Ebro Delta Birding - Welcome to our Blog! Bird watching holidays Spain

All the latest sightings and pictures from our excursions into the Ebro Delta Natural Park, Spain's number 1 bird watching holiday destination!

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Wonderful winter booted eagles at isla de buda

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Booted Eagles are expected to migrate to Africa for over wintering, but it's known for them to stay in suitable areas of southern Europe. This winter we have a number of them enjoying a mild winter season on Isla de Buda.

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Isla de Buda is a reserve within the Ebro delta natural park and is situated on the southern tip of the estuary where the Ebro discharges. There is no public access so it acts as a perfect sanctuary where the birds are completely undisturbed.

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We can observe and photograph the Eagles from the excellent elevated observatory at L'Alfacada. From here we can watch the Eagles soaring over the area scouring the land for prey. It's been possible to see up to a dozen different birds at any given time.

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The Booted Eagle has two distinctly different colour morphs, pale and dark. Although the pale form is the one we see more often, there have been a few sightings of the bird in the dark colour phase too.

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Booted Eagles are one of the smaller varieties of Eagle and tend to feed on mid sized birds, small mammals and reptiles. The bird pictured above in Deltebre has a Moorhen in it's talons!

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Aerial interactions with other species are not uncommon. We often see Booted Eagles being mobbed by Kestrels, Crows and the like. We occasionally witness some territorial jousting with other similar sized raptors such as Harriers & Buzzards

Super Storks spotted on south bound migration route

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White Storks heading south towards Africa

One of the birding highlights on the Ebro Delta is the sight of vast flocks of White Storks heading south on their way to over wintering destinations in Africa. Anytime from mid August to mid October we can regularly see these huge and majestic birds both on the wing and also on the ground, where they stop to feed and rest.

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Vast flocks seen climbing on thermals

The White Stork is a bird of some considerable proportions, with a wingspan of 6 - 7 foot and a body mass of up to 4.5kg. In order to gain altitude they can be seen circling on thermal up-drafts which can be found only by migrating over land. They will follow the Mediterranean coast south before crossing into Africa at the narrowest point - the Gibraltar straight.

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Stopping off to re-fuel!

The Ebro delta is a suitable stop off for the Storks on their way down the coast. Rice harvesting in September leaves vast swathes of boggy fields freshly disturbed and this becomes a veritable buffet for them to pick off Crayfish, aquatic insects, frogs and the like. They are able to regain strength here ahead of their marathon voyage south.

Rare varieties: Collared pratincole

The Ebro Delta is a hot-spot for this summer visitor

These slightly curious birds are classified as a wader, but in many respects seem closer to a tern. They feed on the wing, primarily on insects.

The Ebro Delta provides a key breeding location for them as they favour flat dry terrain close to reedbeds and saltpans. The nest is a scrape on bare ground. They spend the winter in tropical Africa.

Awesome Vulture viewing at mas de bunyol!

Unforgettable Vulture experience in nearby Els Ports Natural Park

As part of our 4 day Ebro Delta Experience itinerary we will leave the lowlands for a morning and take a trip into the Els Ports mountain range. The highlight of this is a visit to Mas de Bunyol where, as part of a conservation effort, the local vulture population is fed on a daily basis. This remarkable spectacle can be witnessed from a superb observatory, and we will see Griffon vultures descend in great numbers to squabble over the 200 kilos of carcass that is deposited. In the summer months it is also possible to see the migratory Egyptian Vulture. This tour offers something completely different from the Delta and is a quite awesome event to behold!

Feature : epic eagle encounter in Deltebre la cava

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Amazing sighting of Booted Eagle

When you're in the Ebro Delta it's possible to see incredible things even in slightly unlikely locations. This magnificent Booted Eagle was spotted on the outskirts of Deltebre La Cava, the regions busiest town. The bird was initially spotted perched on telegraph wires, clutching what looks like a freshly killed Moorhen.

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Majestic bird of Prey

The Booted Eagle is a medium sized eagle comparable in size to a Buzzard. They feed on small mammals, reptiles or birds which are usually taken on the ground after a spectacular stoop with folded wings. The bird has different colour morphs, with the pale morph (seen here) the one that is generally seen around this area.

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'Once in a lifetime' photo opportunity!

The bird was surprisingly tolerant of me, as I approached initially by car and took some preliminary photos. I then left the vehicle and inched closer, ultimately to a distance of around 10 meters where I was able to grab these lovely shots with just a 70-300mm lens. To be this distance from a wild eagle can truly be described as a 'once in a life time' experience!

Fabulous Flamingos Flourishing in wetland oasis

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Ebro Delta's iconic bird is thriving!

The Greater Flamingo is the bird that is synonymous with the Ebro Delta and we are fortunate enough to be able to offer guaranteed sightings of these majestic creatures throughout the year.  There are a number of great locations such as El Garxal, La Tancada and L'Encanyissada where bird watching hides have been constructed allowing us to closely observe these amazing birds. 

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2016 study reveals 898 breeding pairs

The most recent study to be published by the Natural Park research team has revealed 898 breeding pairs within the Delta. The Flamingos have been breeding successfully here since 1993, although there are wide fluctuations in numbers of breeding pairs each year, and not every year produces successful conditions for breeding. Thankfully though most years see a successful outcome, with breeding numbers varying wildly between around 250 pairs up to over 3000!

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Breath taking sightings

It's a truly magical experience to witness a huge flock of Flamingos on the wing, and the Ebro Delta is the top location in the western Mediterranean to come and enjoy this wonderful spectacle!

Ebro delta specials: The opulent purple heron

Exquisitely coloured summer visitor!

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The Purple Heron is a variety commonly spotted around the Ebro Delta from April through to October. This bird favours cover, and in particular reed beds. River tours of the Ebro by boat are guaranteed to produce great sightings, but they can also be spotted on walking tours of the marshland locations north and south of the Ebro. Identification is very straight forward, they are similar in stature to the Grey Heron but less bulky and with a more slender (snake like) head & neck. The colours are spectacular, with a dark ginger patterned neck and maroon underparts. They feed on small fish, frogs and also aquatic invertebrates, all of which are abundant for them around the Ebro Delta.

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Spanish birding highlights: The super hoopoe

Unique and majestic Hoopoe sightings all year round!

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One of our most loved birds here at Ebrodeltabirding is the Hoopoe, a bird which we can see throughout the year in a variety of habitats around the area. Completely unmistakable, they are most regularly spotted on the ground in amongst Olive groves and pockets of woodland, where they feed by probing into the ground with their long bill to uncover grubs, insects, worms and the like. Despite the regularity of sightings, these birds are quite shy, so good photo opportunities are not always easy to come by! The distinctive call, which gives the bird it's name, is often heard around the countryside.

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Feature: The 3 varieties of Egret found on the ebro delta

Great Egret

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Almost the size of the familiar Grey Heron, but a good deal more elegant with longer legs and neck. The beak remains yellow for the majority of the year, except in breeding condition when it becomes almost black.

Little Egret

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By far the most abundant of the Egrets, the Little Egret is a mid sized heron with a straight, dark beak and black legs with yellow toes. This bird can be seen in almost every location across the Ebro Delta. Feeds primarily on fish, frogs, insects & snails.

Cattle Egret

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The Cattle Egret is the least regularly sighted of the 3 varieties here on the Delta. It's around the same size as the Little Egret but can be easily distinguished by it's shorter all yellow beak, and greyish / yellow legs. In the summer it develops an ochre coloured crown and chest.

Rare Varieties: Purple Swamp-hen

The Ebro Delta provides a perfect habitat for these beautiful birds

This variety is found in only a select few locations around southern Europe, and we are lucky enough to have a vibrant population which are resident here throughout the year.

They are an unmistakable and noisy bird who can be found around the reedbeds of the marshes both north and south of the Ebro. The bird has wonderful colouration, with hues of violet and purple especially vibrant when viewed in full sunlight, and contrasting with the bright red beak and legs