In this section you can find details of all the latest sightings from our excursions into the Ebro Delta Natural Park, Spain's number 1 bird watching holiday destination. Scroll down to discover interesting features concerning the birds of the Ebro Delta and surrounding area, and check out more of our favorite bird photography in our species galleries!
Spain is currently in a national state of alarm and is Europe's second worst affected country behind Italy at the time of writing. For this reason it is impossible to fulfill our Spring bookings with clients unable to travel. We will be looking to reschedule our tours once there has been an improvement in the situation, and deposit payments will be rolled forward to future dates in 2020 / 21.
As a family we are currently self isolating in the countryside while the virus runs it's course. Latest sightings will resume on our blog page as soon as it is possible to get out and about on the Delta once again..
New for 2020, we have added a dedicated winter birding tour to our line up of multi-day guided bird watching holidays. The tour will take in some of the most spectacular birding events in Northern Spain and will be available between November and February for parties of 1 - 6 birders.
The first leg of the tour will be on the Ebro Delta, where we will spend a day enjoying a mixture of resident birds and winter visitors.
Highlights: Bluethroat, Moustached Warbler, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Purple Swamp-hen
For the second leg of the tour we head inland to Laguna de Gallocanta, the largest natural lake in Spain. This famous birding site harbors a wintering population of 10-20,000 Common Cranes annually, with numbers of up to 60,000 recorded during peak migration periods in early November and late February. Alongside the numerous Cranes, we can also expect to see some of Spain's other dry-land species in the plains area which surrounds the lake, and also many raptors.
Highlights: Common Crane, Great Bustard, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew
The third and final phase of the tour sees us travel north to another famous bird watching area, the Sierra de Gaura. This beautiful mountainous landscape of cliffs and canyons lies on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees. We will be based in the picturesque village of Alquezar and will be searching for some of Europe's most sought after birds, the mighty Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), and the elusive but elegant Wallcreeper, which over winters on the warm south facing cliffs of the Gaura, even venturing into villages on occasion!
Highlights: Lammergeier, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Blue Rock Thrush, Dartford Warbler, Griffon Vulture.
For a full tour itinerary including prices, click through to the Multi-day Tours section of our website
A survey carried out by MedWet (The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative) has some encouraging news concerning the Flamingo population of the Ebro Delta. In 2019 a total of 2985 pairs of Flamingos have been able to rear 2201 chicks, one of the most successful years on record!
Considerable work by the technicians of the Natural Park has gone into achieving this success story, as Flamingos are notorious for abandoning breeding sites when threatened by predation. The two main concerns in this respect are the Fox and the Yellow-legged Gull (the Mediterranean's equivalent to the Herring Gull). The level of threat offered by these two species has been managed to the extent that they have not been able to disrupt the breeding colony, allowing for a highly successful season of reproduction.
Greater Flamingos can be seen all year around in huge concentrations, although the winter months offer the chance to see the most. Between November and January there will be 10,000 - 18,000 individuals present around the Delta!
To read the full report by MedWet click on the image to the right.
Birders who opt for any of our multi day tours will be treated to a unique spectacle at the Vulture observatory at Mas de Bunyol. We will leave the lowlands in the morning and take a trip into 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 is witnessed from a superb observatory, and we will see Griffon Vultures descend in great numbers to squabble over the 200 kilos of rabbit carcass that is deposited. In the summer months it is also possible to see the migratory Egyptian Vulture. This tour is also available on a day trip basis.
The Rose-coloured (or Rosy) Starling is a rare vagrant in Catalonia and was spotted on a birding day tour around the Ebro Delta in late March. Interestingly, the bird appears to be gathering material for nesting. Picture credit goes to our client, Susa Stonedahl from the US, who was on hand to get this nice click of the bird.
This handsome bird was spotted on two occasions in 2019, both during the spring migration period. The Red-footed Falcon is a long distance migrant that will occasionally stray into north-eastern Spain, and we had good sightings of male birds on the Ebro Delta in April and also on the Lleida plains in mid May
This variety of tern is a close relative of the Black Tern but usually occurs in more easterly parts of Europe. Despite this we had a few isolated sightings this spring, mainly on the Ebro river boat tour. White-winged Tern can be distinguished from Black Tern by it's red legs and white wing coverts and rump.
Although sightings of White Stork are relatively common on the Ebro Delta during the migration period, the sighting of a Black Stork tends to generate much more excitement! In 2019 we were lucky enough to encounter lone Black Storks on two occasions, once in the spring and another time in the winter.
This unusual sighting caused a little bit of head scratching on the Ebro River boat tour back in the summer! The bird is a leucistic Swallow, which has pigment deficiencies that cause this odd, pale looking appearance. The chances of seeing a Swallow with this strange condition are believed to be 1 / 1,000,000!
Western Orphean Warbler is not often encountered around the Ebro Delta but we had a surprise sighting on a birding tour of the southern section back in May. This is a relatively chunky warbler, with a thick set bill and dark cap. This species is migratory but breeds across the Iberian peninsula during summer.
Even bird guides need an extra fix of birding - so Al headed off to The Gambia with his Dad, Bryce, for a week long tour in November 2019.
Expert local guide Fansu Bojang put together a varied schedule for the week, with a hand picked itinerary of locations designed to maximise the range of birds on offer. Throughout the stay we based ourselves at the wonderful Leo's Beach Hotel in Brufut Heights - a fantastic and luxurious boutique Hotel & Restaurant which also offers excellent birding opportunities in the gardens.
The photo gallery below showcases some of the simply AMAZING birdlife of the Gambia, with close to 200 different bird species viewed during a memorable week.
Contact us at Ebro Delta Birding if you would like more information on a birding tour of this amazing country..