Friday, September 28, 2012

Many presaharian birds

The Bluethroat arrived in l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila on 17-09-2012. Today I saw it again!, in the same place, just in front of the hide.

I saw 6 Common Linnets (Carduelis cannabina) and 31 Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), the firsts finch groups. Also, with 3 Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus), I saw 1 Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), the first of the season. Presaharian birds are arriving... just when some transaharian birds are still here. It's a good moment to see species diversity and practise the ID, just like today, when I saw the collybita at the same time I saw some trochilus.

A Common Swift (Apus apus) was another interesting sighting, probably it's the last I could see this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


But anything more...

Yesterday I could see the Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) that was found in l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila on 17-09-2012. It was an adult female.
Today I have seen the Bluethroat again. I have taken some bad photos...

The Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), an adult female

The Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) and other 'usually' birds as the 3 Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta), the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) and 1 Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) are left in the last 2 days. The presaharian birds will arrive soon...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Only raptor migration weekend

Late September is a great time to see lots of migratory birds, so... this was a great weekend to found something special.

SATURDAY 23-09-2012
On the morning, I went to Llobregat Delta, in Cal Tet and the Llobregat mouth, with Josep Bujons. It's a fantastic place to spect some waders and also some interesting passerines... The last week was so clowdy, a little weather-change that's good for migratory birds.
Althought it seemed to be a good day, it was not. Firstly, Josep Bujons and me went to Reguerons, a small pond in the middle of an agricultural area. Some days before, Raúl Bastida found there a Temminck's Stint... maybe we could found it again.

We started seeing some Common Wagbills (Estrilda astrild) flying all around. Then, when we arrived in the pond, we could see some waders: a Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), some Wood Sandpipers (Tringa glareola), Green Sandpipers (Tringa ochropus) and Common Snipes (Gallinago gallinago). Later, we went to the other side of the pond. The Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii) was there!, a juvenile, close to a Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and 4 Bluethroats (Luscinia svecica).

At 10 o'clock we went to Cal Tet. We didn't find any shorebird in the first 'good' places, and we also saw a Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). Only 1!
L'Arana beach, one of the best sites to see waders in Llobregat Delta, was almost empty. Only 2 Curlew Sandpipers (Calidris ferruginea), 4 Dunlins (Calidris alpina), 13 Sanderlings (Calidris alba), 2 Common Ringed Plovers (Charadrius hiaticula), 2 Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus), 2 Grey Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) (1 still with breeding plumage), 2 Common Greenshanks (Tringa nebularia) and 2 Spotted Redshanks (Tringa erythropus) in winter plumage. In the pine wood we only saw 7 trochilus and 2 Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). It was a bad day for waders and for passerines...

Cal Tet was full of Eurasian Coots (Fulica cristata) and we could see only a few ducks. Despite some Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Gadwalls (Anas strepera), only 1 Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), 7 Red-crested Pochards (Netta rufina), +30 Common Pochards (Aythya ferina) and +10 Eurasian Teals (Anas crecca). One of this creccas was 'orangish', you can see a photo below.

Finally, we could see 3 Common Redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and a few trochilus more... but it was a light migration day.

SUNDAY 24-09-2012
I went with Josep Ramoneda to Aiguanegra volcano, in La Garrotxa Natural Park. There, Fran Trabalon realizes a raptor census during 32 days of postnupcial migration. It's a great place to see some diversity and quantity of raptors migration, and also storks.

The weather was fantastic to migrate. We saw 98 Short-toed Snake-eagles (Circaetus gallicus), 15 Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus), 4 Booted Eagles (Aquila pennata) (2 local birds), 2 Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) (local birds), 9 Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), 3 Western Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus), 1 Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus), 1 Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), 2 Hobbys (Falco subbuteo), 1 Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (local), 1 Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) and 5 Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus).

Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) juvenile. Look at the brown
underparts and the yellow bill.

Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae). Adult. Look at
the uniform upperwing coverts and the dark underwing.

Another bad day for passerines, with only 5 Tree Pipits (Anthus trivialis), at least 7 Yellow wagtails (Motacilla flava) and a Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca).
Only the raptors 'saved' this migration weekend...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Stork and some 'new' birds

This morning, Jordi Comellas saw a White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) in l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila arriving in 'migration' and stopping to eat something. A few hours later, when I left the school, I tryed to found it. The Stork was there, eating between some Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), 3 Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta), the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) and also the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea).

Here is a scarce bird, seen only in migration. Some years is easy to see big migration groups (usually up to 100 birds) between the last August's week and the first week of September. Out of this dates, is an accidental bird.

The greatest thing was that the White Stork was ringed! It was an octagonal ring, but was too dirty to can read the code... but yes the EURING code, what indicates in which country was ringed the bird. This code was DEW (Helgoland / Wilhelmshaven), so the Stork was German!

The rest of the afternoon I was looking for some passerines. It was a great day, with lots of 'new' birds; a little change in the week's routine. I saw 22 Willow wablers (Phylloscopus trochilus), 5 Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca), 1 Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin), 5 Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), 4 Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava), 1 Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis), 1 Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) 1 Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and 11 Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe) in the near field. Strangely, any Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) was seen.

Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus)

L'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila act as a feeding and short-stopover site for migratory birds. It's diffucult to see big concentracions of passerines because the typical stopover is about 1-3 days.

I will continue expecting some Bluethroats these days...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Surprise in Canal Vell

Raül Aymí and me started our 'round' on the nets about 7:30. Like every day, basically Reed Warblers in the nets 1 to 7. Later, more scripaceus in the nets 11 and 12... but in the 13th net, we saw a diferent Warbler, with a well pronounced supercilium and, also, a fantastic median crown-stripe... Yes!, an Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) trapped on the mist-net!

The Aquatic Warbler is a 'regular rarity' in Catalonia, with a few citacions every year; more common in the spring migration. This autumn, is the third bird trapped in Canal Vell, the first and the second by David Bigas and Yago Brugnoli, respectively, during the August.

Aquatic Warblers moult like the majority of european Acrocephalus: a partial postjuvenile and postnuptial moult and a complete moult in the wintering areas. Our bird was an adult. 1cy show the tipically colour yellow in nearly the whole plumage, but the adults haven't this yellow colour. Also, adults show a wear plumage; that obtained in the prebreeding moult in Africa last winter.

Bird Ringing in Ebre Delta

Last week I was ringing in Canal Vell (Ebre Delta, Catalonia), in the autumn migration campaing executed by ICO (Catalan Institute of Ornitology).
On Monday 3, I went by train to the Delta. I am not a ringer yet, so I was helping other ringers as Oriol Baltà, Raül Aymí and Rafa González.

The first day, before go to Canal Vell, we went to Goleró zone, in the Fangar bay. It's a big tidal zone, so when the tide comes in, some waders move to other parts of the Delta. Fortunately, we found a little 'beach' plenty of Dunlins (Calidris alpina), Little Stints (Calidris minuta) and Common Ringed Plovers (Charadrius hiaticula). We found lots of Common Greenshanks (Tringa nebularia) and some Eurasian Curlews (Numenius arquata).

Reed and Cetti's Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus and Cettia cetti, respectively are the most common species trapped in the campaing. Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca), Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus) and Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) were also in good numbers.
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), juvenile female
We caught an average of 80 birds / a day during the firsts ones. The most interesting birds were:
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), juvenile
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minitus), adult male
Little Bitterns are a little bit dangerous...
Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
We trapped also some Bluethroats (Luscinia svecica) and Savi's Warblers (Locustella luscinioides):
A juvenile female
Savi's Warbler. Looks like a Cetti's, isn't it?
I was ringing until 12th September, a total of 10 days. I made some 'friends', like this juvenile Natrix maura and some Plain Tigers (Danaus chrysippus).

During all day, mosquitos were quite a lot irritating, specially during the lasts 'nets-rounds'. In a quiet afternoon, when we didn't catch more than 5 or 6 birds, it started a Swallow roost very close to the nets. That night, we trapped 93 Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), but the big surprise were 201 Sand Martins (Riparia riparia). We found at least 3 birds simply 'landed' on the nets, and we caught them with the hands. This episode was repeated every night until my last night there. In total, we ringed more than 2000 swallows these days (Riparias + Hirundos), similar numbers of each species. The firsts days we caught more Sand Martins and the last days, more Barn Swallows.
Swallows arriving in the ringing station

Because of the quantity of trapped birds, we caught some foreign birds. Some French, Italian, German and a British Sand Martins and some Swiss, Italian and French Barn Swallows.

 Every afternoon I passed one hour at least birding in Canal Vell lagoon, from a watchtower in the ringing station. As the most interesting birds, I saw 2 Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) every day, a maximum of 3 Caspian Terns (Sterna caspia), 28 Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), +300 Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), 3 Grasshopper Warblers (Locustella naevia) and a Crested Coot (Fulica cristata), that's a 'regular rarity' in the Delta.

'My working table'
Releasing a Kingfisher. It's really nice see how they fly away
after we have ringed them! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Birds are still here...

After the crazy migration day yesterday, today I saw (only) 18 Honey-Buzzards (Pernis apivorus), 5 Black Kites (Milvus milvus), 1 Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), 1 Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata), 1 Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), 1 Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), +600 Common Swifts (Apus apus), +300 Alpine Swifts (Apus melba), 18 Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster), 2 Sand Martins (Riparia riparia) and 1 Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus), all of them in migration!

It was still a Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) in the closest fields, with 4 Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), 4 Whinchats (Saxicola rubetra), 2 Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) and a 1cy Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator). Other migrants were (only) 3 Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus), 4 Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and a Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca).

Although, the most interesting sighting was a Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)!, a very rare bird here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Magic migration day

Today, I've passed all day in l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila. It has been, probably, the best day I've ever passed there.

Joan Manubens came with me today. The weather was great for migration: cloudy sky, no wind...

Firstly, we saw the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus), as every day. 'Not a good day today', it seemed... But suddenly, some Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) appeared just behind us. In La Bòbila, that is in the middle of a big agricultural zone, basically wheat fields, is difficult to see more than 10 raptors in migration together.

Today, we are broke all the 'records. We saw 436 Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus), 12 Black Kites (Milvus migrans), 3 Short-toed Snake-eagles (Circaetus gallicus), 2 Montagu's Harriers (Circus pygargus) (a juvenile and an adult male), 1 Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), 2 Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), 1 Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), 7 Booted Eagles (Aquila pennata), 1 Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and 1 Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo). 466 raptors migration through l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila in a morning!

During the rest of the day, we also saw more than 250 Common Swifts (Apus apus) with 10 Alpine Swifts (Apus melba) migrating, 1 Stock Dove (Columba oenas) (second for l'Aiguamoll), 1 Sand Martin (Riparia riparia), 1 Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) (fisrt record for l'Aiguamoll), 3 Tree Pipits (Anthus trivialis), 3 Tawny Pipits (Anthus campestris), 4 Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava), 1 Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), 1 Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), 4 Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), 5 Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), 1 Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta), 1 Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis), 1 Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin), 1 Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans), 2 Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus), 3 Pied Flcatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) and 1 Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). 

It was a magic migration day for this little wetland!