Ebro Delta ~ Spain - 23/27.04.14

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Back to the Ebro Delta for Slender-billed & Audouin's  ...

Early evening flight out of Stansted to Reus on the 23rd, picked up the car a Fiat 500L and headed for Sant Carles de la Rapita a fishing port on the southern side of the Delta. Arrived at the Hotel Rocamar about 22:30, dinner & bed ...


Up and out at 06:30 for first light at Punta de la Banya, a narrow sand bar with saltpans at the end and colonies of nesting Slender's, Audouin's & Yellow-legs all in the restricted area 100's of birds busy sitting eggs ..
The light was flat due to cloud cover so we headed for Deltabre, the rice fields on route were devoid of birds apart from Mallard and stayed that way ..
Behind Lidl's we found some terns feeding ...

Gull-billed Tern

Whiskered Tern

The light had now improved so returned to Punta de la Banya about mid morning for a great session with the Slender-bills. About a dozen birds to work with as most were nesting ..

Slender-billed Gull

News of two Broad-billed that we couldn't locate but we did find this ..

Collared Pratincole


Again it was overcast and windy 33mph !! to start with on the sand-bar, with no chance of images we checked out the flamingo's and located the Lesser in the flock at La Tancada then headed for El Golero to try for AGP but couldn't find it ...
We headed for the mountains hoping for some sheltered area's ..
Trying a few places near Tortosa, Cara being the highest but came away with no images ... 
Late afternoon the wind dropped off so we stayed in the harbour at Sant Carles with constant boats coming in and plenty of Audouin's & Yellow-legs to photograph ..

Audouin's Gull

Yellow-legged Gull


Again out to Punta de la Banya and tried our luck with the Slender-bills.
The wind had dropped right off with carm near flat sea and a few birds to work with ...

Slender-billed Gull

Mid morning and we headed for the steppe region near Lleida, touring around El Cogul, Aspa, Alfies, Artesa and Sudanell ending up at the massive reed beds of Embalse de Utxesa.
The most numerous bird was Calandra Lark and we couldn't even get close ..
We did see Witherby's Reed Bunting and plenty of Great Reed Warbler ..

Night Heron

Heading back on the C-12 near Benifallet this saved the day ...

Short-toed Eagle


High winds again early morning on the sand bar, totally the wrong direction all the birds either standing or flying away from the sun ...
But what it did do was make the normally flighty YLG's more approachable and held some other goodies on the ground staying out of the strong winds ...

Yellow-legged Gull

Audouin's Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Kentish Plover

Once the light got to harsh we headed for the rice fields to try for Gull-billed again and found a few birds that were reasonably faithful to a limited area ..

Gull-billed Tern

We were just killing time, driving around trying different area's, a dead end track out on Fangar Bay lead us to small inlet and a nice surprise awaited with confiding Slender-bill and a small flock of Sanderling ...

Slender-billed Gull


We continued on around the bay to Port d'illa de Mar a tiny little harbour which had some feeding terns ...

Little Tern

And with only about 90 mins before we had to head for the airport, we found 4 Slender-bills feeding with a Greenshank and as if that wasn't good enough 2 Stilts flew in and 6 Little Terns !!!

Slender-billed Gull


Black winged Stilt

Little Tern

90 minutes of mayhem to finish off the trip with ...

This is just a taster with the usual focus on individual species to follow 


Brian said...

Mick, I know you like your gulls but that Eagle is pretty special

Jamie Medford said...

Looks like a good trip, great images as always. Look forward to the next instalment!

Mike H said...

And a very nice taster it has been . Can't wait for the main course!!