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!

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