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

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