Last week I had the pleasure to provide a guided bird watching trip to the steppe for two experienced birders from Poland. They brought with them a wish list of target species for this habitat, so we focused the trip on that.
After I collected them from the railway station in Valencia, we drove for around an hour to the magnificent plains that provide a variety of habitat including cultivated fields of different cereals and vineyards, inland brackish lagoons and wooded areas, the perfect habitat for Little Bustard, White-headed Duck and Great Spotted Cuckoo … our goal for the day.
The first stop was by an irrigation pond, where we had good views of nesting Avocet, Great Reed Warbler, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck and Black-winged Stilt.
Next stop was at a vantage point on top of a hill, which gave the chance to enjoy stunning views of Little Owl, Black Kite and Crested Lark.
After a short drive, we arrived at a lagoon where we expected to spot one of the wish list species… White-headed Duck. We were delighted to get good views of a pair of this beautiful bird.
During the evening, we a headed off-road into the steppe in search of Great Spotted Cuckoo and Little Bustard. We stopped in a wooded area and after a short while searching, we had good views of two Great Spotted Cuckoos.
Immediately after, we heard the Little Bustard’s call coming from a nearby cereal field. Two adults were calling each other, probably protecting their chicks or the nest but despite our best efforts, it was impossible to see them, and we certainly didn´t want to disturb them. The good thing was that a little further along the track, four Great Bustards appeared. We ended the trip with good views of these magnificent birds.
Species list for the day included…
Little Owl, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Flamingo, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Mallard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Magpie, Carrion Craw, Iberian Grey Shrike, Bee Eater, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Rock Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Barn Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Subapline Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Great Reed Warbler, Zitting Cisticola.
Written by Yanina Maggiotto.
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.