Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Guided Bird Watching Trip to Albufera de Valencia.

Today´s trip was provided for two British birders who wanted to learn more about the extensive Natural Park of Albufera de Valencia.  Whilst the weather was dry, there was a very strong wind that limited what we would see, although a good days birding was enjoyed.
Our first stop was to observe a recent controlled release of Crested Coot.  This extremely rare bird has provided a challenge to conservationists so far but hopefully this season will see some breeding success.  We enjoyed good views albeit from far enough away as not to cause a disturbance.  We then walked across an area of reeds and small lakes where we enjoyed Reed Bunting, Purple Gallinule, Snipe, and a single Red Crested Pochard that has spent the entire winter with a flock of Common Coot.

We were also fortunate enough to enjoy good views of Flamingo, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and Kingfisher.  We then made our way across the rice fields, in which we were happy to see hundreds of European Starlings. Valencia provides wintering grounds for many European Starlings that make the journey south each year to join their southern cousins the Spotless Starling.  The fields also provided views of Great White Egret, Yellow Legged and Lesser Black Backed Gull.
The wind was far too strong for anything to be perching on the poles in the main lake so we headed for the shelter of a hide, from which we saw Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail and Black Winged Stilt. A Marsh Harrier made several passes, causing the Teal to scatter. After a short while, a Booted Eagle arrived on the scene and eventually settled in a tree very close to the hide.

Booted Eagle

We then headed out across the southern side of Albufera, stopping at favourite spots along the way.  We enjoyed seemingly endless Cattle and Little Egret then stopped to scan a flock of Lapwing.  As we carefully watched we were able to pick out a few Golden Plovers in amongst them.
The day was made very special by a distant flock of large black birds, originally thought to be Cormorants.  As they came closer it became clear that they were indeed Glossy Ibis.  They settled in a field approximately 200 metres away. Our estimations put their number to be around 300 birds.
Despite the wind, a great guided bird watching trip to Albufera de Valencia was enjoyed by all.  Our species list for the day was :
Black Headed Gull, Black Redstart, Black Winged Stilt, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Cattle Egret, Chiffchaff, Coot , Cormorant, Crested Coot, European Starling, Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Golden Plover, Great Crested Grebe, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Pintail, Purple Gallinule, Red Crested Pochard, Reed Bunting, Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Snipe, Spotless Starling, Teal, Yellow Legged Gull.

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