On Easter Saturday, Yanina and I arranged a day of guided bird watching to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands. At Easter Birding in Valencia is especially rewarding as many of the summer visitors are returning to their breeding grounds in our local wetland reserves.
We gathered in central Valencia before making the short journey to the reserve that we´d selected for today´s trip. After a morning coffee, looking out across the calm waters of the Mediterranean, we began our walk along a coastal dune system. The first lagoon gave good views of waterfowl including Pochard, Red-crested Pochard and Little Grebe.
As we walked further into the reserve, the second lagoon provided a spectacular sight of seven male White-headed Ducks, one of Europe´s rarest and arguably most attractive ducks. We also had great views of Flamingo, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and Marsh Harrier.
We then took in an area of coastal scrub, and were treated to views of Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat, Sub-alpine Warbler and Spotless Starling. We also had a good view of Audouin´s Gull and the beautiful Collared Pratincole.
After a picnic lunch on a pebble beach, we headed inland to an area of pasture with a couple more small lakes. We had a good view of a Woodchat Shrike, whilst a Booted Eagle passed overhead. The shallow lakes held Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Garganey and Shoveler.
Whilst scanning over an area of reeds we were then treated to what was for many, the highlight of the day – a pair of displaying Hen Harriers. Their close proximity and the spectacular flight display was indeed a memorable sight.
The trip ended with a short visit to another lake, where we brought the day to a close with views of Purple Swamphen, Little Ringed Plover and Hoopoe.
It had been a fantastic way to spend the day ; great habitat, fabulous weather, some amazing birds and fantastic company.
The species list for the day topped 50 species, and included :
Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Mallard, White-headed Duck, Garganey, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin´s Gull, Common Tern, Greater Flamingo, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Collared Pratincole, Purple Swamphen, Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, Spotless Starling, Magpie, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Fan-tailed Warbler, Sub-alpine Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat, Hoopoe, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Woodchat Shrike.
Written by Dave Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.