Gallery 1: Alex Vargas

25th April - 2nd May 2007

180 Species

birding in spain gallery 1 alex camp nou photo

I accomplished so far beyond my expectations and had so much fun and wonderful birds not only the migrating species but a whole lot of lifers for me!  Stephen really knows his birds and the terrain to find them.  He can tell you very interesting details and the trip is rich on info pouring out from his experience and severe dedication to what he does and, obviously, enjoys the most.

He is an amazing guide and will make you find amazing birds to lead towards an unforgettable memory. His lovely wife, Anna, and the beautiful baby, Jordi, are the perfect complement for such a nice guy.

Thanks Stephen, everything was great and thanks again for being so helpful and patient with my photographic rhythm!

Forca Barca!!!

Alex Vargas
is a bird guide and project worker with 20 yrs experience in Costa Rica, Latin America and The Caribbean

birding in spain gallery 1 barn swallow photo

25th April 2007 - The Ebro Delta

birding in spain gallery 1 collared pratincole photo

Wow! So many cool looking birds at L’Encanyissada.  A flock of Greater Flamingos feeding, a Purple Heron hiding and pictures of Zitting Cisticolas and Black-winged Stilts up close. And a Barn Swallow so close I can see all details of its face today in my screen!

I really enjoyed the moment the tractors were moving the soil for a plantation. I couldn’t believe the quantity of birds chasing for a fresh worm.

Collared Pratincole

One I photograph there was the shy Black-headed Gull fighting to keep its track clean of Little and Cattle Egrets.

After a great lunch we headed to the beach.  One of the best there was the Audouin’s Gull.  I also got good pictures for the Slender-billed Gulls.  I really enjoyed a Eurasian Oystercatcher and delighted my self with its beauty through my binoculars.

On the road - just like that - I photograph a Collared Pratincole (what an awesome bird) and a nice summer plumage Squacco Heron.  We found several Glossy Ibis and I got a shot with a Wood Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover and a Grey Heron and caught some Eurasian Spoonbills flying near us.



birding in spain white-winged tern photo gallery 1

27th April 2007 - Aiguamolls de L'Emporda

birding in spain white stork photo gallery 1

I got nice shots on the reeds to the Cetti’s Warbler and the cool singing Common Nightingale.  We spent our morning in a hide that resulted so productive with everything from a Marsh Harrier soaring to a sleepy Northern Shoveler.  I enjoy so much that hide and caught good images of the Mute Swan (6 beautiful chicks) and the majestic Great-crested Grebe.

This day was very good for me not only for many new lifers but because I had good close ups to birds found the day before and that’s always good.

White Stork
White-winged Tern

After lunch we got great birds like the Short-toed Eagle (right above us), Crested Lark, Pied Flycatcher and Stone Curlew among many others.

I got cool photos of several birds but my favorites are the flying shots of the heavy and amazing White Stork!

birding in spain gallery 1 great crested grebe photo

I live in Thailand and never before saw a Spotted Redshank on summer plumage - stunning, all dark and mysterious - seemed like someone else indeed!

Stephen was so pleased (imagine me then) by the first sight of the season to the White-winged Terns.

birding in spain bee-eater photo gallery 1

28th April 2007 - The Steppes

birding in spain jackdaw photo gallery 1

The sun was coming into the cloudy morning and it was a spectacular scenario.  A group of black guys so high up - Red-billed Choughs - and later we found them closer to detail their long red bill and pink legs.

We had some really cool views... the Red-legged Partridge, so colorful, running high speed on the road, the Little Owl on top of old buildings, the Little Bustard that makes an incredible whistle with its wings as flying...


...and the mighty Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, to me top of the sights for the morning and one of the most amazing ones of my entire trip.

We approached a stream and were very successful there: Green Woodpecker, Spotless Starling, Bonelli’s Warbler and Common Buzzard among many others.  In the middle of lunch Stephen said to look at the scope for a minute… a beautiful Cirl Bunting, with so much light and wonderful colors. I managed pictures of the Jackdaw with nesting materials, the exotic European Hoopoes and many Corn Buntings.  I got really close shots to the European Bee-eater while we approached using the car as a hide. Thank you so much for that one Stephen!

I enjoyed a lot the Tawny Pipit, Calandra Lark, Southern Grey Shrike and the Lesser Kestrel, simply glowing in a fence right in the middle of the field… wow, what a stunning! We also found the first European Roller of the season for Stephen, a Red-rumped Swallow and a cool Eurasian Hobby.

more Steppes below...

birding in spain juvenile night heron photo gallery 1
birding in spain wood sandpiper photo gallery 1

29th April 2007 - Llobregat Delta

Another wetland site with so much activity.  I was amazed of how, being so close to the airport, was so productive for my photography.  While sharing Stephen’s cookies & coffee, I got some really nice close ups to birds like Little Grebe, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow Wagtail (M. f. flava), Curlew Sandpiper, Gadwall, Common Shelduck, Pied Avocet and one of my favorites, the Northern Lapwing, with that amazing crest and wonderful shape.

Once a while, we got some terns and gulls visiting, among them, the Whiskered Tern and the Yellow-legged Gull.

We walked some around the trails and the nice looking Sardinian Warbler flew over me several times, a Whinchat seem so clear on the scope and a cooperative Great Tit let me get a nice shot of him on a reed.

I had so much fun looking to a gorgeous Red-crested Pochard swimming, some distant views to a Great Cormorant and a busy group of Little Stints.  I had nice photo chances for the lovely Greenfinches and Goldfinches - and this day was far from finished!

We watch Barcelona - with Ronaldinho and all the stars - defeating Levante at the Camp Nou! What of an impressive experience that I’ll treasure the rest of my life! Thanks Stephen.

Wood Sandpiper
birding in spain spanish yellow wagtail photo gallery 1
Yellow 'iberiae' Wagtail
more Llobregat below...

birding in spain coal tit photo gallery 1

30th April 2007 - The Pyrenees

birding in spain short-toed treecreeper photo gallery 1

The morning was chili but the birds were all over! Amazing birds for my eye and lens: Black Redstart, Blue Tit, European Robin, Dunnock and my favorite the shy Great-spotted Woodpecker, what a sight! I was delighted for real.

Near a farm with noisy cow bells we got Common Chaffinch, Winter Wren, Crested Tit and Eurasian Nuthatch.  At a nice trail called Ruta del Trecampinyes (Catalan for Common Crossbill) I got photos of one actively breaking the cones.  We got Coal Tit, Firecrest and Short-toed Treecreeper, a Citril Finch was glowing on top of a tree then the incredible Lammergeier passed right over our heads… so majestic.

We continued to the top of the mountain. All of the sudden Stephen parked the car and jumped out of it! With a big smile he pointed to this orange thing on a rock… a Rufus-tailed Rock Thrush! Once at the top we look at the Marmots running on the melting snow and drinking from a little creak.  Northern Wheatears were jumping around in this very cold beautiful environment.

On our way back down we had a look to a Griffon Vulture soaring near the ridge and a couple of Woodlarks.  High up on the sky a raptor was enjoying a thermal. He approached and we were able to mark all details, was a good-looking Goshawk.

Short-toed Treecreeper
birding in spain rock thrush photo gallery 1
(Rufous-tailed) Rock Thrush

birding in spain black tern photo gallery 1

1st May 2007 - Garraf Massif & Llobregat Delta

We immediately started getting some action: a Wood Pigeon was singing while House Martins hunting near us and we spotted a gorgeous Red Kite going away.  Then rain.  It didn’t seem to end so we decided to take a second look to Llobregat.

A family of Common Pochards made me smile again.  On my favorite hide I had two great birding moments: a good close up shot to a Purple Swamphen and a nice look to male Ruffs in full display plumage… wow!

We visited some open fields and spotted my second subspecies of Yellow Wagtail (M. f. iberiae) and managed pictures of a Sand Martin sitting nicely on a stick.

Black Tern

We also found a lovely European Golden Plover in summer plumage (also Kentish and Grey Plovers), probably down from its migrating path because of the bad weather. Nice bird.

After lunch we visited a new reservoir and I had two Parakeets: the Rose-ringed and a busy nesting Monk.  There was a gorgeous Little Bittern on a pond and when it flew, did show us a Spotted Flycatcher that hopped on the reeds.

I photograph an easy Woodchat Shrike and was delighted by a Common Pheasant and a very rare Ferruginous Duck and managed some not so good shots to the Black Terns.  As preparing to go we saw a Montagu’s Harrier… a lifer for me!

To finish we visited the side of the Mediterranean Sea.  We saw a Blue Rock Thrush near the shore and Pallid Swifts flying near the wall.  Stephen scoped on a few Yelkouan Shearwaters, also there probably because of the weather.

birding in spain purple swamphen photo gallery 1
Purple Swamphen

birding in spain woodchat shrike photo gallery 1

2nd May 2007 - The Steppes again

We decided to go back to The Steppes [instead of the Cap de Creus] and I have no regrets.  We had a great starting with a singing Common Quail real close and a Turtle Dove.  We had a nice look to a Common Skylark and we found a Thekla Lark and marked the difference between them and the Crested Lark.

I got a couple of shots to the Black-eared Wheatear and a nice look to a Mistle Thrush on top of a bush.  We had a look to the dump where we got many Black Kites as well as hundreds of Cattle Egrets.

We got to a wooden area where we had lunch and an entertaining show: a clear view of a colorful Eurasian Golden Oriole chasing all over a Common Cuckoo!!!

birding in spain long-tailed tit photo gallery 1

As we were preparing to go Stephen jumped back out of the car and said he could hear something else…What is it? I said… instead of an answer he pointed the scope with a big smile… Wow! An amazing Great Spotted Cuckoo!  Great bird, no kidding.

I had some clear views of little colorful fellows like the Willow Warbler and the European Serin.  Stephen called a soaring Sparrowhawk, to be the last bird of my expedition… a really nice raptor to finish a wonderful list and a wonderful experience in Catalonia.

Woodchat Shrike
birding in spain lleida steppes dump photo gallery 1
Long-tailed Tit

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