Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another amazing day at the Valencian Coastal Wetlands!

On 4th December, we arranged a trip to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands for a group of 8 local birders. After the obligatory morning coffee, we parked the van near the beach. The day got off to a fantastic start the moment we got out of the van with immediate views of a Kingfisher perched on a reed overhanging a small canal. Things then turned from the sublime to the ridiculous as a bright green bird flew by…one that we identified as a budgerigar!! After some discussion about whether we could include it on the list, we headed to the first lagoon.

A chiffchaff, the first of many for the day was flitting around, soon to be joined by a Black Redstart. The lagoon held Shoveler and Teal and the surrounding reed beds were being patrolled by a Marsh Harrier.

A stroll up the coast gave good views of Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Hoopoe and Reed Bunting. Then another oddity…an unusual bird and one that we had clear views of for a good 10 minutes. The firm consensus of opinion within the group was that we were looking at a Desert Wheatear, a real rarity for Spain. We´d had great views and everything pointed to Desert Wheatear. (Having consulted with the rarities committee, the only other possibility is a leucistic Stonechat).  This was followed with sudden and superb views of a Booted Eagle, the low winter sun illuminating its plumage magnificently.

Booted Eagle

As we watched the next lagoon, the bushes around the shore gave brief but good views of a pair of Sub-Alpine Warblers. Crag Martins were around in good numbers and we enjoyed further views of Marsh Harriers.

After lunch we walked through more reed beds and out into some rough pasture land where we saw an Iberian Grey Shrike, Sardinian Warbler, Lapwing and a Hen Harrier. The day was brought to a close with a visit to another coastal lake where we saw dozens of Cormorants coming in off the sea, Coot, Shoveler and finally three Purple Swamphens.

Another great visit to this very special area that always delivers at least one surprise!

The day´s species list included :
Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Iberian Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Crag Martin, Desert Wheatear, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Hoopoe, House Sparrow, Kingfisher, Magpie, Northern Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Robin, Skylark, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Wood Pigeon, Chiffchaff, Fan Tailed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Sub-Alpine Warbler, Coot, Little Grebe, Mallard, Moorhen, Pochard, Purple Swamphen, Shoveler, Teal, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Little Egret, Cormorant, Yellow Legged Gull

December on the Steppe.

Distant views of Great Bustards
Distant views of Great Bustards
On Tuesday 11th December Dave provided a guided trip for a local group of birders. We decided upon the steppe and lagoons of Castilla de la Mancha as the venue. Despite being a little chilly, we were fortunate in that there was no wind and a clear blue cloudless sky.  As we scanned the surrounding plains from our first stopping point we saw a distant flock of Great Bustards although they were too far away to provide good views, even with the scopes.

We hoped for further sightings later in the day so set off to check out what was on the first lagoon of the day. Shovelers were on the water in good numbers as were Shelduck and Greater Flamingo.  A Corn Bunting was perched on a near wire closeby and a Tree Sparrow was seen on a ruined building.

Corn Bunting
Corn Bunting

The second lagoon of the day held Coot, Pochard, Little Grebe and Teal. As we enjoyed our lunch by the shore, we were delighted to see first a Marsh Harrier, then two Red Kites. A little later, a Sparrowhawk settled in a tree close by.  We then headed out across the steppe, stopping at various places along the way to scan the surroundings. We enjoyed views of Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Iberian Grey Shrike, and a Little Owl. Then, we finally found two separate flocks of Great Bustards. We were able to watch them for quite some time, and at quite close range.

Scanning across the steppe gave good views of Great Bustards, Calandra Larks and Hen Harrier
Scanning across the steppe gave good views of Great Bustards, Calandra Larks and Hen Harrier

As the day drew to a close, some patches of flood water gave good views of Kentish Plover and Red Crested Pochard. The day ended on a high with distant but clear views of a male Hen Harrier.

Red Crested Pochard
Red Crested Pochard

This area is always worth a visit at any time of year. With some effort and a little patience it reveals some superb species and today had been no exception.

The day´s list included :
Black Redstart, Calandra Lark, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Magpie, Skylark, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail, Hen Harrier, Iberian Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Great Bustard, Greater Flamingo, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Red Legged Partridge, Coot, Mallard, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal

David Warrington

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oliva/Pego Marsh

On Wednesday 21st November John and I decided to spend the morning at Oliva/Pego Marsh as the rice fields had recently been flooded ready for the hunting season. Although some of the tracks were flooded by the unusual about of rain we managed to see a good diversity of birds for the time of year.

On arrival we had some very good views of a Iberian Grey Shrike, Stonechat and a distant view of an Osprey perched on the top of a Electricity pylon. We managed to get a reasonable good photo as we got a little closer.

As we skirted the area we had some good views of several Bluethroats and managed a couple of good photos.  

We decided to try a different path and found a good area for waders. Only one Snipe was found so we headed for the local cafe. On the way we came across more Bluethroats some Chiff Chaff and a kingfisher and the Shrike was still perched on the electricity wires. At the Cafe we saw a Black Redstart and Serin.

After a short break we headed for a spot that would give us good views over the marsh and had views of Little Egret, Water Pipit, Cattle Egret and Grey Heron and at a good number of Marsh Harrier and a Booted Eagle. Hundreds of Crag Martin were also hawking for insects.

The bird count for the day was 29 species including at least 10 Marsh Harrier, 4 Bluethroat and 2 Kingfishers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Birding at the Valencian Coastal Wetlands

On 16th October Dave enjoyed a day of guided birding with a couple of clients from Canada. Ingo and Kiran were keen to see the classic species of the Valencian coastal wetlands. Having met them at their hotel in the city centre we made the short journey to the natural park of Albufera de Valencia.

Scanning the rice fields at Albufera de Valencia

The first bird of the day was a Sandwich Tern perched on a pole on the main Albufera Lake. We then headed for one of the reserves where we had superb views of Marsh Harrier, and interestingly noted flocks of European Starlings arriving for the winter. Wildfowl included Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Pintail and Shelduck.

The local Spotless Starlings are joined by thousands of European Starlings that spend the winter months in the Valencia region.

We enjoyed an all too brief view of a flock of Spoonbill passing overhead before returning to the van. Further exploration of Albufera gave views of Iberian Grey Shrike, Kingfisher, Black Winged Stilt, and Booted Eagle.

Audouin´s Gull
We then headed a little further north to visit another wetland site where we were fortunate enough to enjoy close views of three of the classic albeit rare species of the area – White Headed Duck, Purple Gallinule and Audouin´s Gull. We took a short walk along the coast and had views of Whinchat, Crested Lark and another Iberian Grey Shrike.

White Headed Duck
The day ended with a visit to a local lagoon where, with the sun already low in the sky we enjoyed the peace of a beautiful Mediterranean evening. We finished the trip with some stunning views of Marsh Harriers flying low over the reeds and shoreline of the lagoon. We´d had a great day and Ingo and Kiran had enjoyed some great views of some of the area´s key species.
The list for the day included :
Audouin´s Gull, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Iberian Grey Shrike, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, White Headed Duck, Little Grebe, Coot, Black Winged Stilt, Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, House Sparrow, European Starling, Spotless Starling, Blackcap, Crested Lark, Stonechat, Whinchat, Kingfisher, Swallow, Wood Pigeon

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guided Bird Watching on the Steppe of Castilla de la Mancha

On 11th October Dave had the pleasure of providing a guided bird watching trip for a couple from Ringwood, UK.  They were staying in Valencia and wanted a day´s birding as part of their holiday.  Both very experienced birders they had been visiting Spain for many years and had travelled throughout the world on other birding expeditions.
They had specifically requested a day out on the steppe to see the distinct bird life this unique habitat holds.  Unfortunately, conditions were not ideal as the water levels in the area´s lagoons were very low, and coupled with a strong wind, this meant that we had to work hard in order to find the birds.

Steppe of Castilla de la Mancha

Our first stopping point gave views of Skylark, Crested Lark and Wheatear.  There wasn´t much flying thanks to the stiff breeze so we headed off to spend some time beside a lake.  There we enjoyed views of Teal, Greater Flamingo and Marsh Harrier.  By now it was becoming clear that conditions were against us so we decided upon a strategy of driving across the high steppe and making periodic stops to scan the vast landscape.  After a quiet start, things suddenly improved and our efforts were rewarded with views of a flock of Little Bustard closely followed by a flock of Golden Plover.  As we stood out on the steppe, we saw many more Wheatear then a sizeable flock of Calandra Lark.

A visit to another of the region´s lagoons gave much better views of Greater Flamingo plus Spotted Redshank, Black Winged Stilt and Black-Necked Grebe.

Great Bustards
The day was drawing to a close so we headed back to one of the local villages for a coffee prior to the drive back to Valencia.  We were pleased with the day but had failed to see one of the region´s iconic species – the Great Bustard.  As we drove along the arrow-straight road, we finally found them in fields quite close-by.  First a small group of three males then as we scanned the surroundings we counted over fourteen of these impressive and majestic birds.  We stood by the road for a good fifteen minutes enjoying great views.
Our day was brought to a close with a view of an Iberian Grey Shrike.
Iberian Grey Shrike

Although conditions were poor and the day got off to a slow start, Graham and Sue had enjoyed the trip.  It had been a pleasure for me to spend the day with them.

Skylark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Magpie, Crow, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Iberian Grey Shrike, Wheatear, Spotless Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Golden Plover, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Coot, Black Necked Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Spotted Redshank

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Guided Bird Watching in Valencia

On 10th October we provided a guided bird watching trip for a couple from Berkshire. Both keen nature lovers, David and Elizabeth were staying in Valencia as part of a trip around Spain. They had requested a tour of Albufera, as they wanted to see some of the classic wetland species of Valencia. As they were only here for a short while, we combined Albufera with another local wetland with the aim of improving our chances of spotting some of the target birds.

Albufera de Valencia
We began the day with a visit to one of the reserves within the natural park of Albufera de Valencia where we had great close-up views of Marsh Harrier and Purple Gallinule. Wildfowl included Mallard, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard and Shoveler.

Purple Gallinule
Later, we enjoyed good views of Greater Flamingo and Yellow Legged Gull before one of the highlights of the day – superbly clear views of a pale morph Booted Eagle which kindly circled above us for long enough for us to take in the beautiful tones of this stunning raptor.

Booted Eagle
We then headed a little further along the coast where we saw the very rare White Headed Duck, and had surprisingly long lasting views of a Water Rail. Passage birds included Swallow, Sub-Alpine Warbler, Whinchat and Wheatear.

We ended the day back at Albufera where we spent some time focusing on the key ID features of Great Egret, Cattle Egret and Little Egret. We had further views of Marsh Harrier before finishing the day with close views of Snipe and Kingfisher.

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Albufera de Valencia

On Wednesday 19th September we provided a “tailor made” trip to the natural park of Albufera de Valencia.  The group comprised experienced birders and general nature lovers so the trip was designed to offer something for everyone.  The day began with a visit to a reserve that not only provides a superb habitat but also serves as an open-air laboratory in which a great deal of valuable conservation work takes place. The reserve staff gave a fascinating presentation on the ongoing projects at the reserve and the history of the area. Following that, we spent some time in and around the reserve and immediately were able to enjoy good views of a flock of Spoonbill.


We also had great views of Marsh Harrier, Greater Flamingo, Great White Egret and Purple Gallinule.
We then moved across to the other side of Albufera where we stopped at another reserve and had views of Black Winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Ruff. We made a brief stop along the way to watch an Iberian Grey Shrike that was perched quite close to the road.

Iberian Grey Shrike

As Albufera de Valencia is the “birth place” of Paella, it seemed appropriate to take a leisurely lunch and to taste Spain´s most famous dish. A local restaurant provided a great meal, with a good selection of local dishes, including meat paella and seafood paella. Having eaten our fill we made our way across the southern area of the park in search of more birds.
As we left the village and made our way across the rice fields, we immediately came across a Booted Eagle followed by further great views of Marsh Harrier. We then spotted quite a large bird perched high on a pylon. Upon setting up the scope it became clear that we were looking at an Osprey, complete with a sizeable fish in its talons. Albufera de Valencia is often used by these iconic birds as a stopping point on their long migration to and from Africa.

Squacco Heron

The rice fields held Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull and a few Whiskered Terns.  Our day ended with a visit to another small reserve which is developing very well and now is used as a roosting site by Squacco Herons and Little Egrets. Although too early for roosting, we had fantastic views of a Squacco Heron plus an adult Night Heron with two juveniles.

Night Heron

The day had been taken at a relaxed pace and had been great fun. Our species list included…
Black Headed Gull, Black Winged Stilt, Booted Eagle, Cattle Egret, Common Sandpiper, Cormorant, Great Egret, Greater Flamingo, Grey Heron, House Sparrow, Iberian Grey Shrike, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Night Heron, Osprey, Purple Gallinule, Ruff, Spoonbill, Spotless Starling, Squacco Heron

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Birding in Valencia

On Tuesday 18th September, we provided a trip to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands.  After a long and very dry summer, water levels are generally dramatically low throughout the region, although some of the smaller lakes and lagoons do still hold water and therefore birds.
The day got off to a good start as soon as we parked the van, with good views of an Iberian Grey Shrike perched on a wire. The first lake along the usual route normally holds one or two good birds, despite it´s somewhat scruffy appearance. As it was one of the few places with significant water, there was a good selection of species all present in the same place. Within ten minutes of arrival we´d seen Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, a juvenile White Headed Duck, Purple Gallinule and a Little Bittern.

Curlew Sandpiper

We continued our walk to a larger coastal lagoon where we enjoyed unusually close and prolonged views of Water Rail. We also watched Little Ringed Plover, Black Winged Stilt and a further three White Headed Ducks.

Water Rail

After a pleasant walk along the coast we arrived at another lagoon, whilst although relatively dry held a couple of Avocet, Little Egrets and gave fantastic views of a female Marsh Harrier quartering the adjoining reedbeds.  Further exploration of the wide expanse of reedbeds revealed another Iberian Grey Shrike and Whinchat. By now, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins were streaming past in significant numbers on their long journey south.
We enjoyed lunch in a small picnic area under a stand of poplar trees in which we had good views of Pied Flycatcher and a pair of Sub-Alpine Warblers. Our return route took us through fields before passing through further reedbeds. A Kingfisher made a brief appearance followed by an unexpected sighting of a pair of Common Waxbills.

Common Waxbill

Despite the low water levels, we´d seen a good selection of species. Hopefully the autumn rains will materialise soon and the habitat will be restored to its usual state.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birding on the Steppe & Lagoons of Castilla de la Mancha

Last Friday was one of those days when work really didn´t feel like work.  Despite being a fairly long day, the weather was perfect, the birds were great and the company of my clients for the day was excellent.  Both were scientists who had spent the week at a conference in Valencia and wanted to escape for a days birding.  Tony, a very experienced, accomplished but refreshingly “down to earth” birder had travelled extensively and had a superb knowledge of the birds of Australia in particular.  His own website can be seen at   Jason, a nature lover and birder was also an experienced wildlife photographer.
Having met at their hotel in the city of Valencia, we made the journey west, out of the city and up onto the plains of Castilla de la Mancha. Our first stop was at a vantage point that I usually use as it affords far-ranging views across the steppe.

The plains of Castilla de la Mancha

Within just a few moments we´d seen Skylark and Crested Lark in the fields, Spotless Starlings on some farm buildings and a Buzzard on a pylon. The first of many of the day´s Wheatears sat up on a rock, showing well. Then one of the days highlights – suddenly a small group of sizeable birds took flight from some rocky ground beneath us, flew across the road and settled in a field. The swiftness of their flight and the heat haze were initially confusing, but having focused the scope onto them it was obvious that we were looking at Stone Curlews – a great start to the day.

We then drove across the plains on rough tracks in search of another of the day´s target birds, the Great Bustard. Twenty minutes of searching revealed nothing but Skylarks, Kestrels and Crows so we decided to head for another area, but first stopped off at one of the area´s lagoons.  Scanning the water, we saw a few Greater Flamingoes, Shoveler, Little Grebe and the usual Coots and Grey Herons. House Martins and Barn Swallows were feeding over the water but careful observation picked out a juvenile Red Rumped Swallow in amongst them. A Sparrowhawk appeared from over the hill, and settled in a nearby tree, flushing out a small flock of Spotless Starlings. Enjoying the shade and generally peaceful surroundings, further scanning around revealed a few Little Ringed Plover feeding on the shoreline. We then returned to the van and set out once more across the steppe in search of other local specialities. We´d been on the move for a matter of minutes when a raptor caught our attention. It was obliging enough to circle above us for long enough to allow great views of this superb bird of prey – a Red Kite. The pale grey thin underwing bar and the less forked shape of the tail suggested a young bird.

Red Rumped Swallow
Then it was back to the trails that cross the seemingly endless plains. Something ahead caught our attention – it was indeed a group of male Great Bustards, their sheer size evident, even at fairly long distance. Then yet another highlight, Tony found a Great Spotted Cuckoo perched on a wire. Although it didn´t linger for long enough for us to get the scope on it, its key ID features were clear.
Further searching of the plains revealed yet more Great Bustard, a few passing Crag Martins and we were also treated to good views of an Iberian Grey Shrike. We then stopped at a place of previous sightings of Great Spotted Cuckoo. Although there were none around, we were fortunate enough to enjoy good views of yet more Stone Curlew, the big eye and yellow eye-ring showing really well.

Great Bustards

The final stop of the day was at another of the area´s lagoons, where we saw many more Greater Flamingo, a Common Sandpiper, Black Necked Grebe and Marsh Harrier.  We stopped at a local village to grab a coffee before making the journey back to Valencia. We´d seen some superb birds and had been fortunate to enjoy perfect weather conditions. Thanks to Tony and Jason for a great day out.
The day´s species list comprised…
Barn Swallow, Black Necked Grebe, Black Winged Stilt, Buzzard, Collared Dove, Common Coot, Common Sandpiper, Crag Martin, Crested Lark, Crow, Great Bustard, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Great Tit, Greater Flamingo, Grey Heron, House Martin, House Sparrow, Iberian Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Red Rumped Swallow, Shoveler, Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Spotless Starling, Stone Curlew, Wheatear.

Written by David Warrington
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birding on the Steppe.

Following a long, hot and very dry summer a few of us spent last Thursday (6th Sept) up on the steppe of Castilla de la Mancha.
It was clear that the recent prolonged dry conditions had left water levels much lower than usual, and some of the smaller lagoons had dried up completely. This of course meant less birds, but as always with this area, if you put in the effort there are always some interesting species to see.
After a brief road-side stop to watch Crested Lark, Skylark, Hoopoe and Woodchat Shrike, we began at one of the larger lagoons that holds water throughout the year. The Coots were there in good numbers as always but scanning across the water revealed a lone juvenile Shelduck, Black Winged Stilts, Little Grebe and a Greater Flamingo.

Juvenile Greater Flamingo
The shoreline held a few Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper. A little more time spent waiting and watching resulted in good views of Barn Swallow, Red Rumped Swallow, House Martins and Sand Martins. A male Marsh Harrier then appeared and spent a good 15 minutes hunting over the reed beds in front of us.
Patience was rewarded with three great birds in the next five minutes – firstly a Short Toed Eagle passed over, followed by a Honey Buzzard. Whilst we were watching the Honey Buzzard, a pair of Golden Orioles passed by right next to where we were standing.
Satisfied with our first stop, we then headed out across the vast plains in search of the Great Bustard – Europe´s heaviest flying bird.  Having spoken to a few locals we were told that they´d not been seen for a few days. The first 20 minutes of searching gave great views of Wheatear and Booted Eagle but no Bustards. Then out across the plains we spotted them – a group of 6 males. No matter how many times we see these birds, the sight of a Great Bustard strutting across the steppe is always special.

Distant view across the steppe of Great Bustards.
We ended the day with a brief visit to another lagoon where we had good close views of Greater Flamingo and Wood Sandpiper. Scanning across the water with the scope also gave views of Black Necked Grebe and Lesser Black Backed Gull.  Despite the low water levels and far less birds than usual, we´d enjoyed some great views of some interesting species. The steppe is always worth a trip and effort is normally rewarded with some special birds.

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mid-Summer Birding

July and August are generally not the best months for birding here in Spain. This summer has been especially hot, even by our standards so we´re all looking forward to the autumn when migration is underway and the weather is much more comfortable. The diary is already filling up so it looks like being a great season.
However, whilst on holiday visiting family in our area in mid August, Nora asked for a day trip to see some typical Mediterranean species. A nature lover and general bird enthusiast, she was happy to see a few special target species rather than to maximise a tick list. With that in mind, and the summer heat, we decided upon a slightly modified “Mountains & Marshes” trip.  We began the day with a couple of hours in a spectacular mountain gorge and although the path was a little steep in places, the cliffs did provide some welcome shade.

Griffon Vultures on their breeding cliffs
We were soon enjoying great views of Griffon Vultues, both in flight and on the high ledges of their breeding cliffs. Closer inspection of the cliffs revealed Crag Martin, Black Redstart, and eventually another of the day´s target species, the Blue Rock Thrush.

Blue Rock Thrush

A little further into the gorge, we had good albeit brief views of Crested Tit and Black Wheatear followed by Black Redstart and Sardinian Warbler.

Griffon Vulture
As we made our way back to the van for welcome cool drinks and sandwiches, a couple of Ravens passed low overhead. Whilst sat enjoying lunch, we were able to put the scope onto Bee Eaters that were perched on wires nearby, their stunningly colourful plumage showing beautifully in the sunlight.
After lunch we made the short journey to a relatively new reserve that comprises a lake and reedbeds whilst being surrounded by high and rocky mountains. As it´s still quite new it needs a little more time to fully develop, although progress can be seen with every visit so it´s always worth the effort to see what´s around. Initially we had good views of a family of Great Crested Grebes. Swallows and House Martins were swooping over the reeds and a Little Egret passed by.

Then, things became much more interesting and to my surprise, a Little Bittern flew up from the reeds and settled quite close to the hide. Then, as we were watching a group of Common Swifts, a much paler bird caught my eye – a Pallid Swift. That would have been good enough, but they were soon joined by four Alpine Swifts. These surprisingly large birds breed on the high mountain cliffs close to the reserve but it was fantastic to see them feeding at such close proximity.
A disturbance in the reeds took our attention. As we watched and waited, a Purple Gallinule steadily made its way into a clearing, a first for me at this site.
Despite my reservations about birding on such a hot day, we´d chose the sites carefully and had been rewarded with some great views of some iconic southern European species.

Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Local Bird Walk in aid of Tancat de la Pipa.

On Friday 1st June, a group of 18 friends and neighbours gathered for a “Bird Walk” around the valley of La Drova and Barx.
Arranged by Valencia Birding, the dual purposes of the walk was to see the bird life that thrives within this spectacular valley and to raise funds for the much valued nature reserve Tancat de la Pipa, situated within the Natural Park of Albufera de Valencia.
Many people have visited Tancat de la Pipa on our birding trips. The small team there do some wonderful conservation and research work that provides vital habitat for a huge range of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and plant life.

We completed a walk of some 6km, through olive groves, woodland and open countryside. We managed to see 24 species, the highlights of which were Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Cirl Bunting, Golden Oriole and Woodchat Shrike.

The complete species list comprised…
Spotted Flycatcher, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Swallow, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Long Tailed Tit, Serin, Blackbird, Peregrine Falcon, Black Redstart, Raven, Sardinian Warbler, Cirl Bunting, Golden Oriole, Greenfinch, Coal Tit, Melodious Warbler, Chaffinch, House Martin, Nightingale, Swift, Woodchat Shrike.

 We also heard (but did not see) Firecrest and Wryneck.
Thanks to the generosity of the group, we managed to raise a total of €100 for Tancat de la Pipa.
I will write again with details of the visit during which we will present our donation.
Once again, an enormous thanks to everyone for coming along and for supporting the venture so generously.