The “Berrea” is the bellowing of the deer in heat, trying to attract the doe. This is a sound spectacle of nature that can be enjoyed at the north of Extreamadura. For nature lovers agree that this show has special scenarios at the Monfragüe National Park and its surrounding areas, such as in pine tree woods and the Gabriel & Galan Water reservoir at the Tierras de Grandilla. It happens at the very end of summer and the beginning of autumn, only for twenty days, in the middle of September until the first days of October, at sunrise and sunset.
The “Berrea” moves hundreds of people that want to listen to this courtship. And if you are lucky you might be able to spot and actual deer. To really enjoy this happening you must know where the best vantage points are located and also, how to behave at these places, so you will not scare away the animals or get into some trouble.
The “berrea” at the Monfragüe National Park and its surroundings
You will enjoy the “Berreada” at all corner of this Spanish National Park. Mönfrague is located in the Province of Cáceres, North of Extremadura, and Western Spain. It was a protected natural area since 1979, until it was granted National Park status in 2003. However, there is an exceptional point at the Castle of Monfragüe, because of its magnificent views and scenery. To go up to the castle you will have to overcome tens of stairs and also, remember that you will have to go down these stairs when the sun is set and it is dark, if you choose the afternoon to listen to the “Berrea”. Thus it is a good idea to be careful and bring a flashlight. This is a landmark in the park and usually it is crowded.
There are vantage points of the “Saltos de Torrejon” up to the “Portilla del Tietar”. To reach this place you must go from “Villareal de San Carlos” to the crossing of “Saltos de Torrejón”. After one kilometer from the village, heading toward Plasencia, and from there on you will find a number of vantage points: Tajadilla, La Báscula and Las Higuerillas. Where you can enjoy the “Berrea” on top of rocky scenery and scarce shadow type vegetation.
From Villareal de San Carlos to Trujillo, in the opposite direction from above, or going away from Plasencia, you can find beautiful places along side the road (EX-208) which goes across the Park of Monfragüe. While driving you must be careful to avoid heavy traffic and importantly, park out side of the road to avoid accidents. Also, slow driving is recommended to avoid an animal or a traveler that decides to enter the road.
In Monfragüe you will find the Cerro Tejonera, which can be reached by the park of Pinilla de Serrejón or by following a path that starts at the Tourist Office. It is a particularly good place to listen to the Berrea because it is Biosphere Reserve area, specially the zone that is closest to Navacalera, a private estate.
The “Berrea” at Granadilla and Gabriel & Galan
The Pinewood of Granadilla is an ideal place to enjoy the bellowing of the deer. This is a spot covered by extensive woods that make the sound of the deer very special. You can come here by following road A-66 that goes from Plasencia to Salamanca, exit at Zarza de Granadilla, and once in the town, just follow directions to the Water Reservoir of Gabriel & Galan. This swamp is, also, a good place to listen to the deer, at times the come close to the shore to drink water, mainly at areas close to Las Hurdes.
Advise to best enjoy the “berrea”
The first rains of the end of summer and the beginning of autumn are the best time to enjoy the “berrea”, mainly during sunset and sunrise.
You should be aware of the sounds of clash of antlers of the deer. They sometimes go into fights, with each other, to attract the doe.
Attend the spectacle with more possibilities of listening than seeing. There is a possibility that you might see a deer, but if that occurs remember to keep your distance from the animal. Remember that they are wild. Also, do not feed them it alters their natural biological rhythm.
Try to be quiet. Noise will only disturb and you will not be able to listen to the “berrea”.
A good pair of binoculars is highly recommended. There are always interesting things to see while enjoying nature.
If you bring food to your outing, remember not to leave any remains. Litter should be taken back to civilization and be processed accordingly.
Original article by Pilar Armero
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in September, 2015