La Safor Birders are a small group of Birdwatchers based in the mountain village of La Drova in the La Safor region of the Valencian Community. The key members have a long experience of birding both here in Spain, the UK and elsewhere. The purpose of the blog is to provide a forum for recording species seen throughout the year in La Drova whilst also acting as a base upon which to record specific birding trips throughout our local area.
Last week, we provided a guided birding trip for a couple from Yorkshire, UK. They were keen nature lovers and were very interested to see the steppe birds of Spain whilst they were on holiday in Valencia.
Typical steppe habitat
Having collected them from their hotel in the city, we made the journey inland and up onto the high plateau of Castilla de la Mancha. After a morning coffee stop and a briefing on the species that we were likely to see, we headed across the rolling plains where had great views of Crested Lark and Calandra Lark.
The first lagoon of the day held Common Tern, Whiskered Tern and Gull-billed Tern and Greater Flamingo. We enjoyed some typical sounds of summer, including the song of Skylark and Corn Bunting.
We spent the rest of the morning at another great spot, a lagoon fringed with reed beds. Here we had wildfowl including Shelduck, Gadwall and Red-crested Pochard. We also enjoyed two especially colourful species, the Hoopoe and Bee Eater.
Before we headed up onto the higher steppe, we made a brief stop at a small lake where we had views of Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, and a Rock Sparrow on nearby ruined barn.
The high steppe eventually gave us views of one of the day´s key species – the Great Bustard. Initially we spotted two males, albeit at long range. Then our patience was rewarded with great views of a group of 12 birds. At the same time, we were also fortunate enough to see two Lesser Kestrels, another typical steppe bird.
The trip was brought to an end at one of the regions larger lagoons, where we finished the day with views of Black-necked Grebe, Avocet and Common Sandpiper.
The species list for the day included…
Skylark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Bee Eater, Hoopoe, Corn Bunting, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Goldfinch, Spotless Starling, Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Whinchat, Collared Dove, Swallow, Swift, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Greater Flamingo, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Avocet, Great Bustard, Mallard, Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Gadwall, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Buzzard, Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Iberian Grey Shrike.