This is a trip report about a bird watching Albufera de Valencia day tour. The area is a truly paradise for bird watching in Valencia, specially during the migration. I strongly recommend any birder, no matter where he/she is from, to visit the area at least once.
I have spent the day guiding a nice couple of birders in the Albufera de Valencia. The Albufera can be combined with other reserves in order to put together an very interesting birding and wildlife holidays. Please see here our 5-day birding tour around Valencia and Alicante.
It’s 9:00 and I am picking up Pauline and Brian from the meeting point in Javea. The Albufera de Valencia is located slightly more than one hour from the Costa Blanca. Therefore, it is an accessible birding reserve for any tourist or resident birder staying in Denia, Xàbia, Calpe or Benidorm.
Around 10:10, we are bird watching in the Albufera de Valencia, to be precise in the paddy fields of Silla. There, it is located a small reserve “Tancat” that can be really interesting during migration, especially for waders.
Things look quite promising as a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier fly over the reserve and makes the waders feel a bit restless. After that, we start scoping for waders, Pauline and Brian are happy to see their first Wood Sandpiper. In addition, we are able to observe 12 more species of waders, included Collared Pratincole, Little and Ringed Plover, Little Stilt, Dunlin, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper Snipe and finally, the special one I wanted to show them, a Pectoral Sandpiper. This is a vagrant American species which breeds in North America and NE Siberia. It has been in the area the previous two days.
Before we set off to another reserve, a pair of Glossy Ibis land near to us and a Swallowtail butterflies suck nectar from the Purple loosestrife.
Now it is time to take the car and drive 10 minutes to Catarroja and to continue bird watching Albufera de Valencia. Before we arrive to the Tancat de Pipa reserve, we find a Iberian Grey Shrike looking at us from an electric wire. I have been seeing the same birds in the same place for at least three years! it is doing very well!. Once we get into the reserve, a big spot in the electric wire give away an Osprey.
In our walk to the hide, Fan-tailed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Purple-swamp Hen, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Sandpipers and Great Egret are seen. Brian asks me if it possible to observe any summer Heron, and I reply that is still possible. Five minutes later, a Purple Heron fly away close to the walkway.
After that, we walk up to the viewing point and from there we see through the telescope a group of 6 Greater Flamingos. On the way back to the car, a White-headed Duck try to hide from us, but not before I take a good shoot. White-headed Duck is an uncommon species in the area. This is the first record of the year in the Albufera de Valencia!. Later we set off for the next area and besides a ditch I spot another species which I wanted to show them, a Squacco Heron.
In the afternoon, we move to another habitat, the dunes. There, we find Red-legged Partridge, Crested Lark, Booted Eagle, Sardinian Warbler and Yellow-legged Gull by the seashore. To finish the tour I decide to cross the rice fields in search for raptors. We are lucky enough to see Marsh Harriers in different plumage, perfect to age them.
One never knows what would bring you a day bird watching in the Albufera Valencia, it is an amazing birding area!!
Have a nice day!