Last week I was delighted to see returning clients Kelvin and Katy from UK, and to provide a day of guided birding for them at one of our region´s wetland sites. Last year they had enjoyed a trip with us to Albufera de Valencia and had been impressed with the bird life of the area. They had also fallen in love with the enchanting city of Valencia and vowed to return!
Return they did, and after discussing what they´d like to see, we headed for the wetlands.
Kelvin works for the RSPB in the south of England, and is a knowledgeable birder. Katy is a keen nature lover, and for her today was all the more special as it was her birthday!
After meeting outside the cathedral in central Valencia we made the short trip to the reserve. The day began with a walk beside some coastal salt lagoons, where we watched Common Reed Warbler and heard Cetti´s Warbler in the surrounding reeds. We were pleased to see a pair of Turtle Doves too.
As we watched the first lagoon we had superb views of a Purple Heron flying low over the water. An Audouin´s Gull followed, and then a Little Bittern.
With the day already off to a good start we moved to the next lagoon where we spent a while waiting to see what would appear. Whiskered Terns were feeding over the lagoon and several Great Reed Warblers were calling loudly from the reeds. We had great views of one as it perched prominently directly opposite us.
A family of Red Crested Pochard swam by, and then an adult male White Headed Duck appeared, entertaining us as he dived for food before spending a long while preening. Two other White Headed Ducks soon joined him. It´s always very pleasing to see this fabulous creature!
As we walked further along the coast we had views of Stonechat, Greenfinch, Crested Lark and Kestrel. We then visited the first breeding colony of the day where we had great views of Little Tern and Collared Pratincole. A Greater Flamingo was feeding close by.
We had lunch whilst we watched the second colony which included Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Black Winged Stilt and Black Headed Gull, the latter two species with young. We also had good views of Avocet, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover and Kentish Plover.
We headed back along the coast and after a coffee break continued our walk through the reserve. As we took a break in the shade we enjoyed views of Whinchat, Corn Bunting and a pair of Marsh Harrier. We suddenly heard Bee Eaters and were treated to a spectacular show as a small flock began feeding above us. One of them then perched quite close, allowing us to enjoy fabulous views of this amazingly colourful bird. For Kelvin and Katy this was one of the highlights of the day.
It was time to head back, so we set off passing another small lagoon where we had a good view of a Zitting Cisticola perched on a reed. This provided a good opportunity to see the bird well, as usually it´s seen in flight and can be hard to get detailed views. For what is often considered a LBJ, it´s delicate markings can surprise.
We then had lovely views of a pair of Glossy Ibis, with the sunlight illuminating their plumage it was possible to see the copper tones of the wings.
The day ended with a short stop at another lagoon where we enjoyed seeing a male Red Crested Pochard, and yet more Purple Herons and Marsh Harriers.
All too soon it was time to bring the trip to a close and to head back to Valencia. It had been great to see Kelvin and Katy, and to enjoy their company in the presence of some fabulous birds. The species list for the day included…
Turtle Dove, Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler (h), Barn Swallow, Spotless Starling, Black Winged Stilt, Purple Heron, Yellow Legged Gull, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Coot, Zitting Cisticola, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Audouin’s Gull, Little Bittern, Pochard, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Common Tern, Greenfinch, Great Reed Warbler, White Headed Duck, Mallard, Red Crested Pochard, Glossy Ibis, Kestrel, Collared Pratincole, Stonechat, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Sandwich Tern, Greater Flamingo, Redshank, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Marsh Harrier, House Martin, Whinchat, Corn Bunting, Bee Eater, Magpie, Swift, Little Egret.
Written by Dave Warrington.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.