BirdingInSpain wish you all a Merry Christmas

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Swiss birders in Spain

Elisabeth and Mathias Danuser are a couple from Switzerland who came birding in northeast Spain with Beat Ruegger in April 2008. In fact they have been with me on 3 trips now: twice to Spain and once to Scotland.

They sent me the following photos of their last trip, which started in the Ebro Delta, passed through the steppes and ended in the high Pyrenees. The photos are theirs, the comments mine.

 Slender-billed Gull

Slender-billed Gull in one of the bays in the Ebro Delta. One of the special gulls of the region. Was this after or before we spotted the Baillon’s Crake?

Black-winged Stilts

Black-winged Stilts at the Estany d’Ivars near Lleida. We were lucky that day, as we managed to catch up with the Red-necked Phalarope at the same site the last day it was there.

Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture

This Lammergeier came in for a closer look! We were up near Ordesa National Park and we didn’t know whether it was going to rain or snow. The sight of a dozen or so Lammergeiers against the spectacular backdrop of the Ordesa mountains was one of the last in a line of memorable experiences on this trip. 

Snow, shearwaters and stunning bluethroats

This is part of the description of Neal Warnock’s last few days birding in northeast Spain. I hope he took back some fond memories, because the trip started disastrously for him: all his possessions and money (except his optics) were stolen from his hire car in the Ebro Delta. Then he had to contend with fog, snow and strong winds.

Heavy snow overnight meant that only up to km14 of the road to Coll de Pal was passable.  This meant no lammergeier, citril finch or snowfinch.  But I did manage to see nuthatch and short-toed treecreeper in the lower pine forests.  From the lookout at km11 I saw 1 griffon vulture, and 3 alpine accentor and a few alpine chough.  I managed to walk up to the crossbill sign area (in the snow!) and got great views of crested tit.

The next day at Cap de Creus a strong NE wind brought large numbers of balearic shearwaters close to shore.  I managed to pick out 2 Yelkouan amongst them and then managed excellent scope views of a bird sitting in the water in the cove to the south of the headland.

 Stunning male Bluethroat

Male Bluethroat. Photo by Neal Warnock.

On my last day at Llobregat, the surprise bird of the trip I had mentioned turned up in the form of a juv goshawk over the main lagoon.  And finally, on my way towards another hide a stunning male bluethroat appeared (see photo) from nowhere.

Thanks for sharing the photo with us all Neal. And for not giving up on Spain after your unpleasant surprise!

Where in Spain are these birds? Or, “Yes, we Pelican!”

I’ve just come back from a spot of birding and of course I’ve seen a few birds.

So I thought we’d play a little birding guessing game: I tell you the birds I saw at a certain site, and you tell me where I was. The earlier you guess, the more points you get. OK?


Here goes with the first clue (5 points):

1) 100’s of Black-headed Gulls, about 20 Yellow-legged Gulls and one or two Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

– Er, the Ebro Delta?

No. Next clue (4 points):

2) About 20 Grey Herons and 1,000 or so Cattle Egrets.

– Still sounds like the Ebro Delta. What about the Llobregat Delta?

No! You’d never see that many Cattle Egrets in the Llobregat Delta. Well, I never have anyway.  Next clue for 3 points:

3) A Griffon Vulture, 12 Red Kites, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard.

– Somewhere inland near Lleida I expect. But don’t ask me where.

OK. You’re getting close, but I’m sure you can be a bit more specific than that. Next clue (2 points):

4) About 350 White Storks and a White Pelican.

– 350 storks! Are you pulling my leg?! I thought White Storks were supposed to migrate to Africa in the winter. And a White Pelican! Wait a minute, this sounds familiar… storks, gulls, egrets and a vagrant/escaped Pelican. Wouldn’t be a rubbish tip would it?

Correct! Well done! Indeed, the Lleida landfill site. The Pelican’s been knocking around with the White Storks for more than a month now. The Griffon Vulture was a surprise though.

Spanish translations for the Wild Wonders of Europe blog have reached an agreement with the good people of the Wild Wonders of Europe project to translate some of the blog articles into Spanish. In fact we’ve already started with the translation of Magnus Elander’s recent blog entries on his visit to Spain to photograph the Lammergeier and the Griffon Vulture.


Photo by Magnus Elander

Magnus and his assistant Stefan came in early November and spent 3 days in the hide photographing Lammergeiers at Boumort before moving on to Ordesa for a week to continue the task in different surroundings. His blog entries outline the places he went to and the people he met in Spain, and also give us a sneak preview to some of his excellent work.

Magnus Elander

We won’t be translating every blog entry, as there are more than 50 photographers involved in the Wild Wonders project! But there will certainly be more translations of some exciting blog entries in the near future. It is rumoured that we have a soft spot for polar bears!

Viaje ornitológico a Bulgaria

Viaje ornitológico a Bulgaria para disfrutar, y también ayudar en la conservación del águila imperial oriental Aquila heliaca

Entre el 20 y 30 de mayo del 2009 podrías estar observando aves en Bulgaria, un país qua ha emergido en la última década como destino ornitológico de primero orden. En la compañía de uno de los mejores guías de Bulgaria y Steve West pasaremos 10 días disfrutando de montañas, cabos, humedales, bosques y una insospechada cantidad de aves muy interesantes. También estaremos contribuyendo directamente a la conservación del águila imperial oriental en Bulgaria.

Baja el pdf para ver todos los detalles y después contacta con Steve West :

Balearic Shearwater in Spain: did you know?

Did you know?

The Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus is a species endemic to the Balearic Islands?

The Balearic Shearwater was regularly captured for human consumption until the late 1970’s? And that an estimated 2,400 to 2,700 Balearic Shearwaters were caught annually on Formentera alone? 

Predation by cats or genets is one of the main problems faced by the species, and is the reason why this shearwater disappeared from the interior of Cabrera?

There are only an estimated 2,000 pairs of Balearic Shearwater in the world, and that at the current rate of regression the species is likely to become extinct in about 40 years? 

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus

The photo of this Balearic Shearwater is by my friend Eva Solanes. To see more follow this link to Eva’s photo website.

After breeding on the Balearic Islands the Balearic Shearwater spends the summer in the Bay of Biscay? 

Much of the world population of this bird regularly winters along the coast of Catalonia?  

More information on the Balearic Shearwater, especially about where and when to see it in northeast Spain, can be seen on page 37 of “Where the birds are in northeast Spain”.

These itineraries from the main site offer good chances of observing Balearic Shearwater at the right time of the year:

Ebro Delta South 

Llobregat Delta and Garraf

Cap de Creus Natural park

And get everything right if planning a visit to the region – check out the recommended accommodation in the area where you plan to be. It’s recommended because it’s the best for birders, birdwatchers, nature lovers, families….