We feel very fortunate this year to have already welcomed back many returning clients, and today was such a day. Rab and Jan had spent a couple of days with us last year and had returned this year with a friend to discover the bird life of one of our wetland reserves.
They drove up from the Costa Blanca and met us close to Valencia, from where we made the short drive to the reserve. After a morning coffee by the beach, looking out onto a very calm Mediterranean, we began our walk through the reserve.
This was to be a day when we could see migration in progress! It´s always a very special time of year as we can see late departing winter visitors, arrivals of summer visitors and passage migrants that often stop at our wetlands to feed before moving further north.
The day began with sightings of Audouin´s Gull, Blackcap, Zitting Cisticola, Yellow Wagtail (both the iberiae and cinereocapilla sub-species) and Sardinian Warbler. We then enjoyed watching wildfowl including Tufted Duck, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveler and Gadwall.
As we were quietly looking over an area of reed beds, a Spotted Crake suddenly emerged from the vegetation. This usually shy bird happily passed by in the open, allowing us to enjoy some fabulous views. Surely a highlight of the day.
We continued our walk along the beach where the coastal scrub held Chiffchaff, Serin, Stonechat and Cetti´s Warbler. A noisy Yellow Legged Gull caught our attention, and we soon saw the reason for its alarm – a passing Osprey. At this point we were also enjoying the sight of hundreds of passing Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins and some of the years first Swifts.
The next lagoon was a delight, with views of Greater Flamingo, Garganey, Teal, Glossy Ibis and Little Ringed Plover. We also had fabulous views of Marsh Harriers hunting over the reed beds, and whilst we had lunch we were treated to views of a pair of spectacular Booted Eagles as they passed very low overhead.
Our walk continued through the reserve where we saw our first Purple Herons of the year and yet another sighting of two more Spotted Crakes! The day was brought to a close with fabulous views of a Booted Eagle perched in a tree.
It had been a wonderful day, with quality views of some great birds. Sincere thanks to Rab, Jan and Pete for making the journey to spend the day with us and for your company throughout the day! Our species list for the day included :
Hoopoe, Magpie, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler (h), Cetti´s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spotless Starling, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swift, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Robin, Serin, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Spotted Crake, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Black Winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Teal, Garganey, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Audouin´s Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Black Headed Gull, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Kestrel, Booted Eagle.
Written by Dave Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.