Tuesday, 18 October 2011

España

I'm in Spain for the week on a birding trip. This is an auto-post (a pre-written blog entry) about what I expect to see and where I will be going:

Before coming to Denmark I was considering a trip to Madeira in pursuit of Zino's Petrel - among many other endemic species to the North Atlantic Island. But after a bit of research it became clear that there was no guarantee to see them in October - so I decided to save that trip for another time.
And perhaps by the time I actually do go someone will have figured out how to identify the bird!

That decision left me with a blank week in my schedule in mid-October. There were many choices for where to go - the four that stood out most were:
The Bosphorus in Turkey
Malta
Northern Scandinavia in search of Arctic owls, Gyrfalcon etc
Someplace else along the Mediterranean

It was a pretty cold week in Denmark when this dilemma came about - and the heater in my house wasn't working. So I was eager to go somewhere warm with long days. Eventually Southern Spain became the new desired destination. Donana National Park stood out as "the most important wetland in Europe and one of the best places for birds in the Palearctic". Once I decided to go there flights were already quite expensive so I decided to scale it back a little and head for the North Eastern coast of Spain. Barcelona area!

Conveniently there is a very good (I hope) wetland just outside of the city - hosting waders and shorebirds, Gulls and Terns and several rare passerines.
And then the Pyrenees aren't too far either giving me the chance to search for several new species of raptors and mountain birds.
And along the way to the mountains there are the Lleide Steppes - a dryland where I should be able to find several species exclusive to that habitat.

So, needless to say this is promising to be an exciting trip. I leave on Sunday and will have 4 full days of birding, exploring and meeting locals.

Here's a sampler of the species I hope to see in each habitat.

Ebro Delta (wetland next to the ocean):
Greater Flamingo
3 species of Shearwater!
Squacco Heron
Bonelli's Eagle (nearby)
Slender-billed Gull
Audouin's Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Thekla Lark (nearby)


Spanish Pyrenees:
Lammergeier
Black Vulture
Wallcreeper (very unlikely)
Milky Way!

Lleide Steppes (plains):
Black-shouldered Kite
Iberian Grey Shrike

So, lots of new stuff and almost-endemic species as well. Hopefully next week I'll be able to repeat this post word for word - but in the past tense!

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