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Balsa de Zolina, Spain, in winter (updated 1/2018)

Hidden by low-lying hills but only 8kms south-east of Pamplona

Location of Balsa de Zolina

For the second year running (1/2015) we broke our journey from central France to Murcia with an overnight stop at a hotel near Pamplona. On checking maps before departure, I discovered a large body of water quite close to where the hotel is situated, near the airport. At first this was difficult to find, and we only had a couple of hours to spare. Eventually I discovered a footpath that lead to a pumping station at the dam end of this large reservoir. The site is completely hidden by low hills on all sides, and there is no direct vehicular access. Visited again briefly 12/2017.

Access and viewing details. P = parking (below Zolina village).

From the airport area, or junction 1 on motorway PA-30, take the road NA-2310 south-east towards Tajonar. Continue on the NA-2310, by-passing Tajonar, then take the next exit for Zolina. After 200 metres bear left, parking on the grass verge opposite an information board. From here, it is about 1km on foot to the viewing position above the dam, along a gravel footpath/cycle track.
The reservoir must be quite deep, obviously good habitat for wildfowl (see list); in fact it looks the sort of place that could turn up almost anything.


NR Noain Hotel Reasonably priced hotel that is 'pet-friendly'.


Subsequent online research showed that, unsurprisingly, the site is well-known to at least one local birder (see blog below), and probably several more from nearby Pamplona.

Balsa de Zolina blog

Birdwatching in Navarre

Balsa de Zolina, Navarre, Spain
Balsa de Zolina, Navarre, Spain
Balsa de Zolina, Navarre, Spain - surrounding hills

BIRDS - 42 species

Mute Swan Cygnus olor c8 1/2015. 4 12/2017

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 1 1/2015

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 50+ 1/2015. 70+ 12/2017

Gadwall Anas strepera 30+ 1/2015. 2 12/2017

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 4 1/2015

Common Pochard Aythya ferina c70 1/2015. c200 12/2017

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 2 males 12/2017

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis c20 12/2017

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Red Kite Milvus milvus

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 1 male 12/2017

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 1 12/2017

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus c50 1/2015

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1 adult 1/2015

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis c20 12/2017

Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

European Robin Erithacus rubecula

European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti 1 12/2017

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata 2+ 1/2015

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla 2 12/2017

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Eurasian Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Great Tit Parus major

Common Magpie Pica pica

Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra 4 12/2017