Birding Trips

House Martins (Delichon urbicum, Avión Común) begin nestbuilding on Puente de Santiago, Zaragoza

After yesterdays torrential thunderstorm which drove everyone and everything diving for cover the House Martins (Delichon urbicum, Avión Común) have recommenced nestbuilding under the Puente de Santiago here in Zaragoza.

P.N. Marjal de Pego Oliva 31-01-14

On Friday 31 January I went to the P.N. Marjal de Pego-Oliva for the first time this year. Last year I visited this lovely area many times but as yet, had not been there in the winter. On arriving at the entrance to the park I bumped into Mike Bird of the Bedfordshire Natural History Society who was there for the first time. I offered to show him around so off we went in the 4×4.

The flooded rice fields to the south held Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, White Wagtail, Northern Lapwing, Water Pipit, Mallard, Shoveler and Snipe. Several Marsh Harriers hunted over the reed beds scattering the hundreds of Crag Martin feeding on a hatch of small flies, whilst the irrigation canals and scrapes played host to Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Moorhen, Water Rail and Purple Swamphen.

I had hopes of spotting a Bluethroat. Sure enough, sitting on a stone by the edge of a puddle in the middle of the track an adult male obliged us with good views for several minutes, its white throat patch contrasting starkly with the bright blue bib, then a narrow black and white band finished off with a broader rusty red band.

bluethroat C2272

Crossing over to the north, the rice fields held less birds although a Purple Heron flew up from a bank protesting strongly against our intrusion. At one point along the track where the river bends there is a good place to search for raptors hunting over a low lying hill bordering the northern boundary of the park. Just a kestrel or two today though and three pale phase Booted Eagles, one of [...]