Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Catalonia, Part 2 - Ebro Delta, Mindblown!

When I go on a family holiday I normally get one day to go all-out birding. In Sevilla 2016 our trip to Doñana National Park was a disaster, so this time I put in more research and time before the trip so I could find a could place to go birding. The place that I found I couldn't miss out on. The Delta del Ebre/Ebro Delta was a region of 320km2 in the area South of Tarragona and Barcelona. It consists of numerous habitats; coastal habitats, marshes, rice paddyfields, irrigation canals, sandy beaches - it had it all. So we arrived at around 11am, and just the drive to the information centre in Deltebre was exciting. After getting some info at the visitor centre in the town Deltebre, we decided to start by travelling to the northern part of the region at around 12am. 
Little Stint and LRP

Driving there got my first lifers - Glossy Ibis and Squacco Heron, as well as many Whiskered Terns which were stunning to watch hunting the paddyfields. Eventually we reached the coast after several stops, where we parked up on a bank to try and find some good birds. First a group of waders were feeding, inc. groups of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpipers, Greenshank and 5 Little Stint (lifers.) Slender-Billed Gulls were present with the Audouins Gulls, as well as the many YLGs and LBBGs. A few Grey and Purple Heron were skulking around with numerous Little Egret, and several Squacco Heron flew over. Zitting Cisticola (aka Fan-tailed Warbler) zipped about calling. 2 Little Bittern also flew by and the final lifers along this part of the coastline were several Little Tern and a distant, brief view of a Purple Swamphen - Western Palearctic lifer. 

After stopping at a small hide for lunch along the way to the SE spit on the delta, where we had some Stilts, an ad Common Sandpiper and a few other bits and pieces, we stopped at the beach for a while to see what was there before starting to go back to Sitges. We had some good views of Kentish Plover and Turnstone, another snoozy Ruff, Greenshank, more waders as well as several gull sp. including 2cy Med Gull, SB Gull and more Audouin's. Some odd waders gave me a run-around before revealing themselves as just Greenshank. There were plenty of Sarnie Terns (funnily enough world lifer) also around too. 

We started to drive back with my family becoming weary in the 39C heat but didn't get very far as we were stopped at a viewing platform; from here we had better views of some birds like Greater Flamingo, Crested Lark, Spectacled Warbler, more waders, gulls, Little and Arctic Tern, egrets and way more. The final lifer was a flyby ad Gull-billed Tern My sister looked a bit worse for wear in the heat so we had to leave, but it was one of the best days of birding in Europe, with an astounding 91 species seen (not photographed.) It was easy to say that one day I'll come back to spend more than one day here - we only really scratched the surface of the reserve. Mindblown!

The final bird of the day was while having dinner in Tarragona - a juv Sardinian Warbler. 
dragonfly sp.
Greenshank and Little Stint

4 different sp. of bird
Little Stint

ad summer Curlew Sandpipers


White Wagtail

Glossy Ibis - 2 of about 50 all day

Black-winged Stilt
Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron - given up its camo

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Terns

small part of the Delta

Black-winged Stilts

Common Sandpiper

Slender Billed Gull

ad Mediterranean Gull

Ruddy Turnstone 
Kentish Plover

ill looking Ruff?

Greater Flamingo

gulls and a sandpiper

Audouin's Gull

Curlew, Mute Swan and Aud

Purple Heron - also gave up on camo

Greater Flamingo

Purple Heron

2 lifers - Little Tern adn SBG

Little Bittern

Purple Heron

Squacco Heron

2cy Med Gull and Aud

Audouin's Gull

Kentish Plover

Sarnie Tern with catch


Common Tern

top views of Crested Lark!

Gull-billed Tern

Sardinian Warbler
Apologies for rushed post, mock exams next week - thanks for reading! :)

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