Iberianature Forum

Travel in Spain => Trip reports, nature diaries and general observations => Topic started by: nick on April 26, 2007, 23:15 PM

Title: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on April 26, 2007, 23:15 PM
An enjoyable hour at the Delta del Llobregat this afternoon where I failed to see the ruff on display, but enjoyed watching squacco, night and grey herons, several avocet, a glossy ibis, a spoonbill, lots of shellduck along with the usual suspects. The building work for the new runway unfortunately carries on unabated and is destroying the skyline, though the birds don't seem too perturbed. From what I've heard, true waterbirds have been largely unaffected despite having huge jets thundering over their head every minute. What has been affected are those species associated with wetlands which needs lots of farmland around to feed. The numbers and variety of many waders have fallen significantly.

Good news – for Lucy as the rest of you live in other parts– is that you can now visit the new second reserve (Cal Tet) whenever you want during the week. If you haven't been, it's a very pleasant walk and lots to see - I didn't have time today.

Lucy, perhaps we could keep this updated as an occasional diary between the two of us?

PS Enjoyed handling this 2-week old blackbird (male I was told) in the always helpful wardens office. Note no tail feathers yet.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on April 28, 2007, 10:25 AM
Hi Nick, Posting Delta observations is fine by me. Unbelievably I never visited it until this year when I found your precise instructions about how to actually get there.  Now I regularly brave the hedgehog underpass and the pimps etc. but I’m not sure about Cal Tet – I’ve been warned about having to go through drug-dealing neighbourhoods in el Prat.

When I was there last week it had been completely taken over by stilts.  They were everywhere, feeding, fighting and mating.  This summer will be bursting with baby stilts.

What I really enjoyed was watching a spoonbill feeding. For a large bird it was very active.  It seemed to be running to keep up with its incredible bill, which was leading the way, sweeping through the water. Someone told me the spoonbills are only passing visitors. Where will it be going next I wonder?

What’s great about the Delta is the way its limited size means the birds are concentrated close to the hides. I realized this yesterday on a trip to the beautiful Aiguamolls de l’Empordá where the birds tend to be much further away and hidden.  The Aiguamolls looked stunning after the recent rain – vibrant green, and tall clumps of yellow irises growing everywhere.  The place is also impressive aurally - cuckoos, hoopoes, clacking of stork bills, and ear-splitting bursts from all sorts of warblers, mixed up with the frog choruses.  On my next visit I’m going to take something to record the sounds.  Saw some marsh harriers close up, and a very relaxed bunch of flamingoes.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on April 28, 2007, 11:55 AM
Yep, loads of stilts there too.

El Prat is perfectly safe. Do you have a bike. You can get the train to El Prat and I reckon cycle there in 15 minutes. We should meet up!

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on May 13, 2007, 10:34 AM
I was at the Delta on Friday and the sound of bee-eaters was everywhere. There was also a lovely smell, a mixture of the sea and flowers, instead of that particular airport smell you often get (don’t know what it is exactly, perhaps the fuel?) There was a trio of very active spoonbills – they must have swept through every cubic litre of the lagoon by the end of the day.  Two of them stopped for a rest, dipped their spatula bills into the water and delicately groomed each other’s necks.  The other one kept on sweeping, brushing one of the carp, who torpedoed away in shock.

A gang of stilts drove away a marsh harrier - several stilts were sitting on the ground incubating.  Some unusual visitors were pointed out to me: a grey plover in spring plumage with a jet black breast, some wheatears out on the mud, and some audouin’s gulls.

There was a funny moment when a pheasant appeared amongst the herons. He’d been calling from the bushes, and suddenly emerged in all his finery, having decided to check out what all this water business was about. After looking at the lagoon for a while, while the herons looked at him, he strutted back to the bushes, gave a final call and disappeared.

A man nearly stepped on a baby Florida terrapin on the path.  It was hard to imagine something so tiny could turn into one of the dinner plates you see basking everywhere.  He decided to take it back for his daughter rather than add to the local population. 
On the walk back to the main road, I heard a scops owl from the pine trees (definitely not a flying toad).  Also saw some of the waxbills that are breeding here, clinging to the reeds, and a squacco heron (my first) on the other side of the river, nearly at the autovia.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on June 05, 2007, 19:41 PM
A new Delta report for the new forum.  Finally visited Cal Tet: enjoyed walking among the towering reeds. Remnants of river crabs were strewn on the paths.  Saw an osprey fly past clutching something in its talons.  The new hide is well positioned, sheltered from the sea wind.  A great crested grebe swam back and forth, making a rasping call.  Also saw several grey and purple herons and lots of little bitterns and a great white egret.

Over in the Remolar, there was a group of 10 spoonbills visiting.  Sadly, after a rise in water levels, a lot of stilt nests have been washed away.  But they’re gamely copulating again.  A wasp nest is under construction in the suggestion box inside the hide.

After walking for ages along the beach (without approaching any nesting sites), came to a ruined building, the home of two great spotted cuckoos.  Not far off there was a small lagoon, and among the gulls were a flamingo, oystercatcher and grey plover.  It was late evening, very peaceful, and the sound of piping calls drifted over to us.

Warning about the Remolar: masses of ticks!  Best not sit on the grass.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on June 11, 2007, 14:01 PM
Excellent account Lucy.

Can you still only go to Cal Tet at the weekend?

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on June 12, 2007, 19:13 PM
Hi Nick,

Friday mornings are good for me.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on August 28, 2007, 13:31 PM
I spent a windy couple hours at Cal Tet three days ago. Not a great number and failed to the osprey but did see little, black-throated and great-crested grebes, and squacco and imperial herons (not greys, strangely) also spotted a black headed weaver Ploceus melanocephalus capitalis, an exotic escapee originally from Africa, a first for me.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on August 31, 2007, 12:54 PM
(not greys, strangely)

That’s because they’re all hanging out in the Remolar (more isolated than ever – the autovia has been duplicated, old bus stop has been eliminated.  A man getting off the bus told me he had to run back and forth over the autovia every day for 6 years, and gave me advice on how to do it!  The subway pass needs a canoe now anyway.)  Apart from lots of grey herons and egrets and little grebes bossing each other around, a group of 10 night herons have returned to their old dried branch.  The season is clearly changing. A marsh harrier was marauding on the outskirts, back from breeding.  (Where they go to breed, no one seems to know.)  Best of all were the constant apparitions of kingfishers, flying very close to the hide. Also strong presence of bee-eaters.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on November 09, 2007, 10:06 AM
I'm off with Lucy this midday to the Delta del Llobregat for what will be the second Catalan chapter meeting.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on November 10, 2007, 10:43 AM
It was one of those days when all the birds retreat to the furthest parts of the lagoon, far from the hides. There are avocets visiting the Delta at the moment, but they remained elusive. Saw lapwings, snipe, greylag geese, a meadow pipit and had a nice view of a marsh harrier as it hovered over a bush, before settling down next to a heron.  Also learnt how to distinguish between male and female kingfishers: females have reddish lower bills and males’ are uniformly dark.   The large numbers of winter birds haven’t arrived yet.  As mentioned in another thread, a warm autumn could be delaying usual migration.  It was a particularly warm sunny day, very nice for strolling out to the sea – we agreed that despite (or probably because of) the proximity of the airport the beach near El Prat is still one of the least spoilt in Catalunya.

Now I’m looking forward to the next meeting of the Catalan chapter, which Nick promises will be a trip to the Garraf.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lisa on November 11, 2007, 22:03 PM
Glad the Catalan chapter had a nice day birding. Jealous about the kingfishers  :P
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on January 22, 2008, 19:18 PM
Lucy (and anyone else of course!)

Just came across this Spanish page:

 Llobregat Delta Bird News  http://deltabirdnews.blogspot.es/

Looks interesting
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on January 22, 2008, 20:51 PM
Thanks Nick, very interesting.  I'd read that a group of cranes spent a few days in Cal Tet last December and am surprised there's no mention of them in the blog.  Perhaps they're not considered rare enough!  Wish I'd seen them.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on January 23, 2008, 01:52 AM
Looks like he's only just started. All his posts are from January.
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on February 02, 2008, 11:48 AM
Yesterday large numbers of Crag martins were swarming over Cal Tet, giving a spring-like atmosphere.  Bats must be venturing out too, as the remains of one were lying on the path – just a pink leg and some wing fragments. Some areas of reeds have been cleared, improving visibility from the hides.  Reed buntings and White wagtails were very abundant.   Also lots of Cormorants drying out their wings, and Black-headed gulls beginning to grow back their black heads. Whenever they and the lapwings filled the air you could be sure there was a Marsh harrier on the prowl.  Another sign was the hunched up herons suddenly stretching their long necks.  The dainty White-fronted goose and sturdy-looking Greylag goose that are spending winter here have bonded and seem inseparable.

(Also saw snipe, teal, buzzards, kingfishers, green woodpeckers, purple gallinules.)

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: Steve West on March 06, 2008, 12:06 PM
A visit to the Remolar reserve on Sunday morning produced some interesting observations: Audouin's Gull, a couple of Greater Flamingos, a Glossy Ibis, numerous Little Ringed Plover, Little Stints, a few Spotted Redshank, Penduline Tit calling, Moustached Warbler calling (but not seen) and on the sea a Velvet Scoter, two Balearic Shearwaters, Sandwich Terns, Gannets and a raft of Mediterranean Gulls in assorted plumages.

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: nick on March 11, 2010, 00:30 AM
Lucy, Mónica and I had a nice afternoon out in the Delta de Llobregat (Remolar) last Saturday (Or was it Sunday?...oh dear, I can't remember).

We also had a short walk inland from the motorway along the Llobregat River which was wild and fun. The below night heron was there (which I didn't see but the other two did).

These got big ticks:

Grey heron
Night heron
Little egret
Cattle egret
Little grebe
Common pochard
Marsh harrier
Black winged stilt
Ringed plover
Common sandpiper
Green sandpiper
Wood pigeon
House sparrow
White wagtail
Cetis warbler
Common swift
Common swallow
House martin
Crag martin
Penduline tit nest

No Purple swamp hens which was unusual
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on March 11, 2010, 08:10 AM
It was Saturday!

Lovely to see the first spring arrivals, though perhaps they should've waited another week

One more for the list: snipe
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on March 13, 2010, 17:38 PM
See here for a round up of bird guide Stephen Christopher's recent trips to the Llobregat Delta, with tons of photos.

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lisa on March 14, 2010, 07:37 AM
Thanks for that link Lucy, lovely to be taken back to one of my favourite places. It reminds me, though, that I came across a petition the other day against building something in the delta - not to do with airport expansion but something to do with Barca F.C. ?? Shopping centre?
Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lucy on March 14, 2010, 09:37 AM
They're planning un macro-complejo comercial, deportivo, hotelero y lúdico, which will be called el Parque del Barça on the adjoining piece of land.

The municipality of Viladecans cynically asserts they will aplicar políticas de desarrollo sostenible que permitan compatibilizar la preservación de las zonas naturales con el derecho de todos sus ciudadanos y ciudadanas a disfrutar del frente litoral del municipio.

They've had their eyes on this land for ages, and now Barça are in on the plan. 

Title: Re: Delta del Llobregat
Post by: lisa on March 14, 2010, 13:41 PM
Yeah, that's it http://salvemoliveretes.blogspot.com/ (http://salvemoliveretes.blogspot.com/)