On Wednesday 7th March I was fortunate enough to be back in Albufera de Valencia, this time providing a Guided Trip for a group of 8 people from the local area.
Some were experienced birders whilst others were new to the hobby and were keen to learn more.
After an introduction to the geography and habitats of Albufera we parked the van and entered a very special and protected area of the park. The Spring morning provided beautifully clear blue skies and as we watched House Martins and Swallows passing by, it really began to feel like summer was not so far away.
The trip got off to a great start as whilst watching Glossy Ibis and the usual gatherings of Egrets and Herons, a large flock of Black Tailed Godwits arrived and started to feed in a nearby field. We were then treated to spectacular views of 8 Spoonbills flying low overhead in a V-formation. We would enjoy numerous views of these magnificent birds as they made several passes before coming to rest at a lake.
The reedbeds provided views of Bluethroat, Cetti´s Warbler, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting. Ducks included Red Crested Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard and Teal.
As we scanned the lakes we had great views of Avocet, Black Winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo and the very rare Crested Coot.
Marsh Harriers were around in good numbers but perhaps the best views of a raptor was provided by a beautifully majestic Booted Eagle that passed low overhead, providing one of the day´s highlights.
We stopped at various other points throughout the Natural Park and although numbers shouldn´t be the principal factor of a trip, by the end of the day we´d totalled 50 species. The group had functioned perfectly, with the more experienced birders gladly helping the newcomers. Special thanks must go to the staff at Albufera Natural Park who not only allowed us access to this very special corner of the park but also provided a superb presentation on the wildlife and history of the area.
The species list for the day comprised…
Avocet, Black Headed Gull, Black Redstart, Black Tailed Godwit, Black Winged Stilt, Bluethroat, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Cattle Egret, Cetti´s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Crag Martin, Crested , Coot, Flamingo, Gadwall, Glossy Ibis, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great White Egret, Green Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Purple Gallinule, Red Crested Pochard, Reed Bunting, Robin, Sandwich Tern, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Shoveler, Spoonbill, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal