Molentargius, which was the richest Sardinian basin for sea-salt extraction for two and a half centuries - an activity that ceased in 1985 - has become one of the main resting and nesting sites of aquatic birds in Europe. The Molentargius-Saline extends across 1,600 hectares near the city of Cagliari. It consists of two main pools; Bellarosa Minore to the north east, a smaller freshwater pool and Bellarosa Maggiore to the south west, a much larger brackish pool. In between these 2 pools, there are numerous reed-filled freshwater pools and canals. Both to the south, and along the coast, to the south east, there are many other pools, including the Stagni di Quartu, used in the past to produce salt.
On the embankment of Bellarosa Maggiore Greater Flamingo and Slender-billed Gull nest. The reed of the Bellarosa Minore is a refuge for nesting birds as Cattle Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Little Egret and numerous species of ducks. With a little luck, you will see Purple Swamphen, with its metallic blue plumage and scarlet red beak.
Other interesting breeding birds are Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Gull-billed Tern, Little Tern, Ferruginous Duck, Avocet, European Marsh Harrier and Kentish Plover. Audouin's Gull can be seen at quieter times of the year around the Stagni di Quartu and along the beach.
The pools are also very good for migrant species, including Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Garganey, Spotted Redshank and plenty of other waders. Wintering species include Red-crested Pochard and Eurasian Spoonbill.
Arriving at Molentargius Regional Natural Park is very easy, from Cagliari and Quartu Sant'Elena, through Poetto seafront. The inner area, composed by Is Arenas, is accessible from Quartu Sant'Elena: in Don Giordi street are located the car parks for the visitors.
You can discover the Molentargius Saline through the pedestrian / bycycle path that runs along the Port, or by public bus PQ, PF that stops (Generale Rossi stop) at approx 1Km from the visitor center of Via La Palma, there you can rent a bike or enjoy a guide service by boat or train, both electric powered.