News, Trip Reports, etc

The Ebro Delta, Spain, winter/early spring (updated 1/2018)

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) Les Olles
 
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica), Les Olles

Ebro delta
 
Location of area covered

Spain; Ebro Delta January 2015 gallery

Spain; Ebro Delta March 2016 gallery

Spain; Ebro Delta March/April 2017 gallery

Spain; Ebro Delta December 2017 gallery

Covering 320 square kilometres the Delta del Ebro is the second largest coastal wetland in Spain after the Coto Donana, and became a Parque Natural in 1986. The statistics are impressive. 75,000 wildfowl and 30,000 waders winter here; about 95 species breed and over 330 species have been recorded.
The river Ebro is 928 kms long, the second longest on the Iberian peninsula. 60% of the delta lies at less than one metre above mean sea level (MSL) with certain points below MSL; with 30% 1 to 2 metres above, and only 10% 2 metres or more above MSL, it is as flat as deltas can be.
Principal land use is rice production. There are 210 square kms of rice fields and 70 square kms of freshwater wetlands/lagoons.
7,700 hectares are under Ramsar and SPA protection, with another 11,000 ha. covered by the Natura 2000 directives.
Population c60,000 - at 187 people per sq. km, over twice the Spanish average.

The rice growing cycle

Rice is sown between mid-April and the beginning of May, the fields are then left flooded under 5-10 cms of water. This water ultimately comes from the river Ebro.
After 15-20 days (towards the end of May) the seeds have produced plants. At this point the fields are dressed with herbicides to reduce weed growth.
Nitrogenous fertilizers are applied in June (and sometimes directly on to the soil before sowing).
The plants grow throughout June/July, when the water level is maintained at 15-20 cms.
At the beginning of September, water levels are reduced and harvesting begins, continuing until mid-October.
The fields are then left fallow from November to April, the rice stubble being ploughed back into the soil at some point during that period. Both 'wet ploughing' using special tractors, and 'dry ploughing' in the conventional way occurs.

With the heavy usage of chemicals clearly there are environmental problems. Drainage channels carry water from the flooded fields into the two large seawater bays – together with the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer residue. That said, apparently water quality has improved over the last decade, due largely to effective EU legislation.
The other less obvious threat is that of lead poisoning, particularly to wildfowl. Hunting is permitted on 57% of the delta, and produces the highest concentration of lead pellets found in any of the world's wetlands - up to 2,500,000 pellets per hectare in some areas. For more info see reference sources.

Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) L'Ampolla
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) l'Encanyissada
Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum) Les Olles










SITES VISITED

Some practical points;
  • Virtually all roads are badly pot-holed
  • Sign-posting on the delta is poor
  • Many unmade roads aren't on GPS sat-nav, however some are, and of course most of the surfaced roads are
  • Hunting, particularly at weekends and holiday periods, can be a problem in season. We saw decoys on flooded rice fields in January 2015

This area would generally lend itself well to birding by mountain bike.

Most sites we visited are covered by the books abbreviated below - see reference sources;

'WWBNES' – pages 205-212.
'Gosney' – pages 15-19.
'BGES' – pages 59-61.

Rice fields – general

Throughout the delta recently ploughed (wet) paddy fields can be teeming with birds in winter – herons, egrets, gulls, terns and waders. Fields that have just been wet-ploughed attract the greatest numbers, 2-3 days later they can be virtually birdless. Fields left with rice stubble are also good. October to early January is when the fields are at their best. From our visits of March 2016/spring 2017, they are dry from sometime in January through to mid-April (regardless of rainfall). The dry rice fields are virtually birdless even when freshly ploughed, concentrating birdlife on the freshwater and coastal sites.


Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) ad-summer Port del Fangar
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) Port del Fangar
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) Riet Vell










The delta north (north of the Ebro river);

L'Ampolla

Apart from a useful bookshop (see reference sources) and some nice fish restaurants, the harbour was ok for small numbers of gulls as long as the small fishing fleet is operating.

Les Olles lagoon

On our January 2015 visit there were plenty of decoys and not much else. Visits here in March 2016/spring 2017 were more productive (no hunting), depending on water levels, and most of the decoys had gone (early March 2016). Good late afternoon/evening gull roost. Quite good December 2017.

Since our visit of January 2015 this site in particular seems to have been 'adopted' by several semi-resident Dutch twitchers, as has the delta generally. This means there is a constant stream of up-to-date observations on ornitho.cat - good news, although as with all 'real-time' recording a small minority of the observations lack credibility. This appears to have created more interest from the Spanish birders themselves. One or two observers update the website almost daily, and even if they don't count or estimate, it is always interesting. All part of the competitive spirit I guess...

Port del Fangar

There is vehicular access along tracks to the south side of the bay of Fangar, via the unclassified road from L'Ampolla to the beach at Platja de la Marquesa. Starting at Lo Golero, just east of Les Olles lagoon, to the Casa de Pages Mirani on the TV-3541, about 3 kms east of the beach. A new reserve, Illa de Mar, is now open (December 2017), but is almost totally reedbed; there is some open water at the eastern (Port del Fangar) end.
Excellent for waders, gulls, terns, wildfowl and flamingos.

Punta del Fangar

Access by foot from the car park at Platja de la Marquesa. We have never ventured along this wind-blown sand-spit, preferring the relative shelter of the Port del Fangar. There is no vehicular access beyond the car park.
A drivable track leading south-east from the car park runs parallel to the beach and ends at the Estacio de bombieg del pla (pumping station) - occasionally good in winter for gulls.

El Canal Vell (Bassa de l'Estella)

No access to this freshwater lagoon during any of our visits. A lookout tower is visible from the nearest point along the unclassified road Cami del Toll from Deltebre to Ruimar. With extensive drainage works in progress since 2011, apparently access isn't envisaged in the near future.

El Garxal

A saline lagoon at the mouth of the river Ebro. Distant views from two hides (scope required), a good site for wildfowl, herons and ibises.

Deltebre

There is a newly constructed bridge over the river Ebro between Deltebre and Sant Jaume d'Enveja, making the drive to the southern delta much easier.
There is an information centre here (signposted), well worth visiting, with good free maps available.

On the northern outskirts of town there's a large Lidl supermarket (signposted) - the only decent size supermarket on the delta. From inside you can weigh your bananas whilst watching cattle egrets in the car park...

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) Riet Vell
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) juvenile Riet Vell
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) Riet Vell









The delta south (south of the Ebro river)

l'Encanyissada

The largest freshwater site on the delta, and the best. Five observation towers and an information centre at la Casa de Fusta. There is access all around the lagoon either on foot or by vehicle, the north side west of la Casa de Fusta on foot only. A mountain bike would be very handy here.

The reserve has recently expanded to the east of Mirador de l'Embut, with two more parcels of reedbed/lagoons and two hides and more cycle tracks. The lagoon to the south, El Clot, is a SEO reserve.

A superb area for herons, wildfowl, terns and warblers.

La Tancada

This brackish lagoon has a large hide on the eastern side that is best in the mornings.
The nearby Sant Antoni salinas (disused) were disappointing on our visit of January 2015, although in March 2016/spring 2017 it was more productive, especially for waders and terns.
This part of the coast, towards (and including) l'Eucalyptus can be good for migrants in early spring.

Wildfowl, waders, gulls, terns and flamingos.

Ports del Alfacs

The Punta de la Banya is linked to the delta by a sand-spit, el Trabucador, a drivable causeway starting near La Tancada. This is 5 kms long, on sand compacted by the lorries that pass to and from the working salinas at the end. Here there is parking, no access to the salinas, but a walk along the beach to a tower hide and eventually a lighthouse. Anywhere along the causeway can be good for waders, terns and gulls in winter/early spring. In March 2016 access was impossible for ordinary cars after heavy rain flooded the sandy track. Lorries still made the drive to the salinas at the end. After a couple of drier days we made it to the Punta without a problem. This time we walked to the tower hide from the car park, a lovely walk along the beach in the right weather but not overly productive bird-wise.

No access beyond the hide to the lighthouse after 1st March (nesting gulls and terns).

Riet Vell SEO reserve

Just east of Els Muntells on the TV-3405 this is a SEO reserve growing organic rice on 50 ha of fields, and a freshwater lagoon with a hide. The centre here was closed at the time of our January 2015 visit, but the reserve open; see reference sources. In March 2016 we found the centre open on one occasion. Donations to keep this wonderful 'oasis in the desert' open are much appreciated. Quite simply, no chemicals and loads of birds... including frequent falls of migrants in early spring.

Illa de Buda/L'Alfacada

Near to where the river enters the sea, on the south side, is the beach Platja de Migjorn. Take the unclassified road east out of Sant Jaume d'Enveja, this road runs alongside the Canal de la Dreta de l'Ebre for several kms. Just before the beach is an excellent tower hide giving good views over the Illa de Buda to the north-east and l'Alfacada to the south-west. There is no access to either, both have saline lagoons and saltmarsh, however, with a 'scope many birds can be seen from here.
This area and the paddy fields to the west had the highest concentration of hunting activity when we were there in January 2015, but none at all by March 2016.

In March 2016 we noted a large area just north-west of the tower hide had been made into a reserve with lagoons, hides and parking. Enquiries made indicated that this might be opening this year - here's hoping...
PS... unfortunately not. December 2017 and it was still closed, but tantalizing views of the reserve can be had from the road.

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) Les Olles
Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata) Port del Fangar
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) Port del Fangar









Els Ports/Cardó Massif

In January 2015 and March 2016 we visited several sites in the mountains that form the backdrop to the delta. The flat landscape of the delta can get a little monotonous after a few days, and these sites provide the perfect contrast. All are easy to access, especially if staying at L'Ampolla or Tortosa.

See Birding in spain website for detailed access info, etc for these sites.

The Massifs of Cardó and Boix; Pintures rupestres

Accessed from the TV-3022 between El Perelló and Rasquera, and therefore very easy from L'Ampolla. Details here
Nice cave paintings, and habitat that shouts birds - on all visits we saw few! Obviously better in May/June, but the lack of residents like Blue Rock Thrush, Griffons or Black Wheatear, etc, was a little puzzling.

The Massifs of Cardó and Boix; Cardó Spa

Accessed from the village of Rasquera. Details here
Beautiful scenery and again great mountain habitat that looks very 'birdy' - but again on our visit of January 2015 we saw virtually none of the resident upland species. Great views though!

Els Ports; From Horta Sant Joan

Accessed from the T-330 at the junction with the T-334 near the village of Horta de Sant Joan. Details here
On our visit of January 2015 we stopped at the viewing point and then took a footpath up to the Roques de Benet. Stunning scenery a bit like the American west, and we did see a few mountain and woodland species, but it was hard work.

Els Ports; From Tortosa to Mont Caro

Accessed from the T-342 between Roquetes and Reguers, just west of Tortosa. Details here
Not for the faint-hearted or those suffering from vertigo, this one. The road runs out of armco the nearer you get to the top!
We visited in March 2016. At the top of Mt Caro is a communications complex, a 'massive' view... and not much else on our visit. There were a few of the woodland species mostly seen at altitude here, but I really wouldn't recommend frequent stops on this road from a safety angle.
We dropped down to Caro refuge where we (actually I...) made the wrong decision: to continue on, driving the 'track' west to Fredes - thus emerging on the other side of the massif. THIS ROUTE IS A 4WD ROUTE ONLY - BEWARE! It was very lucky for us that we made it through to Fredes after nearly three hours, partly on a dried up stream bed. Fortunately there had been no rain here for months - it rained all the next day. We passed just one Landrover going the other way, to be stranded up here would not be good. To walk/camp this route would take a couple of days, one way. We did see some nice things, e.g. hundreds of Siskins, a few Crossbills, etc... but we won't be repeating the experience any time soon.
In conclusion, drive to the top of the mountain and return by the same route - if you consider it worthwhile. Wintering Wallcreeper and Alpine Accentor are occasionally recorded there.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) La Tancada
Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) l'Encanyissada
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) l'Encanyissada










ACCOMMODATION

Finca Gamundi, Carrer Garidells 11, Urb' Meligó, L'Ampolla 43895, Tarragona province, Spain.

REFERENCE SOURCES

'WWBNES' - Where to Watch Birds in Northern & Eastern Spain. Michael Rebane & Ernest Garcia. Helm, 2008.

'Gosney' - Finding Birds in Northern Spain. Dave Gosney. Gostours, 1996.

'BGES' - A Birdwatching Guide to Eastern Spain. Malcolm Palmer/Luis Fidel. Arlequin, 2001.

Bookshop - Llibreria Avelina SCP, Av. Barceloneta, 14, 43895 L'Ampolla.

Map – 'Parc Natural del Delta de l'Ebre. Birdwatching & BTT'. Scale 1:30,000. Superb map available from the above bookshop.

Map – Michelin. Costa Daurada, no. 148, ZOOM Espana series. Scale 1: 150,000. Available from the above bookshop.

Birding in spain website

Riet Vell website

Reservoir Birds website - Rare birds in Spain

Arroz del delta website - Rice production info

BirdLife factsheet - Use search engine

ornitho.cat - Visionature style 'real-time' observations.


Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon) l'Encanyissada
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) 2W L'Ampolla
Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus) female l'Encanyissada












BIRDS - 168 species. 12 raptors, 30 waders, 6 gulls, 5 terns.

  • 'Common', 'scarce', etc, refers to our observations at that time of the year; it may or may not reflect the true status/abundance throughout the year – see reference sources.
  • 'Common on rice fields...' etc normally refers to January sightings when the fields are 'wet'. In March/early April the fields remain drained of water - see 'The rice growing cycle' above


Mute Swan Cygnus olor - 1 adult La Tancada 12/2017.

Greylag Goose Anser anser – 4 Illa de Buda 3/1/15, 1 Port del Fangar 4-5/1/15.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna – Common on freshwater lagoons and saltmarsh in winter. March 2016 - 80+ Punta de la Banya 17/3/16. 80+ La Tancada 12/2017.

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope – 6 La Tancada 3/1/15. March 2016 - 4 l'Encanyissada 9/3/16. 3 L'Alfacada 28/3/17, c20 El Garxal 4/4/17. 70+ l'Encanyissada 5/12/17, 50+ Illa de Buda 6/12/17.

Gadwall Anas strepera - Common on freshwater lagoons in winter. March 2016/spring 2017 - common El Garxal, otherwise scarce throughout. 1 in Fangar Bay 5/4/17.

Eurasian Teal Anas crecca - Common on freshwater lagoons in winter. March 2016 - scarce throughout. Not seen spring 2017. 500+ Illa de Buda 6/12/17.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos - Common on all 'wetlands', including flooded paddy fields. Also on the sea; 300+ Port del Fangar 5/1/15.

Northern Pintail Anas acuta – 1 Port del Fangar 5/1/15, 2 (1 m, 1 f) La Tancada 6/1/15. 2 (1m, 1 f) Riet Vell 28-30/3/17. 2 males Riet Vell 5/12/17.

Garganey Anas querquedula - March 2016 - 2 m, 1 f. Trabucador causeway 19/3/16. 2 (1 m, 1f) Riet Vell 28/3/17, 2 (1 m, 1f) El Garxal 4/4/17.

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata - Common on freshwater lagoons winter/spring.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina - Common on freshwater lagoons winter/spring.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina - Scarce. 3 males l'Encanyissada 5/12/17.

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra - 1 female Trabucador causeway 6/12/17.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator – 7 Port dels Alfacs 3/1/15. March 2016 - 1 male Trabucador causeway 19/3/16.

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer - 1 juvenile Trabucador causeway 8/12/17.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis - Common on freshwater lagoons winter/spring.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus - Common on freshwater lagoons and the sea, winter/spring.

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis – A few on the sea (Port dels Alfacs), also on freshwater lagoons, mainly winter. 8+ l'Encanyissada 6/1/15. March 2016 - 10-30 La Tancada throughout. Not seen spring 2017.

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus – 5+ Port del Alfacs 6/1/15.

Northern Gannet Morus bassanus - Fairly common offshore in winter. March 2016 - 2 Platja del Serrallo 15/3/16.

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo – Common, widespread all visits.

Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris – 2 in flight l'Encanyissada 2/1/15.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax – 3 juveniles la Casa de Fusta 6/1/15.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides – 1 l'Encanyissada 2/1/15 and 6/1/15. Fairly common spring 2017.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis – Common, widespread all visits.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta – Common, widespread all visits.

Great Egret Egretta alba – Common, widespread in winter. Scarce by April (2017).

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea – Common, widespread all visits..

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea - March 2016 - 1 adult l'Encanyissada 17/3/16. Common spring 2017.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia - 1 adult near Sant-Jaume 5/12/17, 14 there 9/12/17.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus – Common, large flocks (1000+) on rice paddies (winter) and reedbed sites. March 2016/spring 2017 - confined to reedbed sites.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia - March 2016 - 2 ads. L'Alfacada 9/3/16.

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus – Common, widespread winter/spring. 1000+ La Tancada all visits January 2015.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) Port del Fangar
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) ad-winter Port del Fangar
Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) dark imm. Trabucador causeway
 


Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus - >10 Els Ports 8/1/15. March 2016 - 15+ Mont Caro 13/3/16. 18 Toscar (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus - March 2016 - A passage of 4 over accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16, 1 l'Encanyissada 17/3/16. 1 L'Ampolla 27/3/17, 1 l'Encanyissada 28/3/17.

Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus – Common, widespread all visits.

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus – 1 f. Platja del Serrallo 3/1/15. 1f. La Tancada 4/4/17.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus - 1 over accom. L'Ampolla 2/4/17.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo – Occasional sightings (delta) Jan. 2015. March 2016 - 1 near Santa Barbara 13/3/16. Occasional sightings (delta) spring 2017. Fairly common 12/2017.

Booted Eagle Aquila pennata - March 2016 - 1 pale morph ad. Port del Fangar 8/3/16,1 pale morph ad. l'Encanyissada 17/3/16. Several seen spring 2017. Fairly common 12/2017.

Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata - March 2016 - Six sightings over accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16. One definite pair displaying. Presumably resident pair(s) drawn out from nearby mountains by passage of Short-toed Eagles and bright sunny weather.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus – 1 la Casa de Fusta 6/1/15. 1 adult La Tancada 5/12/17, 1 ad. Port del Fangar 6-9/12/17.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus – Common, widespread all visits.

Merlin Falco columbarius - March 2016 - 1 female-type l'Encanyissada 19/3/16.

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus – 2 (1 adult, 1 juvenile) near Els Muntells 9/1/15, chasing a Barn Owl. 1 Port del Fangar 6/4/17 caught a stilt. 1 ssp. brookei Illa de Buda 6/12/17.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus - Common at all reedbed sites in winter. Completely silent and not recorded spring 2017.

Little Crake Porzana parva - 1 f. Les Olles 27-28/3/17.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus – Common, widespread all visits.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio – Common at all reedbed sites, winter and spring.

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra - Common at all reedbed sites, also on salt water, all visits.

Common Crane Grus grus – c50 over Les Olles lagoon 1/1/15, 2 over l'Encanyissada 2/1/15. c45 over l'Encanyissada 6/4/17. 28 near Ullals de Baltasar 6/12/17, 53 there 8/12/17, 33 there 9/12/17.

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus - March 2016 - 1 ad-summer Port del Fangar 16/3/16, 3 Trabucador causeway 19/3/16. Fairly common Les Olles/Port del Fangar spring 2017. 1 El Garxal 4/4/17.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus - March 2016 - Small groups; common on freshwater sites by 20/3/16. Very common spring 2017.

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta - March 2016 - >100 Illa de Buda most visits, occasional Riet Vell and Les Olles winter/spring, 40+ El Garxal 16/3/16, 5+ Punta de la Banya 17/3/16.

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola - c30 L'Alfacada 7/4/17.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius - March 2016 - 2 on flooded rice field behind Riet Vell throughout, 1 Riet Vell 17/3/16. 1 Les Olles 5/4/17.

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula - Common on coast and paddy fields in winter, coastal in spring.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus – Fairly common on coast, c100 Trabucador causeway 2/1/15.

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria - 2 with Lapwings near Sant-Jaume 8/12/17.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola - Common on coast, winter and spring.

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus – Common in winter, large flocks on rice paddies. March 2016 - occasional individuals/small groups. Spring 2017 scarce.

Eurasian Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) Les Olles
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) Les Olles
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) Port del Fangar
 


Red Knot Calidris canutus - 28 Port del Fangar 5/4/17.

Sanderling Calidris alba – Common on coast winter and spring.

Little Stint Calidris minuta - Common on coast, sometimes rice paddies in winter.

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima – 1 adult-winter L'Ampolla 9/1/15.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea - March 2016 - 1 ad-winter Port del Fangar 16/3/16. Fairly common Port del Fangar spring 2017; 50+ 5/4/17.

Dunlin Calidris alpina – Large flocks on coast, also sometimes on paddy fields (winter).

Ruff Philomachus pugnax – 10+ on paddy field 3/1/15, 6+ on paddy field 5/1/15. March 2016 - 1 L'Alfacada 9/3/16, 14 Riet Vell 17/3/16, 3 La Tancada 19/3/16. 14 Port del Fangar (reserve) 5/4/17.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago – Common on rice stubble (winter), and reedbed sites. March 2016/spring 2017 - common in wet ditches and canals, all freshwater sites. 1 Pintures rupestres 29/3/17... presumably on passage!

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa – c70 on paddy field near Els Muntells 9/1/15. March 2016 - 2 Riet Vell 9/3/16, 1 flooded rice field behind Riet Vell 19/3/16.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica – Numerous Trabucador causeway all visits, c50 Port del Fangar 7/1/15. March 2016 - 10-12 Port del Fangar throughout. c20 Port del Fangar 5/4/17.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus - 1 Port del Fangar 5/4/17.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata – Small flocks on coast, also sometimes on rice stubble (winter). 50+ Port del Fangar 5/1/15, c70 Port del Fangar 7/1/15. March 2016 - numerous Port del Fangar. Spring 2017 - 3 only, Port del Fangar throughout.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos – Common, widespread winter and spring.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus – Common, widespread winter/March 2016. Not recorded spring 2017.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus – Small groups on paddy fields (winter). March 2016 - occasional in wet canals. 4 El Garxal 4/4/17.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia – Common, widespread winter and Spring.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola – Common, widespread winter and Spring.

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes - 1 l'Encanyissada 5/12/17, found by Spanish birder the previous day.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus – Common, widespread winter and pSpring.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres - Common on coast winter and Spring.

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus - March 2016 - 1 dark imm. Trabucador causeway 17/3/16.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus – Very common, widespread. Huge numbers on flooded paddy fields in winter.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei – Can be scarce in winter (500+ pairs breed here). March 2016 - more numerous (mainly coastal). Spring 2017 - fairly common. Presumably most move south in winter.

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus – Less numerous than expected in winter. >30 Trabucador causeway every visit throughout, occasional on rice fields. March 2016 - much more numerous throughout.; a regular evening roost of >400 Les Olles. Spring 2017 - occasional large gatherings Les Olles, etc. Presumably many move south in winter.

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii – Quite scarce in winter. The Ebro delta has the world's largest colony of breeding Audouin's Gulls – over 15,000 pairs. March 2016/spring 2017 - much more numerous throughout, common. Presumably most move south in winter.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus – Common, widespread winter and spring. Good numbers on flooded paddy fields in winter.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis – Very common every visit, widespread on coast and rice paddies (winter). March 2016 - 150+ Sant Carles de la Rapita.

Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica – 1 (probable adult) on a paddy field near Platja del Fangar. 2 Port del Fangar 5/1/15, 2 l'Encanyissada 6/1/15. 2 Port del Fangar 5/4/17, 11 L'Alfacada area 7/4/17, including signs of possible breeding on a new island.

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia – 3 (2 ads, 1 1W) Trabucador causeway 2/1/15, 3 (2 ads, 1 1W) Port del Fangar 7/1/15 – presumably the same birds. March 2016 - 5-8 La Tancada throughout, 1 Port del Fangar 16/3/16 (high tide). 1-3 Les Olles spring 2017, 2 Port del Fangar 5/4/17. 1 La Tancada 5/12/17.

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis – Common on coast and freshwater lagoons in winter. March 2016 - 70+ Port del Fangar on high tide. Spring 2017 - scarce, mainly offshore, c25 El Garxal 4/4/17.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo - 3 L'Alfacada 7/4/17, a possible pair on a new island.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida – Winter 2015, Port del Fangar only; 5 4/1/15, c20 5/1/15, 3+ 7/1/15, 15+ 9/1/15. March 2016/spring 2017 - quite common (mainly coastal). 40+ l'Encanyissada 6/4/17, passage of 80+ L'Alfacada 7/4/17.

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) l'Encanyissada
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) Les Olles
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) 1W L'Ampolla
 


Feral Pigeon Columba livia domestica – Common in towns.

Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus – 3 Els Ports 8/1/15. March 2016 - a few seen in mountains 13/3/16. Fairly common Els Ports 12/2017.

Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto – Common, widespread.

Barn Owl Tyto alba – 1 near Els Muntells 9/1/15.

Little Owl Athene noctua – 2 heard L'Ampolla throughout (Jan. 2016), occasionally heard there spring 2017.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus - March 2016 - 1 Trabucador causeway 19/3/16.

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus - 6 Les Olles 2/4/17.

Alpine Swift Apus melba - 14 L'Ampolla 27/3/17.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis – Common, widespread in winter only; absolutely anywhere with water. Not recorded at all spring 2017.

Hoopoe Upupa epops – Occasional sightings in winter; widespread. March 2016/spring 2017 - more numerous, average 2 per day.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major – 1 Els Ports 8/1/15. 2 Els Ports 7/12/17.

Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens – c20 sand dunes Platja del Serrallo 3/1/15. 1 El Garxal sand dunes 5/1/15. March 2016 - small group >6 La Tancada throughout visit. Spring 2017 - 6+ near Eucalyptus 30/3/17.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata – Thinly dispersed but widespread in winter. March 2016/spring 2017 - common, widespread everywhere.

Woodlark Lullula arborea – 1 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016 - 1 Pintures rupestres 7/3/16, 10+ olive groves behind accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16. 2 Pintures rupestres 29/3/17.

Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis - March 2016 - 2+ fields, Port del Fangar, one or two small groups seen thereafter on dry fields. c25 near Ullals de Baltasar 8/12/17.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia - March 2016 - Scarce at first, common by 20/3/16. 30+ Les Olles 28/3/17, occasional thereafter spring 2017.

Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris – Common, widespread winter only (on delta).

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica - March 2016 - Scarce at first, very common by 20/3/16 and spring 2017.

Common House Martin Delichon urbicum - March 2016/spring 2017 - Very common throughout.

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica - March 2016 - 4+ Les Olles 8/3/16, 1 Les Olles 11/3/16, 3 Port del Fangar 16/3/16. 4 L'Ampolla hinterland 1/4/17.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis – Common, widespread, particularly on rice paddies in winter.

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta - Common, widespread, particularly on rice paddies in winter.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava - March 2016 - 2 Riet Vell 15/3/16. Reasonable flocks spring 2017, particularly Port del Fangar area, c20 El Garxal 4/4/17.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea – 1 rice paddies 2/1/15, 1 L'Ampolla 8/1/15, 1 rice paddies near Els Muntells 9/1/15. March 2016 - scarce but widespread. Not recorded spring 2017. Fairly common 12/2017.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba – Very common, widespread in winter, less so in spring.

Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes - March 2016 - 2+ Mont Caro 13/3/16. 1 Pintures rupestres 29/3/17. 1 Pauls (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

European Robin Erithacus rubecula – Not uncommon in suitable habitat (winter). March 2016 - a fall of 6+ La Tancada 19/3/16. Another fall (3+ each visit) Eucalyptus area spring 2017.

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica – Fairly common throughout, rice paddies and marginal land in winter. March 2016 - mainly reedbeds. Spring 2017 - not recorded.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros – Common, widespread (winter). March 2016 - 8+ olive groves behind accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16 (fall), 15+ La Tancada 19/3/16; a fall with the thrushes, etc. Spring 2017 - numbers low, mainly Eucalyptus area.

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus - March 2016 - 1 m. Riet Vell 15/3/16, 1 m. La Tancada 19/3/16. 2 m. Riet Vell, 1 m. Eucalyptus 30/3/17, 1 m. L'Ampolla acomm. 1/4/17, c3 Riet Vell 4/4/17.

European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola – Common, widespread in winter. Not recorded spring 2017.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe - 1 female-type near Eucalyptus 30/3/17.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius - 1 male Aldover (Els Ports) 7/12/17, 1 male Cap Roig 9/12/17.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus - March 2016 - 4 Riet Vell 19/3/16; part of a fall of thrushes, etc.

Common Blackbird Turdus merula – Quite scarce but widespread in suitable habitat (winter). March 2016/spring 2017 - much more numerous; a fall of 5+ La Tancada 19/3/16.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos – 3+ Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016 - much more numerous, with one or two 'falls'; 10+ La Tancada 19/3/16. Not recorded spring 2017. 10+ Els Ports 7/12/17.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus – 2 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016 - 1 Mont Caro 13/3/16. 1 L'Ampolla hinterland 1/4/17 and 8/4/17. 1 Cap Roig 9/12/17.

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti – Common all visits in suitable habitat.

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis – Common all visits in suitable habitat.

Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon – Fairly common but typically difficult to view. Not recorded 2016.

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans - A small fall spring 2017, Riet Vell, Les Olles, El Garxal, etc.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala – Common all visits in suitable habitat.

Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla – Thinly dispersed in winter. Common spring 2017. Common Els Ports 12/2017.

Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli - Spring 2017; first noted (1) near wind turbine, El Perello, 29/3/17, also 1 Riet Vell 4/4/17.

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita – Common, widespread all visits. Often huge numbers in winter.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus - Spring 2017; A fall of 5+ Eucalyptus/Riet Vell 4/4/17, 1 L'Alfacada 7/4/17.

Common Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla – 2 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016 - common in mountains. Occasional in suitable habitat spring 2017, 12/2017.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) l'Encanyissada
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Trabucador causeway
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) Les Olles
 


Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus - March 2016 - 2+ Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Crested Tit Parus cristatus - March 2016 - 3+ Mont Caro 13/3/16. 2 Els Ports 7/12/17.

Coal Tit Parus ater - March 2016 - Common Mont Caro 13/3/16. 10+ Els Ports 7/12/17.

Eurasian Blue Tit Parus caeruleus - 1 Pauls (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Great Tit Parus major – 1 L'Ampolla 1/1/15, 1+ Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016 - 1 olive groves behind accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16. 2 Mont Caro 13/3/16. Spring 2017; 1 garden of accom, occasional L'Ampolla hinterland. 3+ Els Ports 7/12/17.

Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea - 2 Pauls (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla - March 2016 - 2+ olive groves behind accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16. 3+ Mont Caro 13/3/16. Spring 2017 often heard L'Ampolla hinterland.

Eurasian Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus – Fairly common but typically difficult to view.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator - 2 (m, f.) Eucalyptus area 4/4/17.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius – 2 Cardó Spa 8/1/15. March 2016 - scattered sightings, mostly in mountains. March 2016 1+ Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Common Magpie Pica pica – Common, widespread all visits.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone – 2 Els Ports 8/1/15. 2 Mont Caro 13/3/16. 1 Toscar (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Northern Raven Corvus corax – 2 Els Ports 8/1/15. 4 Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor – Common in towns and on delta, all visits.

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris – Common on rice paddies in huge flocks in winter, often roosting in nearby reedbeds.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus – Common, widespread all visits.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus – Locally common on delta, all visits, also L'Ampolla hinterland. 80+ sheep pen south of Sant Jaume 15/3/16, 20+ cattle pen La Tancada 15/3/16.

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs – Common in suitable habitat, olive groves etc, all visits. March 2016 - huge numbers Mont Caro 13/3/16.

European Serin Serinus serinus – Common, widespread all visits.

European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris – Common, widespread all visits.

European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis – Common, widespread all visits.

European Siskin Carduelis spinus - March 2016 - 100's locally in mountains, Mont Caro 13/3/16. 4 Ullals de Baltasar 6/12/17.

Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina – 3 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15. March 2016/spring 2017 - more numerous, occasional small groups >10 on dry fields.

Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra - March 2016 - 2+ Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes - c6 Pauls (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus - March 2016 - 8+ around pond/wheat fields behind accom. L'Ampolla 12/3/16. 1 Mont Caro 13/3/16. Spring 2017; occasional L'Ampolla hinterland. 2 Toscar (Els Ports) 7/12/17.

Common Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus – Common all reedbed sites in winter only.

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra - 2 near Eucalyptus 28/3/17, 1 L'Ampolla hinterland 1/4/17.


OTHER OBSERVATIONS


(?)Daubenton's Bat Myotis daubentonii – 1 flying around museum, la Casa de Fusta 6/1/15.

Red Fox Vulpes vulpes – 3 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15.

Spanish Ibex Capra pyrenaica – 1 male Els Ports 8/1/15. March 2016 - 3 Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris – 1 Pintures rupestres 8/1/15.

Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

Perez's / Graf's Hybrid Frog Rana perezi / Rana kl. grafi

European Pond Terrapin Emys orbicularis


Swallowtail Papilio machaon - 2-3 seen March 2016. Common spring 2017.

Spanish Festoon Zerynthia rumina - 1 L'Ampolla hinterland 12/3/16.

Moroccan Orange Tip Anthocharis beliaMont - 1 male Caro 13/3/16. 1 male Wind turbine site El Perello 29/3/17.

Clouded Yellow Colias crocea – Thinly dispersed throughout. Fairly common spring 2017.

Cleopatra Gonepteryx cleopatra - 3+ Wind turbine site El Perello 29/3/17.

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni - 1 male Mont Caro 13/3/16.

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui - Several seen spring 2017.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta - Several seen March 2016. Common spring 2017.

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria - In suitable habitat, spring 2017.

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera - Several seen March 2016/spring 2017.

Provencal Hairstreak Tomares ballus - 4-5 seen L'Ampolla hinterland spring 2017.

Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus - 1 Ullals de Baltasar 2/4/17.

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus - 2-3 seen March 2016.

Panoptes Blue Pseudophilotes panoptes - 6+ Wind turbine site El Perello 29/3/17.

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus - 1 male L'Ampolla hinterland 1/4/17.

Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) near El Perelló
Fritillaria lusitanica near El Perelló
Tropidopola cylindrica cylindrica at Ullals de Baltasar
 


Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum - 2-3 seen March 2016.

Silver-Y Autographa gamma - grassy places, spring 2017.


Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans - several sites spring 2017.

Goblet-marked Damselfly Erythromma lindenii - 1 male Ullals de Baltasar 2/4/17, 4 there 6/4/17.

Vagrant Emperor Hemianax ephippiger - Fairly common, all habitats spring 2017.

Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii - 1 male imm. Port del Fangar 6/4/17.


Egyptian Locust Anacridium aegyptium - 1 Ullals de Baltasar 2/4/17.

Grasshopper sp. Tropidopola cylindrica cylindrica - 2 Ullals de Baltasar 2/4/17.


Western Honey Bee Apis mellifera


Fritillaria sp. Fritillaria lusitanica - Hills above El Perello.

Coastal (Sea) Medick Medicago marina