Last week, I had the pleasure of a arranging a day trip for a group of 5 experienced birders from Newcastle, UK. They had spent some time touring around the provinces of Alicante and Valencia and after visiting various birding sites had managed to see 97 species. They had opted to finish their holiday with a guided birding trip with us, and one of the group had made the claim that if their species list reached 100, then he would mark the occasion with a bottle of champagne!
We made the journey up through the city of Valencia to the coastal wetlands and began our walk from there. The day started well with good views of Moustached Warbler and Little Bittern. The first sizeable lagoon held Red Crested Pochard, White Headed Duck and Great Crested Grebe. The surrounding reed beds gave views of Great Reed Warbler, Fan Tailed Warbler and Reed Warbler. We also enjoyed great views of Glossy Ibis, Turtle Dove and Audouin´s Gull. Terns were very busy making continual fishing trips to feed their young. We were fortunate enough to see Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern and Whiskered Tern.
The next coastal lagoon provided good views of Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Avocet, Collared Pratincole and Yellow Wagtail.
After a leisurely picnic lunch, we took the view that the storm clouds that appeared to be gathering inland were enough of a warning for us to return to the van rather than continue the walk through the reed beds. Therefore, we retreated but to maximise the value of the day we made the short journey to Albufera de Valencia where we spent some time scanning the rice fields. At this time of year, the fields are in flood and the rice is beginning to grow. We had good views of Cattle Egret, Little Egret and Squacco Heron. Then one of the highlights of the day…a Curlew Sandpiper.
The day ended with a visit to one of the lesser known reserves of Albufera, which provided a great finale with beautiful views of Night Heron.
The species list for the day took the group´s tally to over 100 species so a bottle of champagne was the inevitable reward! A great day out with fantastic views of some of the classic Valencia species, good weather and great company.
The species list included :
Moustached Warbler, Reed Warbler, Fan Tailed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti´s Warbler, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Turtle Dove, Yellow Wagtail, House Martin, Swift, Swallow, Moorhen, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Collared Pratincole, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Avocet, Black Winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Cormorant, Yellow Legged Gull, Black Headed Gull, Audouin´s Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Whiskered Tern, Mallard, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, White Headed Duck.
Written by David Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.