Saturday, 2 April 2016

Ebro Delta - home of the Audouin's Gull

It was a long drive yesterday from Motril to the Ebro Delta, about 750Km and it took about eight hours. The roads are very good, so far and no problems with navigation with SatNav. I stopped on the way at some pools near Vera, British birder Andrew Allport had found a Solitary Sandpiper there about a month ago. I wasn't expecting it to still be around but the pools looked quite good from photos and it was only slightly out of the way. I didn't see the Solitary Sandpiper but the pools were superb and right by the roadside. At least 4 Temminck's Stints plus around a dozen Little Stints, Wood and Green Sandpipers a dozen Water Pipit and 20 'fava' which looked like the Spanish race iberiae.
Temminck's Stint
Yellow Wagtail of the Spanish race iberia
I stayed at the Eucalyptus Camp Site which is ideally placed for the delta and had calling Scops Owls on the site, although I couldn't locate them in daylight.
I soon saw distant groups of Audouin's Gulls on the raised banks in the centre of the pools but they were constantly coming and going presumably to feed in the Med. There were also several loafing around on the spit which runs south from the delta, these were very approachable giving superb views.
Audouins' Gull
Lake Tancada - all the white dots are Audouin's
I also had several Slender-billed Gulls fly over and Caspian Terns were feeding along the coastal marsh with a few Sandwich Terns.
Slender-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
There is good access around the various lakes and dykes and plenty of waders, around 100 Little Stint, 20 Kentish Plover and a dozen Greenshank just on the few pools I looked at. Marsh Harriers were hunting over the reedbeds  and I could hear Little Bittern but didn't see it.
One of the pools had a small group of about ten Whiskered Terns, my first of the trip, and more birds joined them and then departed. I think there were probably around 50 went north.
Whiskered Tern
There is a single bush at the northern end of the spit that runs south where I met a local birdwatcher looking at it intently, his English was poor, but better than my Spanish. He said the bushy area was good for migrants but there were very few today. I stood at the bush with him and counted at least 4 Subalpine Warblers and a similar number of Chiffchaff (not sure whether these are Iberian, none are singing). I could easily imagine this area would be amazing in fall conditions.
Chiffchaff - possibly Iberian supercilium very yellow - if only I could read the ring!
What a fantastic place, definitely worth another visit. 
My plan is to head for the Pyrenees via the Saragossa area and then in to France.


  1. Terrific stuff. Loving it. Doug

  2. Thanks Doug, I'm having quite a great time. Although it's a bit wet and windy here in the Camargue.. but can't complain!