Saturday, 22 June 2013

Barcelona, Spain

A four day break with my long suffering wife to celebrate our 21st Wedding Anniversary also provided a few birding opportunities. 
We departed London Heathrow at 09:32 BST on runway 9L, weather sunny & mild, wind very light noting
Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Skylark, Common Starling and Carrion Crow on verges while taxing to runway. We Arrived El Pratt Airport, Barcelona 10:30 CEST and took the airport bus to our hotel, Villa Emilia noting Common Swift, Feral Rock Dove,Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Common Starling and Monk Parakeet. Once checked in we headed off to La Rambla and Barcelona Port area where Yellow-legged Gull, Common Swift and House Sparrow were all noted. Later at the Museum of Art House Martin, Collared Dove, Common Magpie and many Monk Parakeet were all observed plus a single Clouded Yellow Butterfly.

                                            Yellow-legged Gull (subadult) at Barcelona Port.

Off to the church of the sacred family (Sagrada familia) at 10:00 in warm sunshine. Above the working cranes busily constructing the unfinished works a pair of Peregrine Falcon displayed, briefly resting on the crane tower before moving off. While watching the resident Common Swift frolicking overhead a larger bird appeared with a white belly, my first ever Alpine Swift . Then on to the Arc de Triomf and Le Parc de La Ciutadella  where  more Common and Alpine Swifts were observed drinking on the wing as they skimmed the surface of the small boat lake, the latter coming within feet of us as we drifted about in our boat. I also noted dozens of Monk Parakeets including a single bird wearing a neck medallion (used to study the dispersal of the Monk Parakeet population and any effect on crops etc). Other species observed included Little Egrets in flight (5), Greylag Goose (15), Mallard, Muscovy Duck (2), Western Jackdaw and Common Blackbird. Then a late afternoon visit to the Olympic Stadium of 1992 provided Blackcap, White Wagtail, Barn Swallow and a singing male Serin. Returning back to our hotel via the Barcelona  Port Cable Car we briefly visited the beach where many Yellow Legged Gull were noted.

                                                                    Sagrada familia

                                                 Alpine Swift at Le Parc de La Ciutadella
A day spent visiting Gaudi's works finishing off at Parc Guell. A wonderful place despite so many people enjoying themselves in the sunshine! With hundreds of Homo sapiens in one place the birds were unperturbed and seemed to be doing well as I noted a breeding pair of Common Blackbird taking food to the nest located inside a large hanging basket! In the canopy above Monk Parakeet, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, European Goldfinch and European Serin were all noted. Nearby on lawns adjacent the main road a pair of White Wagtail fed fledged young as another pair of  Common Blackbird collected food.  Overhead Common Swift, Alpine Swift and Barn Swallow busily hunted insects while a single Swallowtail Butterfly drifted by.

                                                      Monk Parakeets at Parc Guell
Our last day in Barcelona and we decided to head off in the morning to the mountain at Tibidabo. Taking the metro, then the bus and finally the funicular railway we arrived in glorious sunshine and were rewarded with absolutely stunning views across the city. Below in the pines Coal, Crested, Great and Long-tailed Tits were all observed while overhead Common Swift and House Martin perused flying insects. At around noon we headed back down the mountain and had lunch at Las Ramblas before ending up late afternoon at Catalunya Plaza for a well earned rest! Overhead a few Alpine Swift were noted while at the plaza hundreds of Feral Rock Dove and several Monk Parakeet were fed by admiring tourists. 

                                                    Monk Parakeet at Catalunya Plaza.

Species observed:-
1. Little Egret
2. Greylag Goose
3. Muscovy Duck
4. Mallard
5. Peregrine Falcon
6.Yellow-legged Gull
7. Feral Rock Dove
8. Woodpigeon
9. Collared Dove
10. Monk Parakeet
11. Alpine Swift
12. Common Swift
13. Barn Swallow
14. House Martin
15. White Wagtail
16. Common Blackbird
17. Blackcap
18. Sardinian Warbler
19. Coal Tit
20. Great Tit
21. Crested Tit
22. Long-tailed Tit
23. Common Magpie
24. Western Jackdaw
25. Common Starling
26. House Sparrow
27. European Goldfinch
28. European Serin

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