Saturday 22 October 2011

Delta de l'Ebre - day 1

After sleeping (or at least trying to) in my tent next to the airport in Barcelona I packed up and went to pick up the car rental. First thing I did was try and withdraw cash from the ATM. The machine said "withdrawal successful" but nothing was coming out... that's when I started getting a little stressed. Then I went to pick up the car and the woman at the desk says "Oh! You're only 21? You need to be 23 to rent a car here!"...
"B..b..but I have rented a car with you before in Norway and when I reserved the car I said I was 21.... why didn't you tell me before!?"....
"Hmmm... sorry... that's all I can do... You're not allowed to rent a car in Spain if you're 21"...

At this point in time I was seriously considering trying to find the next available flight back to Denmark. But for whatever reason I tried the neighbouring car rental company and had no problem at all!

So the trip was a go. And thankfully so...
After making the drive to the Ebro Delta (Delta de l'Ebre in Spanish) I was shocked to see hundreds of Egrets in the fields within seconds (literally) of passing the "Bienvida a Delta de l'Ebre" sign. I didn't expect it to be this good.

That photo doesn't quite do it justice... but still impressive compared with Denmark or Canada!

White Wagtails were rather common amongst the Egrets and Black-headed Gulls:

But I couldn't find any waders around...

My first planned stop was to see the Flamingoes. I didn't give them as much attention as they deserved - they were rather distant and in my drive to see new birds and decent photos I moved on.

Well, I did sit around for a while and was surprised when this Common Kingfisher landed very near by. It only noticed me as I tried to reposition myself for a better photo and managed this fluke shot of it in-flight:

So I went to the beach with hopes of new Gulls and Waders.

This Black Redstart was feeding nearby:

I did find what I was looking for!
Slender-billed Gull:

Audouin's Gull (how do you pronounce that!?):

and Mediterranean Gull (posted a photo yesterday). These were all seen along the sandbar towards the salt pans.

The only Waders I could find were 1 Dunlin amongst several Sanderlings:

I pitched my tent near a marsh so that I could start the next day in a new habitat with hopefully new birds! I woke up at 3 am to a Spotted Redshank flying around my tent obnoxiously calling and the pungent smell of sewage... turns out that I was also sleeping near their sewage outlet. I suppose it's natural for birders to turn up at sewage outlets!

More to come...