Monday, April 15, 2013


I arrived in Catalonia 12 days ago and I'm still a little bit 'out'. I enjoyed a lot 18 days in Morocco, where we could see more than 180 bird species, including 36 bird lifers for me, and lots of reptiles, amfibians, mammals and insects too. Ringing in Yasmina lake was really enjoyable and I learn a lot of some uncommon species for me. We caught some Saharan Olivaceus Warblers (Hippolais pallida reiseri), Western Olivaceus Warblers (Hippolais opaca) and Iberian Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus ibericus) every day, and some 'surprises' were a Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis), Seebohm's Wheatear (Oenanthe seebohmi) (first bird ringed in Yasmina), a Rufous Bush Chat (Cercotrichas galactotes), a Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus) and 2 White-crowned Black Wheatears (Oenanthe leucopyga). I'll make a trip report, hope I can get it soon!
Adult male Seebohm's Wheatear (Oenanthe seebohmi), one of
the best birds ringing in Yasmina lake
We 'failed' 3 nice species during the birding time around the country: Marsh Owl (Asio capensis), Levaillant's Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii) and Double-spurred Francolin (Pternistis bicalcaratus), as it was raining when we had to find them. This species, plus the Atlas Flycatcher (Ficedula speculigera) that was too early to see it, will have to wait for the next time, that surely it'll be very soon.

North Africa was full of migrant birds everywhere, and when I arrived they were just arriving in Catalonia. This year, presarahan birds started to move north very soon, and transaharan birds were also migrating earlier than other years. The next two days after my arrival where really good: cloudy wheather, soft wind that stopped during the night... and I could continue enjoying migration in my local patch. So I toke the opportunity to do some ringing there, and I trapped 3 Common Redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), a Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), a Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) and the 'progressive greying' Blackbird (Turdus merula) (as the most interesting birds).
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
The following days where also good for migrants, with some Alpine Swifts (Apus melba), Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and Common Swifts (Apus apus) strong passages. Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) were also migrating in good numbers and also I found a very scarce bird (surely a 1st observation) in my area: Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla). The bird remained two days in a field, where I also found a Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris). It seemed to be a really good return, but the best hadn't already arrived.

Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus) and Little
(Egretta garzetta) in l'Aiguamoll de la Bòbila,
both are migrating birds.
Last Tuesday, I went to Barcelona in order to visit some museums. It was an excursion organized by the high school, but I always find a moment to look for birds. When we were waiting in the MNAC entrance, I heard an exciting call. It was an Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus), very confident and active, that I could enjoy a lot. It's a regular rarity in Catalonia, with some citations every spring specially in Barcelona and  Ebre Delta's area.

Could anything be better?
Yep, of course. Yesterday I came back again in Barcelona and I went to the breakwater situated close to the port. It's a really good place for seawatching, and we're in really good dates. The sea was very calmed, and I quickly found some Tunes (Thunnus thynnus), that attracted 4 Little Gulls (Larus minutus), some Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybridus) and 2 Little Terns (Sternula albifrons), probably firsts for the season in Catalonia. Also, I saw 2 Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) and a Mediterranean Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) passing north, and a Skua (Stercorarius skua), 3 Arctic Skuas (Stercorarius parasiticus) and 3 Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) passing south. Both Balearic and Mediterranean Shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus and yelkouan) were fairly common. I will try to spend more days there during these days... I really love migration.

No comments:

Post a Comment