Monday, 22 April 2013

Over the Border in Spain

We decided to get up early and go to the Aiguamolls de l'Emporda Natural Park which is a regular habit of ours.  It only takes about two hours to be birding there.  Leaving Cesseras we noticed 6 Common Swifts flying over which were the vanguard of hundreds seen during the day. On arrival at the Park we hurried to the first hide where several Whiskered Terns were hunting and a Great White Egret stood out among the many Little Egrets,  There seemed to be a lot of infant school groups around so we gave up our seats to them and moved on.  The second hide produced about 40 Greenshanks, 20 Pallid Swifts, many Black-winged Stilts about 30 Greater Flamingos and the biggest shock of the day.  There asleep on a a small island was an Egyptian Goose the first of this species I have seen in Europe outside the UK and the Netherlands.  This feral species is getting everywhere.

The Egyptian Goose asleep
We walked on with a deafening chorus of Nightingales and Cetti's Warblers.  Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins were passing south in large numbers as where Common Swifts but we did also pick out 4 Alpine Swifts overhead as well.  We soon arrived at the area of wet meadows and here picked up a couple of Bee-eaters passing south as well as 2 Black Kites and 4 Marsh Harriers.  The meadows held at least 60 Black-winged Stilts and 12 Wood Sandpipers.  The wetter areas had two fine male Garganey feeding in the shallows.

Male Garganey
Walking back past wetlands we could hear Great Reed and Reed Warbler and single Collared Pratincole and Squacco Heron flew over.  We had a snack in the car park and afterwards I revisited the first hide by the HQ.  It was quiet now.  A Marsh Harrier put up all the birds and I could add Shovelers, 2 male Wigeon, 6 more  Garganey and 20 Black-tailed Godwits to the day list.  Also a large group of Fallow Deer were now grazing by the water's edge.

Part of the group of Fallow Deer
We then moved on to another area of the Park north of the town of the town of Castello d'Empuries.  Stopping by one of the small bridges we noted a Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, 2 Purple Herons and another group of about 20 Whiskered Terns.  The highlight though was an assembly of around 150 White Storks.  Every now and then a small group would get up find a thermal and head off north to cross the nearby mountains.  It was a spectacular sight.
White Stork in flight

White Stork feeding

A great day!  Back at home writing this blog I heard a familiar noise and opening the front door could hear my first Scop's Owl of the year calling from the garden.

1 comment:

  1. We encountered egyptian geese in Florida on golf courses. And the white stork is much more elegant than the wood storks! Thanks for this wonderful blog!