July Southern European Sojourn on board Island Sky – Part 1: Spanish Mediterranean coast and Atlantic Andalusia (2017.07.02-06)

I have been invited by the Australian travel company APT to join its Small Ships Cruises programme in Europe as birding companion.

Have a look at the tour report and pictures below!

I want to acknowledge APT for their invitation to the cruise, the Expedition Team on board Island Sky for their support, the crew for their exceptional service and eternal smiling, and the guests for their warm welcome to the tour.

This travel along the Mediterranean and Southern coast of Spain took us from Barcelona to Valencia, Cartagena, Motril and Cadiz.

We spent a nice day at the Albufera  in Valencia, one of the most valuable wetlands of Spain, where we could spot most of our ardeids including Grey, Night and Squacco Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets and Little Bittern, as well as interesting terns like Whiskered, Gull-billed and Sandwich ones, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbills, Great-crested Grebes and a Marsh Harrier. The breeding colony of Common Terns looks great at the Racó de L’Olla, where we also had the opportunity to enjoy Greater Flamingos, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Red-crested Pochards and Hoopoes.

The Audouin’s Gull is the queen of the seas around here, with a fantastic breeding colony at the very harbour of Valencia. Other birds observed in the sea were Shag, Great Skua, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.

The first Scopoly’s Shearwaters came out during the journey to Cartagena, in a very wavy sea, along with more Audouin’s and Yellow-legged Gulls and Shags near the harbour.

The same species could be found around Motril plus a Hoopoe flying over the ship in shore direction at around 2 km from the coast and some Pallid Swifts flying into the sea at around 1 km from the shore.

We visited the Alhambra that day. The splendor of this stunning monument always leaves you breathless. Besides that, there were some interesting birds around like Common and Pallid Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, Crag Martins, Short-toed Treecreepers, Jays and Serins and Blackcaps still engaged in beautiful singing.

It was difficult to tell whether the shearwaters around the Bay of Cadiz were Cory’s or Scopoly’s but flocks were bigger and they flew closer to the ship.

My friend Juan Martin, coordinator of Salarte Project to protect the salt marshes and saltpans around Cadiz, led an interesting visit to the Molino del Caño, a tidal mill dating back to the beginning of the XIX century in Puerto de Santa Maria, where we enjoyed great views of Kestrels and Crested Larks. We also visited the Salina (saltpan) de la Esperanza (hope), where we were showed how the salt was harvested by using old artisan methods. The bulk of the birds breeding season is over but we could spot the young Osprey living  in that area, Avocets, Kentish Plovers, Spoonbills, Little Egrets, Red-rumped Swallows, Black-winged Stilts and very noisy Little Terns.

Last modified onFriday, 14 July 2017 20:24

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