Red-rumped Swallow: new species for hotspot list

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica silhouette

Early on Saturday morning (15th August) while out picking Blackberries with the family (they ripen earlier here than in the UK) a familiar call made me look up and spot 2 Red-rumped Swallows near Alòs de Balaguer. A pretty unusual sighting and a new one for my rather neglected Hotspot list, now standing at 196 species since the beginning of the year.

Hotspot zone

The hotspot 

But that’s not all: we had a pleasant paddle and then strolled in search of a picnic site – somewhere cool and shady, as temperatures were raging close to 40ºC. Well, I was more than a little surprised to see a Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus fluttering around a roadside verge. Only the second time I’ve seen the species, and less than a month after my first observation in the Ebro delta! 

It just goes to show that you should never leave your binoculars at home, even if you’re only going blackberry picking with the family. 

 The Red-rumped Swallow in northeast Spain

 Red-rumped Swallow   Hirundo daurica

The Red-rumped Swallow is a summer visitor to northeast Spain from mid-March to October. Scarce and localised as a breeding bird, it is a regular but uncommon migrant at coastal locations. In recent years it has undergone a range expansion in the region, with breeding proven or suspected in Montsec, Sierra de Guara and the Lleida drylands.

Birding itineraries where you can observe the Red-rumped Swallow:

Cap de Creus, Aiguamölls of Empordà, Montgrí massif, Prades and Montsant ranges, River Ebro, Drylands of Lleida.

Red-rumped Swallow distribution map

Distribution map of Red-rumped Swallow in northeast Spain. We’ll have to fill in a few more green blobs.

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