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Audouin Birding Tours: Ebro delta birdwatching trip report february 2007




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EBRO DELTA FEBRUARY 2007


Red-crested Pochard - photo by Juan Gil

The Ebro Delta (1 day)

Tour leaders: Iben Hove Sørensen & Cristian Jensen Marcet

Tour members: Elise & David Moore 

82 bird species recorded

Trip report written by Iben Hove Sørensen

Saturday February 17th 2007

We started out at the harbour of Sant Carles de la Rapita, where we had our first views of Audouin's, Yellow-legged, Black-headed, and Mediterranean Gulls. The unseasonal rain that had poured down all night was gradually turning into showers, and as we entered the delta we were met by a Water Rail right out in the open, foraging among Moorhen in a muddy field. A female Kestrel watched us carefully from her post above our heads but decided against flying away in the rain, so we had an excellent chance of studying this little raptor right up close. Our next stop added Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, and Hoopoe, to our list; the latter perching helpfully in a tree until everyone had seen it. Common Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting were the most numerous passerines encountered on our way around the delta, but a couple of male Bluethroat and several Black Redstart also showed very well. A flock of Crag Martin foraged happily in what had now been reduced to a drizzle, and a Kingfisher hung mid-air like a hummingbird; presumably hovering over an easy meal in the half empty channel.

At the tower of Pont del Través we were met by hundreds of Flamingo in the Encanyissada lagoon, and equally large flocks of Red-crested Pochard in the Clot. Singing Cetti's Warbler provided the soundtrack as we watched a Marsh Harrier repeatedly chase up a flock of Common Snipe from the reed bed below the observation tower, and grebes continually reappeared from below the surface only to disappear seconds later for another foraging bout.

In the Tancada lagoon we had great views of several hundred Avocets in a single group on the shore. Ducks and coots dotted the surface of the lagoon, and on a strip of land a shining white Spoonbill stood majestically amongst a group of Great Cormorant. Redshank and Greenshank were foraging along the edges of the old saltpans, which had also attracted several egrets and herons. A Slender-billed Gull with a beautiful pink flush, and several Lesser Black-backs resting in a field, completed the gull list for the day, and we decided to head for a quick (and rather late) meal at a nearby restaurant. As the sun was now out, we did not intend to waste time on eating anything fancy, but when Elise and David saw the paella at the table next to us, well...we changed our minds! The paella was great, made of organic rice from the Riet Vell farm, and we set out after the meal more than satisfied.

We decided on finishing the day at the Migjorn tower, and we did not regret our choice. On the way there, we spotted a dark morph Booted Eagle circling above the trees in Illa de Buda, and we stopped to enjoy the show. A Common Buzzard flew past, and moments later a second, this one a light morph, Booted Eagle joined the first one. After a while we left them to it, and headed for the beach. From the tower we had great views of several Balearic Shearwaters flying north, and a subadult Northern Gannet was headed the opposite way. A group of Common Scoters came in to land just off the beach, where a flock of Sanderling was running up and down in perfect synchrony with the waves. When Elise spotted a Great Bittern crossing the channel, we felt that our visit to Migjorn had been completed and headed for the bay of Fangar. It was almost dark, the sun just setting in a dramatically low line of clouds, yet we managed to catch a glimpse of the shorebirds and ducks resting in the bay, and we added Dunlin, Grey Plover, and Brent Goose - a local rarity! - to our list. We had by then seen a total of 82 species during the day, most of which were new to Elise and David, so everyone was content despite the somewhat challenging weather.

Comments from David & Elise

Thanks for a fun day of birding. Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed being with both of you and were very happy with all the new birds that we saw. It was a wonderful day and thanks so much for introducing us to European birds.

Bird list

  • 1. Great Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatus
  • 2. Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
  • 3. Balearic Shearwater - Puffinus mauretanicus
  • 4. Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
  • 5. Northern Gannet - Morus bassanus
  • 6. Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
  • 7. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
  • 8. Great White Egret - Egretta alba
  • 9. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
  • 10. Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
  • 11. Great Bittern - Botaurus stellaris
  • 12. Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia
  • 13. Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber
  • 14. Mute Swan - Cygnus olor
  • 15. Brent Goose - Branta bernicla
  • 16. Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna
  • 17. Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
  • 18. Gadwall - Anas strepera
  • 19. Eurasian Wigeon - Anas penelope
  • 20. Common Teal - Anas crecca
  • 21. Northern Pintail - Anas acuta
  • 22. Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata
  • 23. Red-crested Pochard - Netta rufina
  • 24. Common Scoter - Melanitta nigra
  • 25. Booted Eagle - Hieraaetus pennatus
  • 26. Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
  • 27. Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
  • 28. Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
  • 29. Common Coot - Fulica atra
  • 30. Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyrio
  • 31. Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
  • 32. Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
  • 33. Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta
  • 34. Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
  • 35. Northern Lapwing - Vanellus vanellus
  • 36. Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
  • 37. Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
  • 38. Dunlin - Calidris alpina
  • 39. Little Stint - Calidris minuta
  • 40. Temminck's Stint - Calidris temminckii
  • 41. Sanderling - Calidris alba
  • 42. Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
  • 43. Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus
  • 44. Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
  • 45. Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
  • 46. Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
  • 47. Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago
  • 48. Black-headed Gull - Larus ridibundus
  • 49. Mediterranean Gull - Larus melanocephalus
  • 50. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
  • 51. Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus
  • 52. Audouin's Gull - Larus audouinii
  • 53. Slender-billed Gull - Larus genei
  • 54. Sandwich Tern - Sterna sandvicensis
  • 55. Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybridus
  • 56. Feral Pigeon - Columba livia feral
  • 57. Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
  • 58. Hoopoe - Upupa epops
  • 59. Skylark - Alauda arvensis
  • 60. Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
  • 61. Eurasian Crag Martin - Hirundo rupestris
  • 62. Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis
  • 63. Water Pipit - Anthus spinoletta
  • 64. White Wagtail - Motacilla alba
  • 65. Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea
  • 66. Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
  • 67. Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
  • 68. Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita
  • 69. Common Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
  • 70. Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
  • 71. European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
  • 72. Bluethroat - Luscinia svecica
  • 73. Blackbird - Turdus merula
  • 74. Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
  • 75. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
  • 76. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus
  • 77. Common Starling - Sturnus vulgaris
  • 78. Spotless Starling - Sturnus unicolor
  • 79. Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
  • 80. European Serin - Serinus serinus
  • 81. European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
  • 82. Reed Bunting - Emberiza schoeniclus

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