Saturday, 20 August 2011

Birds: Catalunya 7th-19th August 2011

Long-time followers of my blog will know I have been on a family holiday to Rosas, Catalunya every year since 2006. This year was no different, but it could well have been our last year this year. As a result, I thought I would try something a little different and have my main focus being butterflies. Birds therefore took somewhat of a back seat in this trip so I don't really have too many exciting stories from this years holiday...I will do what I can however!
Millau Viaduct, France
We drove down this year meaning I could add a few different species onto the list. The drive down saw more Buzzards than you could ever wish to see! I would suggest that there were at least 100 Buzzards plus a male Montagu's Harrier, a Honey Buzzard and Osprey seen. A mile north of the incredible Millau Viaduct, I located a flock of 15 Griffon Vultures. We stopped the car and out of nowhere a jaw-droppingly massive bird appeared at close range in loose association with the Griffons and it turned out to be the only lifer of the trip for me which was Black Vulture. Incredible bird!
Cap de Creus.
Whilst on a butterfly photographic 'expedition' near to the area of Mas Ventos (on the road from Vilajuïga to San Pere de Rodes) I came across a family party of Woodchat Shrike. One of the juveniles landed on a bush only 15 feet away, providing some brilliant photographic opportunities.
A 2 hour seawatch from the Cap de Creus peninsular produced a flock of 8 Whimbrel flying south...and that was it! Not a hint of any of the 3 tubenose species. I was a little disappointed to be honest.
Aiguamolls de l'Emporda
2011 saw the wettest July for over 100 years in Catalonia. As a result, everywhere was greener than ever, and the rivers were full of water, but the pools at Aiguamolls were devoid of any water! Amazing! There is a flooded farmers field to the west of the road from Rosas to Empuriabrava which seemed to hold almost all of the water birds in the area. Here I had great views of Greater Flamingo, Spotted Redhshank (a new bird for Spain for me) as well as Black-tailed Godwit and and a cornucopia of Gulls and heron species.
I managed to witness two species of Woodpecker on this trip. One of which was Great Spotted Woodpecker, which is a new Spanish bird for me, as well as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which was heard from the reserve car park. This is almost the exact same site that I saw my first ever Lesser Spot there back on my first visit in 2006.
Melodious Warbler

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