Valencia Birding - Guided Bird Watching in Spain http://valenciabirding.com Bird Watching in Valencia Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:15:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Bird Watching in Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/12/01/bird-watching-in-valencia-6/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/12/01/bird-watching-in-valencia-6/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:13:44 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3265

Last month I was privileged to be invited to speak at the First Congress on Nature Tourism in Valencia. The aim of the congress was to gather the various public and private sector entities that are involved in Nature Tourism in the Valencian Community and to share experiences as well as to discuss how we [read more]

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Last month I was privileged to be invited to speak at the First Congress on Nature Tourism in Valencia.

ConTuNa2

The aim of the congress was to gather the various public and private sector entities that are involved in Nature Tourism in the Valencian Community and to share experiences as well as to discuss how we can promote this fabulous area.

 

MapCVThe Valencian Community (Comumidad de Valencia) comprises 3 provinces – Castellon, Valencian and Alicante.  

It is relatively well known as a holiday destination but largely for the beaches of the Costa Blanca and the avant-garde city of Valencia.

 What relatively few people are aware of are the stunningly rich natural environments and bird life of the region.  

Many of my clients are truly amazed by habitat diversity, the vast wild spaces and the wildlife that thrives here.

 

 

The Valencian Community is home to no less than 21 Natural Parks.  These areas of special scientific interest and / or outstanding natural beauty are officially designated and protected by law and include some of Europe´s most important habitats.

One of Valencia´s many coastal wetland sites

One of Valencia´s many coastal wetland sites

They include mountains in excess of 1800 metres (5900 ft) above sea level, vast areas of rolling forested hills, deep river canyons, coastal wetlands, marshes and ancient forests.

The peak of Penygolosa (1813m)

The peak of Penyagolosa (1813m)

Clearly, such a diverse habitat range not only provides breeding or wintering grounds for a huge number of bird species, but the geographical location of the Valencian Community places it right on a major flyway for migrating birds in both the spring and autumn passages.

Sunset over Albufera de Valencia (P.Gudgeon)

Sunset over Albufera de Valencia (P.Gudgeon)

The current year-round list for the Valencian Community stands at around 400 species.

To detail the most important species is a difficult task, as quite simply, they´re all important!

However, during the past four years, I have listened to my clients and a trend has developed in terms of the species that they most enjoy whilst bird watching in Valencia.

 

Squacco Heron photographed near Valencia.  Image kindly provided by Stacey Bergman
Squacco Heron photographed near Valencia. Image kindly provided by Stacey Bergman

During spring and early summer, the coastal wetland areas provides vital breeding areas for species such as Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Purple Swamphen, Great Reed Warbler and Montagu´s Harrier.  Aquatic species include Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Purple Heron, Bittern, Little Bittern, Great Egret and the ever popular Greater Flamingo. 

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

The more mountainous areas provide nesting habitat for Eagles, including Short-Toed, Golden, Bonelli´s, Booted as well as species such as Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and Alpine Swift.

The forested hills and river valleys provide home to breeding populations of Golden Oriole, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Red Rumped Swallow, Melodious Warbler, Crested Tit, Dartford Warbler, Wryneck and another “favourite”, the Bee-Eater.

White Headed Duck

The region is equally important for wildfowl and depending on the season, we´re fortunate enough to watch White-Headed Duck, Red-Crested Pochard, Garganey, Pintail and Marbled Teal.

The upland “steppe” areas provide home to Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse Crested Lark and Calandra Lark.

Bluethroat

Bluethroat

In the winter months, not only do we see huge influxes of wildfowl to our wetland areas, but we´re especially fortunate to have wintering habitat for two very special birds that are always popular with clients…the Bluethroat and the Alpine Accentor.

 

All of this, combined with an extremely rich culture and history, superb gastronomy, and easy access to the region´s two airports (Valencia and Alicante) make the Valencian Community a fascinating birding destination.  Many of my clients enjoy the diversity of a city break in Valencia combined with a few days of guided birding in areas that are exceptionally close-by.

The historic quarter of the city of Valencia

The historic quarter of the city of Valencia

Others opt for a rural base, and enjoy the tranqulity, wild spaces and the culture and history of the region´s ancient villages.  Some of my clients understandably want to enjoy both, and as such we work together to design a bespoke twin-centre holiday that combines city, countryside and some fabulous birding days.

The high mountain village of Morella in Castellon Province

The high mountain village of Morella in Castellon Province

I hope that this article has been of interest, and has at least helped to raise awareness of what I believe to be one of Europe´s best birding destinations.  That we can combine such diverse habitat and birdlife with the cultural and historical riches of the region is of huge value to the visitor.   For more information, or to discuss the possibilities of designing a bespoke trip, please feel free to contact us.

David Warrington

Written by David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

 

 

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www.ValenciaBirding.com

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NatureTrailSpain@gmail.com

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(0034) 633 117 310

 

 

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Birding from Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/11/18/birding-from-valencia/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/11/18/birding-from-valencia/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:55:18 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3261

Mid October was a strange  time in Valencia this year.  It was as if autumn had not yet decided to show itself and summer was still well underway.  Some of our species that are “officially” summer visitors were still here, although today´s trip was blessed with great views of passage migrants. Valencia´s location, right on [read more]

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Mid October was a strange  time in Valencia this year.  It was as if autumn had not yet decided to show itself and summer was still well underway.  Some of our species that are “officially” summer visitors were still here, although today´s trip was blessed with great views of passage migrants.

Albufera de Valencia

Albufera de Valencia

Valencia´s location, right on the east coast flyway, coupled with its extensive wetlands make it a perfect spot for passage migrants to stop, feed and rest on their autumn voyage to the south.  Today was no exception, and we were privileged to have great views of an Osprey that has been enjoying a short stay in Valencia for the past week!

Ospreys often stop at Albufera de Valencia during their Spring and Autumn migration

Ospreys often stop at Albufera de Valencia during their Spring and Autumn migration

Today´s client Judy was a keen birder from the USA and was also enjoying a short stay in Valencia as part of a wider European trip.  She was keen to spend a day birding from Valencia, particularly to see some of the wetland species.  We began our day scanning the rice fields and canals of Albufera de Valencia, where we had views of Kingfisher, Snipe, Common Tern, Cattle Egret and Little Egret.

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

Swallows and House Martins were passing through in huge numbers, and interestingly, “our” Spotless Starlings had been joined by small flocks of visiting Common Starlings from the north.

We then moved on to one of the areas protected reserves where we had close views of Black-Winged Stilt, Fan-Tailed Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Shoveler and Skylark.

We made a brief stop to enjoy fabulous views of a flock of Glossy Ibis, and also saw Lesser Black Backed Gulls and yet more Cattle Egrets.

After a brief lunch stop we spent the afternoon walking around another coastal wetland area where we were treated to super views of Purple Swamphen, Marsh Harrier, Flamingo and Black Necked Grebe.

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen

Perhaps the visiting Osprey had been the highlight of the day but to spend the day with someone with such interest and passion for birding had indeed been a pleasure for me.

The day´s species list included :

Swallow, House Martin, Spotless Starling, Starling, Kingfisher, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Fan Tailed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Skylark, Shoveler, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, Purple Swamphen, Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Black Winged Stilt, Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Cormorant, Common Tern, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Kestrel.

David Warrington

 

Written by David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

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Upland birds of Spain http://valenciabirding.com/2014/10/17/upland-birds-of-spain/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/10/17/upland-birds-of-spain/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:41:11 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3256

Last week, I was very happy to welcome back a small group of returning clients from Scotland.  They had previously been on a guided birding trip with me when we explored the wetlands of Valencia, but this time they were keen to see the upland birds of Spain.  Therefore, the Steppe and Lagoons of Castilla [read more]

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Last week, I was very happy to welcome back a small group of returning clients from Scotland.  They had previously been on a guided birding trip with me when we explored the wetlands of Valencia, but this time they were keen to see the upland birds of Spain.  Therefore, the Steppe and Lagoons of Castilla de la Mancha seemed to be the ideal trip.

Having met at a convenient village in the rolling hills of inland Valencia, we continued the journey up onto the plains of Castilla de la Mancha (just over an hour´s drive from Valencia).

Steppe of Castilla de la Mancha

Steppe of Castilla de la Mancha

As we made our first stop to scan across the fields, we had good views of Crested Lark and Skylark.  A Buzzard was perched nearby then a Hoopoe made a brief appearance.

The first lagoon of the day provided a very interesting hour or so.  In amongst a flock of Lapwing on the shoreline, we spotted Ruff, Little Ringed Plover and a Redshank.  A small group of Flamingoes were feeding in the shallows, and flocks of Linnets were passing through the nearby pines.  As we scanned some ruined farm buildings, we had a good view of a Rock Sparrow.

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

After a coffee break in a small farming village, we made our way up onto the higher steppe.  We had good views of Red-Legged Partridge and a Southern Grey Shrike.  We also spotted a Little Owl sat atop a pile of rocks, before making its swopping flight into a tree.

We were hoping for Great Bustard but as yet we´d not found any.  Our next stop was another lagoon, this time giving views of Marsh Harrier and Black-Necked Grebe.

Iberian Grey Shrike

Southern Grey Shrike

The final leg of our journey was across some of the high plains and cereal fields.  Skylarks and Crested Larks were around in good numbers, and we also enjoyed views of a Green Woodpecker in a small stand of trees.  We were then we finally blessed with good and relatively close views of a group of Great Bustards.  It´s amazing how such a huge bird can blend into its surroundings.  We very quietly stopped the van before making ourselves inconspicuous to get some great views of these exceptionally noble creatures.

Great Bustards

Great Bustards

It was a fitting end to a very enjoyable day.  The species list for the trip included :

Magpie, Crow, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Linnet, Crested Lark, Skylark, Wheatear, House Martin, Swallow, White Wagtail, Spotless Starling, Green Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Buzzard, Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, Ruff, Greater Flamingo, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Black-Necked Grebe, Red-Legged Partridge, Mallard, Coot, Great Bustard.

 

David Warrington

Written by David Warrington

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

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2 Day Birding Trip in Spain http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/18/2-day-birding-trip-in-spain/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/18/2-day-birding-trip-in-spain/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:31:20 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3242

Last week I had the pleasure of providing a couple of days of guided bird watching for a client from UK.  He was staying close to the town of Xativa, a short drive from Valencia and had previously contacted me to arrange two specific trips. Day 1 His choice for the first of his 2 [read more]

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Last week I had the pleasure of providing a couple of days of guided bird watching for a client from UK.  He was staying close to the town of Xativa, a short drive from Valencia and had previously contacted me to arrange two specific trips.

Day 1

His choice for the first of his 2 day birding trip in Spain was a day on the high steppe and plains of Castilla de la Mancha.

A very keen and experienced birder, he was eager to see the species that this very special environment holds, especially the Great Bustard.  He was accompanied by his wife on our first day, also a knowledgable birder and nature lover.

After the obligatory morning coffee, we headed out across the plains and made our first stop to scan this vast area.  The first sighting was of a Hoopoe and a small flock of Crested Lark.  As yet…no Great Bustard!

The plains of Castilla de la Mancha

The plains of Castilla de la Mancha

We then travelled to one of my favourite lagoons of this area, and opted for a lengthy stay here as it´s a spot where patience is often rewarded.  Upon scanning the water, we enjoyed views of Black Necked Grebe, Teal, White Headed Duck and Greater Flamingo.  The shoreline held Ruff, Black Winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover and Little Stint, and also gave a brief view of Water Rail.

Black Necked Grebe

Black Necked Grebe

We then turned our attention to the tall pines on the edge of the lagoon and were rewarded with good views of a Melodious Warbler.  As we watched the mixed flocks of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts that were passing through on migration, we were fortunate to pick out a few Alpine Swifts.

After lunch we spent the afternoon on the high steppe.  The first thing to catch our attention was a sizeable flock of Lesser Kestrels that were slowly moving from pylon to pylon, and perching for enough time to give us some great views.  Whilst watching these graceful little falcons, we also had a view of an Iberian Grey Shrike.

Iberian Grey Shrike

Iberian Grey Shrike

As we moved higher onto the steppe, we stopped at another of my favoured spots where we were fortunate to see Stone Curlew and a Black Bellied Sandgrouse.

As our day drew to a close, we´d still not seen the day´s main target, the Great Bustard.  Despite taking a detour and scanning the steppe, still no luck.  However, we were satisfied with some great views of some superb species, so headed for home.

Then, just a couple of kilometres prior to joining the motorway something caught our attention.  We pulled off the road, took out the scopes and focussed in on a group of male Great Bustards!  What a magnificent end to a great day.  We celebrated with a coffee before making the journey back to Valencia.

Great Bustards

Great Bustards

 

Day 2

The choice of venue for the second day was Albufera de Valencia.  This wetland of significant importance is home to some of Valencia´s best nature reserves.  We were fortunate to spend the morning in one such reserve where the staff treated us to a very special visit.  First, we walked through the reserve, looking out over the reedbeds and lagoons which gave views of Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Great Crested Grebe and Gadwall.  We also had views of an Osprey on passage.

Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron

We were then accompanied to a highly protected area of the reserve where we had views of Marsh Harrier and a passing Honey Buzzard.  The reserve staff were manning a ringing station and had Reed Warbler and Bluethroat in the mist nets.  We had been told of a rarity that had been spotted that morning, a Citrine Wagtail.  After a few moments, a little patience and some good fortune gave us views of this delicately marked wagtail.

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

After lunch we made a brief visit to a spot that often gives good views of Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons, and Black Tailed Godwit.  Today was no exception.  These were also joined by Cattle Egret, Purple Heron and Common Sandpiper.  We ended the day at a small protected reserve where we enjoyed some great waders including Temminck´s Stint, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

It had been a pleasure to spend a couple of days with such an enthusiastic birder, and to provide something bespoke for him.

The species list for the two days included :

Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Marsh Harrier,Iberian Grey Shrike, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Swift, Alpine Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Magpie, Crow, Wood Pigeon, Kingfisher, Citrine Wagtail, Spotless Starling, Hoopoe, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Skylark, Melodious Warbler, House Sparrow, Stone Curlew, Black Bellied Sandgrouse, Great Bustard, Greater Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Temminck´s Stint, Water Rail, Glossy Ibis, Curlew Sandpiper,  Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, White Headed Duck, Shoveler, Cormorant, Audouin´s gull, Black Headed Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Gull Billed Tern, Common Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Tern

David Warrington

 

Written by David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

 

 

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Birds of Prey in Spain http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/18/birds-of-prey-in-spain/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/18/birds-of-prey-in-spain/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:54:53 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3222

Last week I was especially privileged to be invited to take part in a raptor release programme.  The day was organised by an animal recuperation centre based within Albufera de Valencia.  We are fortunate enough to enjoy a diverse range of birds of prey in Spain, owing to it´s geography, topography, habitat and eco-systems.  As [read more]

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Last week I was especially privileged to be invited to take part in a raptor release programme.  The day was organised by an animal recuperation centre based within Albufera de Valencia.  We are fortunate enough to enjoy a diverse range of birds of prey in Spain, owing to it´s geography, topography, habitat and eco-systems.  As well as the many breeding species here in Valencia, many raptors pass through our region whilst on migration.

Kestrels ready to be released

Kestrels ready to be released

The animal recuperation centre in Albufera does an incredible job of rescuing, treating and releasing hundreds of injured or sick birds each year and has a team of dedicated raptor specialists.  Today was in important day as there were a good number of fully recovered raptors that were ready for release.

To give them the best chance of survival, we drove into the inland of Valencia to an area of forested highlands, ideal for birds of prey to hunt, rest and regain their optimum fitness levels.

The moment of release for a fully recovered Kestrel

The moment of release for a fully recovered Kestrel

The first birds to be released were Kestrels, all of which had been taken to the centre having been found injured or having fallen from their nests as chicks.

I was fortunate enough to release one of the Kestrels

I was fortunate enough to release one of the Kestrels

Lurdes and I were fortunate enough to release a couple of these beautiful creatures ourselves.  It was a great feeling to see them take flight and rediscover their natural World.

A male Kestrel about to be released

A male Kestrel about to be released

The next species to be released was a mighty Eagle Owl.  This magnificent creature breeds in some of the mountainous regions of rural Valencia and is always a very special sight, but to see this animal at such close quarters is stunning.

The magnificent Eagle Owl

The magnificent Eagle Owl

Then it was the turn of one of my favourite Spanish raptors, the Booted Eagle.  This is a bird that we often see on our trips, and one that always delights.

A Booted Eagle about to be released

A Booted Eagle about to be released

The moment of release for the Booted Eagle

The moment of release for the Booted Eagle

Once these birds had taken flight, a Honey Buzzard was released.  This is a raptor that we often see on migration through Valencia, and we´d enjoyed good views of one just the previous week whilst with clients at Albufera.  The big yellow eyes are remarkable even when viewed through binoculars but now that we were right next to the bird, they were especially piercing.

Honey Buzzard

Honey Buzzard

Once the Honey Buzzard had soared out of sight, it was the turn of a Red Kite, followed by one of our most beautifully coloured birds of prey, the Short Toed Eagle.

Red Kite

Red Kite

We enjoy great views of these magnificent raptors each year in Valencia as they hunt for their preferred prey, snakes and larger lizards.

Short Toed Eagle

Short Toed Eagle

The day was brought to a close with the release of another Eagle Owl.  It´s huge orange eyes and “ear” tufts add to the visual impact of this iconic face.

Eagle Owl

The stunning face of the mighty Eagle Owl

To see these amazing creatures take flight and to take part in the day was an unforgetable experience.

A very special moment - the release of an Eagle Owl

A very special moment – the release of an Eagle Owl

David Warrington

 

Written by David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

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Wildlife and Bird Watching in Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/06/wildlife-and-bird-watching-in-valencia/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/09/06/wildlife-and-bird-watching-in-valencia/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 13:31:07 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3205

Last week I spent a wonderful day with two great clients from my native Yorkshire.  There were on a journey through France and Spain and wanted a day of guided wildlife and bird watching in Valencia.  Not only keen birders, they were also particularly interested in ecology and natural history in general.  I designed a [read more]

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Last week I spent a wonderful day with two great clients from my native Yorkshire.  There were on a journey through France and Spain and wanted a day of guided wildlife and bird watching in Valencia.  Not only keen birders, they were also particularly interested in ecology and natural history in general.  I designed a trip with this in mind, hoping to provide a bespoke day.

Guided birding in Valencia

After a short drive from their hotel in the city of Valencia, we stopped for a morning coffee  and discussed plans for the day, before heading to one of Albufera´s best nature reserves.  We walked through the reserve where we enjoyed views of Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Snipe, Little Bittern and Marsh Harrier.  The lagoons held Greater Flamingo, Great Egret, Purple Swamphen and Shoveler.

Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron

Upon scanning some nearby pylons, we were fortunate to see not only an Iberian Grey Shrike but also an Osprey.  This area is regularly used by Ospreys as a stopping-off and feeding point on their migration to and from their wintering grounds in Africa.

Black-Winged Stilt

Black-Winged Stilt

We were then treated to a fascinating presentation by the reserve staff, which focussed on the history and ecology of the area, and also gave an insight into the ongoing efforts to promote conservation and specifically to improve the water quality of the Albufera.  After the presentation, we were fortunate to watch the release of a young Garganey that had been rescued by the reserve staff the previous week and had been cared for at a local wildlife rescue centre.

Valencia Birding

We then enjoyed a picnic lunch by one of Albufera´s many canals before heading to the day´s final area.  A short drive through the rice fields took us to one of the park´s lesser known areas where we were treated to great views of Collared Pratincole, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black-Tailed Godwit and Audouin´s Gull.  We finished the day with a talk on the rice growing cycle and how that influences habitat for Albufera´s bird life before returning to the city of Valencia.

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

Glossy Ibis and Little Egret

The species list for the day included :

Black-Winged Stilt, Redshank, Ruff, Little-Ringed Plover, Black-Tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Collared Pratincole, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Greater Flamingo, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Garganey, Yellow-Legged Gull, Audouin´s Gull, Cormorant, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Whiskered Tern, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Kingfisher, Fan-Tailed Warbler, Kestrel, Iberian Grey Shrike, Marsh Harrier, Osprey.

David Warrington

Written by David Warrington

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.

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Valencia Birding Summer 2014 Bulletin http://valenciabirding.com/2014/08/01/valencia-birding-summer2014-bulletin/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/08/01/valencia-birding-summer2014-bulletin/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:56:42 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3200

It´s hard to believe that we´re already in August! The year so far has been a very busy one and once more, I feel privileged to say that I have met some super clients with whom I´ve shared some very special birding moments. As always, it´s especially gratifying when people make return visits, and the [read more]

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It´s hard to believe that we´re already in August! The year so far has been a very busy one and once more, I feel privileged to say that I have met some super clients with whom I´ve shared some very special birding moments.

As always, it´s especially gratifying when people make return visits, and the year has seen some returning clients who over time have become friends. This year I´ve also been fortunate enough to welcome many clients from beyond Europe, mainly from USA and Canada. More importantly, I´d like to thank everyone for their support and for choosing to spend some time with us. It´s been an absolute pleasure.

Guided bird watching in Valencia
TripAdvisor-iconSpecial thanks to all those who have taken the time to leave reviews of your trips with us. Thanks to you, Valencia Birding is now officially “recommended” on Trip Advisor. You can see more here

As for the birding highlights, these can differ greatly depending on the clients´wishes, and target species. For Northern European clients, species such as Collared Pratincole, Great Bustard, Bee Eater and Booted Eagle are often favourites. For clients from outside of Europe, most of our Mediterranean species are usually “new” so the trips are packed with “lifers”.

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

For me personally, perhaps the highlights have been the “positives” that I´ve seen during the year. This includes increased sightings of endangered species such as White Headed Duck and Purple Swamphen but also new evidence of breeding birds at a couple of my favourite reserves, including Bearded Reedling and Montagu´s Harrier.

Another interesting development is a project that I´m involved with in collaboration with local government to actually promote Valencia as a birding destination. I am proud to say that I now live in this amazing city, and it´s hard to think of a more fascinating destination that has such rich and diverse bird life on it door-step.

Valencia´s Medieval Quarter

Valencia´s Medieval Quarter

For clients who wish to combine a city break with some birding, this city has everything…an enchanting historical quarter, rich culture, superb food, stunning modern architecture and even a beach! For those who are looking for a more rural base in which to stay, Valencia has some stunning Natural Parks within less than one hour drive from the city centre.

Sunset over Albufera de Valencia (P.Gudgeon)

Sunset over Albufera de Valencia (P.Gudgeon)

The birding venues include some of the most important coastal wetlands in the entire Mediterranean, forested mountains, and within an easy drive, the upland steppe and lagoons. These sites provide habitat for an amazingly diverse range of species including countless aquatic birds such as Squacco Heron, Little Bittern and Spoonbill.

Squacco Heron photographed near Valencia.  Image kindly provided by Stacey Bergman

Squacco Heron photographed near Valencia. Image kindly provided by Stacey Bergman

Birds of prey include Booted, Short-Toed and Golden Eagle. Bee-Eater, Flamingo and Hoopoe always win the prize for the most colourful species and always delight. Upland species include Great Bustard, Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark and Griffon Vulture.

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle

Whether it´s a single day-trip or a break that includes accommodation and a few days of birding, we´re always happy to arrange something bespoke. Our philosophy of never mixing groups always ensures that our clients can enjoy an extremely high level of service and flexibility.
Looking ahead to the autumn and winter season, all of our venues offer something special, and the cheaper off-peak flights make Valencia an excellent destination.  For more details, please feel free to contact us.  I do hope to hear from you soon.

David Warrington

David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

 

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Birding from the city of Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/07/08/birding-from-the-city-of-valencia/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/07/08/birding-from-the-city-of-valencia/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:42:21 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3193

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending a day with a great couple from North Carolina.  They were visiting Spain with friends and had previosuly contacted us to arrange a day of guided birding from the city of Valencia. Having met them in the beautiful historic quarter of Valencia, we made the short journey [read more]

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Last week, I had the pleasure of spending a day with a great couple from North Carolina.  They were visiting Spain with friends and had previosuly contacted us to arrange a day of guided birding from the city of Valencia.

Valencia´s Coastal Wetlands

Valencia´s Coastal Wetlands

Having met them in the beautiful historic quarter of Valencia, we made the short journey to a local coastal wetland reserve where we began the day with a coffee and a chat about our trip and the species that we were hoping to see.

The first coastal lagoons held Pochard, Little Grebe and Coot, whilst the surrounding reed beds gave views of Fan-Tailed Warbler, Reed Warbler and Little Egret.

After a short walk along the coast, we were fortunate enough to enjoy great views of Collared Pratincole, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Purple Heron and Little Ringed Plover.

Black Winged Stilt & Avocet

Black Winged Stilt & Avocet

We began our walk through more reed beds and past another couple of lagoons where we stopped for a picnic lunch.  This section of the walk gave us views of Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Bee Eater and Iberian Grey Shrike.

Bee-Eater

Bee-Eater

We were also treated to two superb raptors ; a Booted Eagle and a pair of Montagu´s Harrier.

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle

Our walk ended with a stop at a beautiful reed-fringed lake where we had quality views of Spoonbill, Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern and Hoopoe.

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen

Having packed away the birding gear into the van, we finished the day with a cold beer at a bar, looking out over the Mediterranean, before making the short journey back to the city of Valencia.

Our species list for the day included :

Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Mallard, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Little Ringed Plover, Collared Pratincole, Greater Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Bittern, Spoonbill, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black Headed Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Reed Warbler, Fan-Tailed Warbler, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Bee Eater, Magpie, Hoopoe, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, Iberian Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Montagu´s Harrier, Booted Eagle.

David Warrington

Written by David Warrington.

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

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Nature and Cultural Tourism in Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/06/24/nature-and-cultural-tourism-in-valencia/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/06/24/nature-and-cultural-tourism-in-valencia/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:54:26 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3179

Last week I had the pleasure of providing a trip for a group of local birders. We were joined by a guest from Canada who was spending some time in Valencia as a volunteer, working on various environmental and conservation projects.  One of our key priorities is always to gear our trips to the wishes [read more]

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Last week I had the pleasure of providing a trip for a group of local birders. We were joined by a guest from Canada who was spending some time in Valencia as a volunteer, working on various environmental and conservation projects.  One of our key priorities is always to gear our trips to the wishes and needs of the client. As this was her first visit to our region of Spain, we modified the trip to provide a blend of nature and cultural tourism in Valencia.

We began the day with a walk along the coast not far from the city of Valencia, and soon had our first views of Whiskered Tern and Little Tern. As we made our way through the reedbeds we enjoyed the song of Cetti´s Warbler, and had good views of Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler, Fan-Tailed Warbler and Yellow Wagtail.

 

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

We then visited one of the area´s most interesting centres, essentially a beautifully restored country house that was once run by monks from a local monestary. Although a monument in its own right, it also serves as a centre for environmental education and has some fascinating displays.

 

Display of green energy devices including a solar cooker

Display of green energy devices including a solar cooker

The staff gave us an extremely interesting guided tour of the site, which ended with a presentation on the painstakingly restored Valencian country kitchen with its array of traditional artifacts and original features.

Traditional Valencian country kitchen

Traditional Valencian country kitchen

There followed a walk around the market garden to see the organic vegetables that were being grown there, and to see the beautiful ornamental trees that are planted around the perimeter of the site.

Bachychiton acerifolius

Bachychiton acerifolius

Having said our goodbyes to the centre staff, we took a short walk through the reserve and enjoyed a picnic lunch during which we were treated to a spectacular sight of not only a pair of Montagu´s Harriers but a Short Toed Eagle! We watched these magnificent raptors for over 15 minutes, an absolutely fabulous experience for us all.

Guided bird watching in Valencia

Our next stop was at a coastal lagoon that was home to a mixed colony of nesting Common Terns, Whiskered Terns, Little Terns, Collared Pratincoles and Black Winged Stilts. We enjoyed some great views of all these species with their chicks plus Little Ringed Plover, Glossy ibis, Audouin´s Gull and Avocet.

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

The day´s final viewing point was another lagoon, this time surrounded by reed beds. This gave a very special end to a great day with views of White Headed Duck, Purple Swamphen, Flamingo, Night Heron, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron and Bee Eater.

We brought the trip to a close with a cool beer at the beach before making the short journey back to Valencia.

Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover

The species list for the day included :

Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Turtle Dove, Wood Pigeon, Fan Tailed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Reed Warbler, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Yellow Wagtail, Magpie, Spotless Starling, Bee Eater, Montagu´s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Short Toed Eagle, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Collared Pratincole, Common Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Tern, Yellow Legged Gull, Audouin´s Gull, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Little Bittern, Coot, Moorhen, Avocet, Black Winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Little Grebe, Purple Swamphen, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Mallard, White Headed Duck.

David Warrington

 

Written by David Warrington

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

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Bird watching in Valencia http://valenciabirding.com/2014/06/02/bird-watching-in-valencia-5/ http://valenciabirding.com/2014/06/02/bird-watching-in-valencia-5/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:54:44 +0000 http://valenciabirding.com/?p=3101

Last week I provided a two day guided birding trip for a couple of great clients from Canada.  They were touring Spain and had previously arranged some guided bird watching in Valencia with us. Day one was a trip to the steppe and lagoons.  Having collected them from their hostal in the city of Valencia [read more]

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Last week I provided a two day guided birding trip for a couple of great clients from Canada.  They were touring Spain and had previously arranged some guided bird watching in Valencia with us.

On the steppe

Day one was a trip to the steppe and lagoons.  Having collected them from their hostal in the city of Valencia we made the short journey inland.  After a morning coffee we ventured out across the plains in search of one of their target species, the Great Bustard.  Our first stop did not reveal any bustards but the day did begin superbly with great views of a Great Spotted Cuckoo.  As we were watching  this, we enjoyed the song of nearby Skylarks and also had a great view of a Crested Lark and Corn Bunting.

Classic steppe scenery

Classic steppe scenery

The first lagoon of the day gave views of Sandwich Tern, Greater Flamingo, Black-Winged Stilt and Little Ringed Plover.    We moved on to the day’s next lagoon where we enjoyed views of Shelduck, Avocet, Gadwall and Reed Warbler.  Then one of the day’s highlights, the extremely rare White Headed Duck.  We also had views of Marsh Harrier and Black-Necked Grebe.  As we were about to leave, we were treated to views of Bee-Eater and Woodchat Shrike, both perched on the same fence!

Flamingoes in flight

Flamingoes in flight

We then made our way onto the higher steppe in search of some of the classic species of the area.  Our patience was eventually rewarded with views of not only Great Bustard but Stone Curlew, Black-Bellied Sandgrouse and some of the best views of Calandra Lark that I’ve had this year.  A spot of luck also gave us a view of a Little Owl as he flew across the front of the van and settled on a pile of rocks close by.

Great Bustard

Great Bustard

The day ended with a visit to another lagoon where we watched Lapwing, Buzzard, Kentish Plover and Hoopoe before making the return journey to the city of Valencia.

Day two was a trip to the Valencian Coastal Wetlands.  After a very short trip from the city of Valencia we began our walk along the beach and dunes.  One of the first sightings was a beautfully elegant Purple Heron, followed by a Squacco Heron and Spoonbill.   Fan-Tailed Warbler was soon joined by Great Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler.  The first of the day’s coastal lagoons gave excellent views of Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Ringed Plover and Yellow Wagtail.

Little Egret

Little Egret

We then headed inland through reedbeds where we had great views of Marsh Harrier until we arrived at another lagoon where we stopped for lunch.  As we relaxed in the Spring sunshine we were treated to views of Purple Swamphen, Little Grebe, Red Crested Pochard and a magnificent Short Toed Eagle.

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

Our walk then took us through an area of pastureland where we saw Stonechat, Whinchat, Hoopoe, and Bee-Eater.

The day ended at a superb lagoon where we were fortunate enough to add to our list some excellent sightings, including Little Bittern, Night Heron, Great Egret and Glossy Ibis.

Little Bittern

Little Bittern

Many of the species were “lifers” for my clients, which made these couple of days of bird watching in Valencia even more special.  We’d had a great couple of days with some superb species, diverse habitat, quality views and fun company.

The species list for the two days included…

Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Little Bittern, Spoonbill, Redshank, Greater Flamingo, Collared Pratincole, Black-Winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, Lapwing, Great Bustard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-Necked Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Mallard, Shelduck, Gadwall, Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, White-Headed Duck, Shoveler, Yellow-Legged Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Whiskered Tern, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Short-Toed Eagle, Buzzard, Little Owl, Woodchat Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting, Skylark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Crow, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Wood Pigeon, Hoopoe, Bee-Eater, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Whinchat, Stonechat, Fan-Tailed Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin

David Warrington

 

Written by David Warrington

Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding

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