Alpine Accentors!

Alpine Accentors!

Today´s outing was not specifically a birding trip and more of a walk to the top of one of our local mountain peaks.  Such is the beauty of the route, it´s one that we enjoy two or three times per year and today´s trip was timed to coincide with the visit of one of my favourite and most character-full of mountain birds, the Alpine Accentor. The initial walk up through the steep forest gave good views of Chaffinch, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Robin and the beautifully marked Firecrest. This area is also a frequent haunt of Blue Rock Thrush [read more]

Winter Birding in Castilla de la Mancha

Winter Birding in Castilla de la Mancha

Today´s trip was a joint effort arranged by Valencia Birding and La Safor Ornithological Society, a Spanish group based in our local town of Gandia. The area visited was the same as that taken in on our “Steppe & Lagoons” trip and visits the high plains of Castilla de la Mancha, just over a hour´s drive from the Mediterranean coast. To make the most of the day and to have the best chance of seeing the target species we left our home base at 6.30am and after a couple of pick ups we were up on the steppe by 8.30am. [read more]

A morning at Albufera de Valencia.

A morning at Albufera de Valencia.

On 3rd January we spent a few hours at the Natural Park of Albufera de Valencia, a coastal wetland site just south of the city of Valencia.  This site is of significant European importance and provides both critical breeding and wintering grounds for a vast range of species.  Today´s trip was not so much an intensive day´s birding, in fact we only had a couple of hours as the main purpose of the visit was a meeting with the management team of a relatively new bird reserve within the park. On the way, we made a brief stop at one of [read more]

A Christmas Present of a Birding trip to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands.

A Christmas Present of a Birding trip to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands.

During the Christmas break, I had the pleasure of providing a trip for a lady who despite having an interest in the natural world, is new to bird watching.  The trip was bought for her as a Christmas present by her husband.  We enjoyed a super day and were treated to some beautiful sights. After the trip, she very kindly provided this account…. A couple of days ago, I had a wonderful day out bird watching in Valencia – something that none of my family thought I would do (let alone enjoy the experience). Well, it was a revelation! Probably [read more]

A Pre-Christmas Trip up onto the Steppe.

A Pre-Christmas Trip up onto the Steppe.

One of my important roles as a birding guide is to constantly visit my favoured sites as many times as possible throughout the year. This is essential in order to maintain and develop knowledge of an area and it´s changing characteristics and bird life throughout the seasons. That way, we ensure that our clients are taken to the sites that are “at their best” whenever their visit may take place. That today´s trip meant that I avoided having to go Christmas shopping only seemed to reinforce its value! Our destination was the vast upland Steppe of Castilla de la Mancha, some [read more]

El Hondo

El Hondo

Not within our usual birding area, El Hondo is a wetland reserve of major international importance, not least for it´s population of White Headed Duck and Marbled Duck.  Although not a regular venue for us, El Hondo always provides something of interest. We were fortunate to enjoy some beautiful autumn sunshine as we set off across the reserve.  Within just five minutes we were delighted to see 3 Cranes passing overhead, shortly followed by a lone Booted Eagle.  As we made our way through the reedbeds, we watched as a Marsh Harrier hunted by the shore of the lake.  We stopped and set up the [read more]

Sanderling Census of La Safor

Sanderling Census of La Safor

On Sunday 27th November we took part in the Sanderling Census of La Safor which was organised by the “Associació Ornitológica De La Safor”. The stretch of Mediterranean coastline to be studied was that between Playa de Tavernes in the north to Playa de Oliva in the south.  We grouped into 4 teams, each having a designated section of beach. Our particular area was from Marenys (just south of the port of Gandia) to Diamus.  We commenced at 0830hrs under very cloudy skies, although thankfully no wind. Sea conditions were choppy although certainly not severe. Much to subsequent amusement of our fellow birders, [read more]

An Afternoon at Albufera de Valencia

An Afternoon at Albufera de Valencia

As we had business to attend to in Valencia today, the opportunity to spend a couple of hours looking what was around Albufera couldn´t be missed. We started at the main hide, where we were greeted by a group of school children on a day trip! Although not the quiet environment that we expected, it has to be remembered that this is where the future of conservation lies. We soon attracted a small group of kids who were curious to see what the telescope was and soon had a small queue forming to watch the Flamingoes that were resting at [read more]

Bird Watching at Santa Pola & La Mata Alicante.

Bird Watching at Santa Pola & La Mata Alicante.

Bird Watching Alicante – Guided Bird Watching in Spain. Although a little further South than our usual haunts, as we had an appointment in Alicante in the morning, we decided to make the most of the day by taking a slight detour and spend the afternoon bird watching at Santa Pola and La Mata. The forecast for heavy rain thankfully proved to be pessimistic. Although we expected to be watching from the van, we were fortunate enough to be greeted with patchy cloud and sunny spells. We scanned the lagoons at Santa Pola first, where we enjoyed views of hundreds [read more]

Diary of Bird Life in the La Drova Valley

Diary of Bird Life in the La Drova Valley

Here is a brief summary of what goes on in “our valley”.  Together with fellow birder Ian, we regularly watch our patch and from now on will use this blog to post brief records of what happens.  Full species list can be seen on the specific post. January 25th Things are a little more lively this morning. The Meadow Pipit has become a regular garden visitor of late, as are a pair of Chiffchaffs.  It´s only 1015am and in the garden we´ve already had a pair of Blackcap, a family of Long Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Spotless Starlings, a Sardinian Warbler and a female [read more]

Species List for La Drova & Barx Valley

Species List for La Drova & Barx Valley

As a point of reference, general information and interest, here is the species list for the valley in which we are situated.  Species are listed alphabetically and include residents, summer visitors, winter visitors and birds seen occassionally or on passage. Alpine Swift, Barn Swallow, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Blue Rock Thrush, Blue Tit, Booted Eagle, Chaffinch, Cirl Bunting, Coal Tit, Common Chiffchaff, Common Cuckoo, Common Hoopoe, Common Kestrel, Common Magpie, Common Nightingale, Common Raven, Common Stonechat, Common Swift, Corn Bunting, Crested Tit, Dartford Warbler, Dunnock, Eurasian Blackbird, Eurasian Buzzard, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Crag Martin, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, [read more]

Valencian Rice Fields.

Valencian Rice Fields.

This morning, I spent a couple of hours wandering around one of my local patches which consists mainly of rice fields. When in flood the Valencian rice fields attract a variety of birds, including passing migrants, which make it an ideal area for bird watching in Spain.  The day got off to a good start – as soon as we got out of the car, a pair of pale form Booted Eagles passed over. They were relatively low so we enjoyed great views. They spent a while quartering the hillsides looking for prey before they drifted off into the distance, although [read more]

An October Morning in the Mountains.

An October Morning in the Mountains.

This year, October is proving to be a summer month! Each day has peaked at around 30 degrees so far. With that in mind, I ventured into one of my favourite mountain valleys in the province of Alicante to spend a couple of hours in the shade and to see what was around. The summer theme continued as the first bird that I saw upon leaving the car was a male Whinchat perched in a nearby bush. There were still quite a few Swallows passing by too. As I made my way into the gorge, I enjoyed close views of [read more]