Friday, May 13, 2016

Birding Spain - Final Day

With thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon Dee and I decided to spend our final day of this visit retracing our steps at Castelló d'Empúries. We'd really enjoyed the walk here on Tuesday and in particular watching the Rollers. The walk is a pleasant one with varied habitat, not too strenuous as its quite flat and has a hide halfway around for shelter in case the heavens open!

Marsh Harrier
We parked again at the three bridges to investigate and Purple Heron, Cattle Egret and Little Egret were noted, a distant Cuckoo and the Great Reed Warblers were still going well. Unlike our last visit in full sun today's weather was perfect for raptors, plenty of thermals and around 50% cloud cover. In fact it wasn't long before our first raptor drifted through, a Short-toed Eagle, which hovered for a while in the breeze. Next a Black Kite, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, which perched up for a while and then great views of an Eleanora's Falcon, which passed through at pace.

Roller - wonderful birds to watch!
After parking up we set off on the 3km circular route, the usual Nightingales and Corn Buntings a plenty! Under the olive groves two or three Crested Lark and a Serin was taking a bath in a large puddle. Like our last visit here Quail were heard but remained unseen. As we expected the heavens did indeed open but by this time we were in sight of the hide and sought refuge.

Spoonbill - One of three on the lagoon
Three Spoonbill were feeding on the lagoon, nine Bee-eaters were noisily passing by and a couple of Little-ringed Plover on the mud patches.

Roller - Better photo opportunities today!
As the rain subsided, with just a few rumbles of thunder we made our way back. Things were pretty lively after the rain, a second Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Hoopoe and then some great views of Roller, in fact four in the vicinity. A Stonechat kept a keen eye on us for a while and then a Rock Sparrow, which I didn't actually click at first until seeing an image on Dee's camera this evening.

Dee's Rock Sparrow - All the hallmarks fit!
Finally, a quick stop at a second lagoon on route home to register Greater Flamingo for the visit, before drawing an end to a really fantastic fortnight in NE Spain!