The Swiss account, the banks of the Ebro

It was a windy day on the Ebro valley plains for me and the Liberty Bird group from Switzerland. Looking for Dupont’s Larks was going to be hard work, luckily we had taken out our own insurance policy and were staying two nights at our hotel in nearby Lécera.

All told we had some pretty good birding. The highlights of one day and one morning’s birding in the plains were: Dupont’s Lark (seen on the second morning), Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Black Wheatear, Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Montagu’s Harrier, Melodious Warbler, Wryneck, Tawny Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear and Lesser Kestrel.

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel. Photo by Beat Rüegger

Next stop: the steppes between Candasnos and Ontiñena. Here our main birds were Black-necked Grebe, Red-crested Pochard, Booted Eagle, Little Bustard, Spectacled Warbler and Thekla Lark.

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle. Photo by Beat Rüegger.

Then wonderful sunny weather in the Pyrenees just had to be shared with some special birds too. Lammergeier, Citril Finch, Alpine Chough, Honey Buzzard, Alpine Swift, Wryneck, Water Pipit and Bonelli’s Warbler are the birds that didn’t let us down in the mountains.

Bonelli’s Warbler

Western Bonelli’s Warbler. Photo by Beat Rüegger.

The next couple of days were spent in the plains and Pre-Pyrenees not far from my home town, Lleida. Everybody will remember the Ortolan Bunting, and I’m sure most will recall Rock Sparrow, Orphean Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush and the Sardinian Warbler. Sadly, I was the only one to see the female Rock Thrush at Mont-roig.

Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting. Photo by Beat Rüegger.

Oh yes! I should have mentioned the Bonelli’s Eagles, Little Bustards, Little Owls, Rollers, Stone Curlews and Bearded Tits. How forgetful I am at times. 

The Ebro Delta held up well to our scrutiny too. One of the rarer birds we saw was a handsome summer-plumaged Marsh Sandpiper, but there were a lot more waders to choose from. An assortment of little avian delights also included Temminck’s Stint, Little Bittern, Collared Pratincole and Mediterranean Gull. I am not going to write a long and rather tedious list of Ebro Delta bird names, so it should be enough to say we saw just about everything you could expect to see in the Ebro Delta in early May. 

See more of Beat Rüeggers photos from his Spanish and other bird tours on his website:


Collared Pratincole.

Collared Pratincole. Photo by Beat Rüegger.

The whole trip ended with a list of 210 bird species in all – very good, but try saying them all in Swiss German!

Poppy fields

Poppy fields in Spain

Birding is brill. Especially in the spring in northeast Spain.  But not all is birds, or so they tell me.

What else is there? Well, you could just pop in this part of Spain to see the spectacular poppy fields all over the lowlands this spring. Although don’t delay for too long, as they’re already on their way out.

Poppy fields

Photos by Gerd Herren

Just in case you can’t make it I would like to share a couple of images of the poppy-strewn drylands of Balaguer with you all. Photos taken by my friend Gerd Herren who visited us with his wife Verónica earlier this month. Enjoy!