Natural Heritage

Landscape

Landscape

The northwest of Malta with its scenic coast and alternating ridges and valleys provides an array of landscapes coupled with far-reaching views to Gozo. The area is of High Landscape Value and is characterised by two wide karstic plateaux; the bay of Ir-Ramla tal-Mixquqa (Golden Sands); the headland of Ras il-Waħx - encircled by a string of boulders forming a landscape unique to Malta;  and the cliffs which continue along the coast as Rdum Majjiesa and Rdum id-Delli up to the next bay of il-Prajjet (Anchor Bay). The rock layers most in evidence here are the Blue Clay and the overlying Upper Coralline Limestone. 

Ecology

The park is home to a diversity of habitats such as clay slopes, boulder screes, maritime and clifftop garigue, steppe, temporary freshwater rock pools, maquis, agricultural land (both abandoned and in use), as well as a sandy beach and associated dune. An ecological restoration project is taking place below Manikata in an attempt to reverse the widespread damage and disturbance caused by years of illegal dumping. Native trees, shrubs and smaller plants are being planted and taken care of in the area after it was cleared of rubbish. Over 1300  plants were planted including: Olives, Sandarac Gum Tree, Evergreen oak, Carob, Lentisk, Wolfbane, Myrtle, Rockrose, Golden Samphire...

Ecology

Flora

Flora

Plants recorded to date in the park area add up to some 430 different species – almost half of the vascular plants known in the whole of the Maltese Islands. This includes some extremenly rare species, 10 species of orchids and 18 endemics* such as Maltese Spurge, Maltese Sea Chamomile, Maltese Pyramical Orchid, Maltese Sea Lavender.

*(including sub-endemics) 

Fauna

Birds - 12 species are known to breed in the park: Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Short-toed Lark, Corn Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush (the Maltese National Bird), Barn Swallow and Yelkouan Shearwater (see Fact-sheet). Seasonal visitors include several migratory species.

Mammals in the park include the Algerian Hedgehog, various bat species, the Weasel and the Wild Rabbit.

Reptiles on site are represented by the Mediterranean Chameleon, Ocellated Skink, Turkish and Moorish Gecko and Western Whip Snake.

Invertebrates are well represented with a rich diversity, and include some endemic insects such as the Maltese Swallowtail and endemic molluscs such as Muticaria macrostoma, Trochoidea spratti and Tudorella melitense.

Fauna

Species Fact Sheet: The Yelkouan Shearwater (Garnija)

Species Fact Sheet: The Yelkouan Shearwater (Garnija)

The Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) is a seabird which inhabits the park in colonies which are currently under study by BirdLife (Malta) as part of the EU Life+ Malta Seabird Project. It is hoped that the numbers of Yelkouan Shearwaters found here will justify the recognition of the site as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International in the near future. Read more here

Download the fact-sheet on the Yelkouan shearwater. 

Watch some amazing footage from the park colony - filmed with infra-red cameras at night. 

All photos belong to Dr Benjamin Metzger.