Saturday 20 June 2015

Barcelona Centre, El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona Airport, El Prat de Llobregat again, Mas de Melons and Fuendetodos.

Pickup day and a bit of birding.
Pyrenees, Day One.

Mary-Ann and I left Vilanova early but not before we saw Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). We headed for Barcelona where we were picking up Mike Langley, we followed the satnav directions to a metro station in the city and parked on the roadside where met Mike with in two minutes of arriving, the first objective of this stress day sorted. 
From here we headed out to a birding site on the edge of the airport as a recci to see if it was worth visiting later with the full group, we first of all had a look at a small pool near the beach where we saw Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). 
We moved back inland slightly to a wide reed fringed canal which we walked along for a few hundred meters, during this walk we had views of Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), 3x Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) and on a small pool from a hide Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). During the walk back to the van we picked up Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and a Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio). Also seen during the walk we saw Stripe-necked (Mauremys leprosa) and Red-eared Terrapins (Trachemys scripta elegans), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and several Mammoth Wasps (Megascolia maculata).
Once we were back at the van we drove to a bar where we had some breakfast before going to pick the rest of the group up at terminal 2 of Barcelona Airport. I parked out side whilst Mary-Ann and Mike went inside, after a while the rest of the guests (Linda, Judy, Mike, Nick and John) came out along with Mike and Mary-Ann. We quickly departed and made our way back out to the Canal area to see what was still about, mary-Ann kindly said she would stay and watch the van as it was now full of cases. We did the same walk as earlier and saw most of the species we saw earlier along with Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus).
We left the site and had a stop at a bar for some lunch before heading towards Lleida, on the way we stopped at a small roadside pool where we could hear Great Reed Warbler singing from the reedbeds as well as White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Our next stop was on a track at Mas de Melons where we drove scanning the very dry fields, here we added Stock Dove (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and on a dry field where we had a short walk we had Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) and Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus).
We then drove over to our hotel in Fuentetodos, the Capricho de Goya. On the way we had good views of a very nice Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia). When we arrived I looked at the front and was a little worred but once we were inside the rooms were great and the Tapas evening meal was superb. Ruth the one owner made us all feel very welcome, it was just a shame we were only stay one night here. This hotle is idea for a birding trip to Belchite area.

Photographs from the top: The group Linda, John, Mike L, Judy, Mike H and Nick, A very low plane over the canal and a disappearing Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).

Friday 19 June 2015

Travelling to Barcelona.

A long drive to start the tour in Barcelona.

Jayne and I drove down to Malaga where I picked up the minibus for the next 10 days before starting to make my way up to Barcelona, on the way down we heard and saw Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). Just out side Malaga I met Mary-Ann Murphy, one of the guests on the tour who decided to travel up with me rather than fly. The journey went well and by early evening we were just south of the City in a town called Vilnova where we stayed at Ricards Hotel. During the drive we saw a few species including Iberian (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Black / Cinereous Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). 
Once we had the rooms sorted we had a walk across the road to the fishing port where we had good views of Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).