted by Pierre Edmond Boissier, explorer, Swiss mathematician and botanist who visited this land in the mid-nineteenth century and left his journey reflected in the play “Botanic Trip southern Spain in 1837 “.
On a geological substrata on which limestone predominates, the different habitats that can be found are the Mediterranean forest, the pine forests, olive groves and mountain crags, each ecosystem with plant communities and faunal characteristics.
The “Refugio de la Serpiente” also has an important substrata of fruit trees and native shrubs, which makes it particularly coveted by birds and an ideal place to locate the Ringing Station.
And this is precisely where the settlement´s interest lies: the surprise. An example is the stock of Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) only in the province of Seville and Ringing Station.
So far we have counted, ringed and studied 72 different species of birds, and that amount increases with the observations of many raptors and other species that do not fall into the nets. This makes 10,000 birds ringed and/or recovered in the period of 1997-2013.

For birds and their protection
Since 1997, in the “Refugio de la Serpiente” bird ringing by members of the Ornithological Group Zamalla has been carried out; and also participated in several specific studies of certain species with the Doñana Biological Station (CSIC) and the Society of Aranzadi Sciences, as well as collaborative projects with SEO/ Birdlife.
3T9P1725---CrossbillSince our inception, the main focus has been the study of birds and disclosure of nature. We perform  fundamental, scientific  ringing, but photography and observation are also important tools in our work. Cleaning programmes, environmental awareness and conservation of native vegetation are also part of our tasks, and an exhaustive job placement and monitoring of nest boxes in the surrounding pine forest.
Due to its geographical centrality in the whole of Andalusia, Station Ringing is intended as a nexus and information centre between the different natural areas nearby, for that reason we are in contact with the lakes of southern Córdoba, Laguna de Fuente de Piedra (Málaga), Natural Park of the Sierras Subbéticas (Córdoba) Endorheic La Lantejuela (Seville), Seville SPAs Campinas, rock of Zaframagón (Seville), etc.

We welcome anyone interested in the conservation and protection of our environment and its birds to visit the Refugio.
We have recently created a website  in which we intend to publicise, in an entertaining and didactic language, all related to the Phenology of birds and our ornithological news conference.

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