When in the beautiful and culturally diverse country of Malta this October, Katy and partner Pete visited three BirdLife Malta reserves as well as the islands of Gozo and Comino. Our Chichester Copywriter experienced a life-long dream, and it just happens to be the perfect metaphor for business-boosting copywriting…
BirdLife Malta is part of the BirdLife International network, a client of Atech Support who Katy has been working with via Chichester digital marketing agency Let’s Get Coffee. Working towards conserving global biodiversity and the sustainability of natural resources, BirdLife Malta is committed to the protection of wild birds and their habitats.
Malta is unique in its central Mediterranean location and sees many migratory birds stopping over on their way to and from Africa. As well as managing the nature reserves, BirdLife Malta works to limit illegal hunting across the Maltese Islands that have sadly been among the news headlines of late.
Having read about the good BirdLife Malta was doing and being a keen birder, our creative copywriter couldn’t wait to explore the wilds of these reserves. All were easy to get to by Malta’s regular (if not a little death-defying) bus service. The Maltese islands were just a leisurely boat ride away too.
Għadira Nature Reserve
Għadira Nature Reserve, “a haven for wading birds”, was the first stop. Though positioned right next to a busy beach resort (being used as a filming location that day) this little slice of wildlife heaven didn’t disappoint.
Within a few minutes of walking the tiny reserve’s paths, and Katy reminding Pete to look out for reptiles in the trees, he spotted a baby Mediterranean chameleon rocking back and forth on a branch to help blend with the tree’s natural movement. They watched the cute critter for quite a while in wonder of its shrewd camouflage and sombre expression.
Further on they spotted a lively wasp nest in the undergrowth and while eating a picnic lunch they experienced a dashing dragonfly display. From the hide, at the far end of the reserve, they saw see a grey plover and were told of something quite special obscured behind the bushes across the water… a greater flamingo!
Fascinated by flamingos since seeing all six species in their glory at WWT Slimbridge a few years back, our Chichester Copywriter was delighted but couldn’t pinpoint it. Before long, they scuttled back to the first hide to see if they could catch a glimpse – no joy (although a larger, greener chameleon did catch their attention).
Discovering they missed the young flamingo on their way back and it could be seen from the path, they found the lonesome chick among the reeds and were mesmerised by his beauty. Not yet flaunting those famous fancy pink feathers but instead sporting a dapper and dusky grey coat with blush flecks, his grace and majesty while sifting for food with his trademark hooked beak was quite something.
They learnt from a volunteer that just a few weeks before, the young bird collapsed exhausted on a nearby beach during migration. After being rescued by BirdLife Malta, he was living at the reserve until he built enough strength to continue his journey and find the rest of his flamboyance.
Salina Nature Reserve
The next stop was Salina Nature Reserve. Located next to a busy road in the Burmarrad valley mouth, the Salina site was once a harbour. It’s now made up of more than 150,000 square metres of saline marshland and salt pans. These are built on a reclaimed island of clay surrounded by garrigue (low-growing vegetation on the limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast).
Though it attracts everything from common sandpipers to greater flamingos there wasn’t much going on the day our creative copywriter visited. In fact, the visitor centre was shut for a function but she (thankfully) got to use the facilities and sneak a peek at the incredible view over the salt pans, out to St Paul’s Bay and back towards the Maltese hills.
On a walk along the dusty main road to the other side of the reserve, Katy and Pete did spot resident Muscovy ducks (including fluffy ducklings). There were also some interesting critters among the garrigue, cacti and olive groves including a wasp eating a giant grub, Mediterranean coastal snails clinging to vegetation and a giant millipede traversing the rocks.
Simar Nature Reserve
Last stop was Simar Nature Reserve, “an oasis amongst a valley of agricultural landscape”. Taking its name from the rush (Is-Simar in Maltese) found throughout the protected bird sanctuary, these wetlands are ideal for migrating and resident species alike.
It was close to dusk when Katy and Pete arrived after their trip to Salina on the way back from a harbour boat tour but there was still time to get their eyes in and see some special sights. They cosied into the reserve’s hide with a couple of nuns and, before long, saw statuesque little egret over one side of the pool and a pair of busy little grebes on the other.
After around 10 minutes they also experienced frequent visits from the elusive kingfisher who darted in and out of his favourite fishing spot for the next 30 minutes. They only waited four months since the River Wye and it was worth being nibbled by mosquitos as the Maltese sun went down!
Gozo and Comino
While on a boat trip around the Maltese coastline, Katy and Pete visited Gozo and Comino. They explored the island by open-top bus and then wandered around the heritage-rich alleys of Gozo’s Cittadella (of course stopping for some gelato on the way) then had another nature first. A little early back to the sun-exposed bus stop for their ride back to the boat, the pair were drawn to the cool shade of a plant nursery. The walled-off gardens were a tranquil oasis housing Mediterranean flowers, bushes and trees with a hint of tropical bliss.
There wasn’t another soul around and our Chichester Copywriter soon spotted Maltese walls lizards sprinting across the warm paths. But, when Pete approached a tap to wash his hands, he disturbed a snake in a nearby palm that launched through the air to land just a few feet from him. The pair think it likely a black whip snake, the most common of four snakes found on the Maltese islands and fascinating (if not a little frightening) to see!
Comino, namesake of the cumin seed that once thrived there, has just three human residents and is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve. This is the ideal place for BirldLife Malta to release birds they’ve brought back to health so they can acclimatise to the wild at their own pace. While Katy and Pete didn’t step onto the island, they snorkelled with the fish in the beautiful glistening waters of the Blue Lagoon, spotting an array of fish species and urchins. This was a true aqua adventure!
Be a flamingo with marketing copy that makes a stand
Spotting a fabulous flamingo in the wild is the standout moment from this tour of Malta and its wildlife. And flamingos are masters at standing out. Creative copywriter Katy’s inspiration from the natural world supports the belief that for any business not to become a chameleon among its competitors – and stand out from the crowd – it needs the flamingo-factor. What better way is there to achieve this than rocking carefully crafted colourful copy that communicates what you’re selling with flamboyant style? Want to flamingo-up your business copy? Get in touch with Katy today.