Spring at Foresta 2000

April 16, 2014 4:15 pm
16th April 2014

The spring season is a time when Maltese wildlife is at it’s finest.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much pleasure to get from a walk in the countryside when paired with the soundtrack of relentless gunfire.  But, the good news is there are still places in Maltawhere hunting is illegal all year round and you can enjoy spring nature in peace. 
Foresta 2000 is one of those places. 

Foresta 2000 is Malta’s biggest afforestation project and can be found on the Marfa Ridge in Ghadira BayIn 1995 BirdLife Malta proposed the idea of creating a forest on the site which after years of disuse had become a wasteland used for illegal activities such as hunting, camping and offroading.  Being so close to the popular tourist area in Ghadira Bay, the area was in permanent danger of development, such as the surrounding tourist complexes. The afforestation initiative has stopped any proposal for further development.

The aim was to restore an area of natural Mediterranean woodland habitat to provide food and shelter for birds, insects and other wildlife, by creating an enriched ecosystem full of endemic biodiversity.  Here’s a selection of wildlife treats Foresta has provided this spring:

Butterflies are abundant in the spring. From left to right: Bath White, Common Blue and Painted Lady.
Spring flowers add a variety of vibrant colours to the Maltese landscape. From left to right: Sulla, Smooth Goatsbeard and Pyramidal Orchid.

Here at BirdLife, we have been making the most of the fantastic variety of wildlife at Foresta during the spring, by organising some guided walks for both locals and visitors, all hosted by our knowledgeable Reserves Warden and his trusty sidekick. 
On 6th April staff from Bank of Valletta and their families joined us at Foresta 2000 to explore the site, as many had never been there before. The walk was a big success, the highlight for the children being the Painted frogs seen in the recently restored rock pools.  One member of staff commented: “I never knew places as lovely as this existed in Malta”.  

Last weekend, some of our Spring Watch volunteers headed over to Foresta to learn all about the native plants and flowers, and were pleased to also see many bird species, including Cuckoo, Wood Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush.

If you would like to discover Foresta 2000 for yourself, there is still time for a visit this spring. Many of the flowers are still in bloom and the warm weather is seeing many butterflies make the most of these plants.  And the best bit about this fantastic addition to Maltese countryside, is it’s open all year round, 24 hours a day, and it’s free!  

You can find out about some more of the exciting species seen recently at Foresta 2000 by liking our Facebook page or checking out the BirdLife website.
Spot the Painted frogs at the edge of the restored rock pool.


BOV sponsors BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda environmental education scheme for primary schools, carried out in collaboration with the Directorate for Quality Standards in Education (DQSE).