Idenity Graphic
contact us

Site Details:

Trip reports from participants of Catalan Bird Tours' birding holidays and bird watching tours to LLOBREGAT DELTA and GARRAF MASSIF are posted here.


spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 2007 summary

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 9 oct

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 6 oct

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 15 sept

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 10 sept

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 27 july

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 6 may

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 29 april

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 25 april

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 22 april

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 16 april

spain birding in spain llobregat garraf 3 april

spain birding trip report 17 january 2007 button

For more Trip Reports:

| |
| |




17 January 2007

William Sellers

Mr and Mrs Sellers, England

Llobregat / Garraf

"We both enjoyed every single minute. So many good things; the birds, the weather, the scenery and the expert company. Would certainly do it again and would have no hesitation in recommending your tour to others."

The Sellers, England

Our day birding in Spain began when we met up with Stephen at Barcelona Airport. First stop was the nearby Llobregat Delta nature reserve with its pools and reed beds. The reserve has several hides and, at the seaward end, an observation tower. A walk around the reserve produced 55 species. These included Marsh Harrier, Crag Martin, Monk Parakeet, Little Stint, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, White Wagtail, Black Redstart , Sardinian Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler and Cirl Bunting. The undoubted highlight here however was the number of adult Night Herons lined up on a fallen tree trunk. Quite a sight.

After an excellent picnic lunch, we headed off to another coastal location where, on the sides of the cliffs, Stephen found a Peregrine, Black Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush. Then, just as we were about to leave, an Audouin's Gull was spotted. The next stop was inland, an area of farmland high in the hills. Here in the afternoon sunshine we watched while mixed flocks of Starlings, Spotless Starlings, Rock Buntings and Rock Sparrows fed on the ground. Although we only heard Crested Larks and Crested Tits, we did see several other species including Cirl Bunting and Serin.

Our last location was also high up in the hills, overlooking a valley and reached from the road by clambering over some rocky ground. On the way we heard a Dartford Warbler but nothing else seemed to be about. Then, as the light started to fade and we were about to leave, a Bonelli's Eagle appeared, soaring in the distance. What an end to the day.

It really was a marvellous day's birding. In all, we saw or heard around 70 species, quite a few of them for the first time. Stephen was an excellent guide, tailoring his approach to match our experience. He also does a terrific picnic lunch.

Night Heron
Black Wheatear
spain birding trip reports llobregat night heron photo spain birding trip reports garraf black wheatear photo

For a complete check list of this tour.

spain birding llobregat garraf trip report 17 january 2007 button

20 october 2006

6 October 2006

B. & D. Colvin

Bill & Doreen Colvin, Ireland

Llobregat / Garraf

"We had a terrific day, saw some wonderful birds, all of which was made the more enjoyable by the lovely friendly personality of Stephen. We were very impressed with his bird spotting plus his sharing of his extensive knowledge without us feeling inferior. We would love the opportunity to spend more time with Stephen at some of the other locations he goes to. If you want good birding contact him."    

Bill and Doreen Colvin, Dublin, Ireland.

My wife and I were due to be in Barcelona for a few days in early October and wanted a day’s birding so I went looking on the internet and found Stephen Christopher’s website, liked what I saw and, having made contact with Stephen, booked a day with him.

We arranged for Stephen to pick us up at the airport and he duly arrived on time. We went to Llobregat Delta first and initially parked just outside the entrance gate to the reserve and had a short walk along the entrance road. Straight away we were seeing birds including 2 Common Buzzards, then on to the car park and a walk along the river to the beach. Great views of many birds including Hobby, Honey Buzzard, Crested Lark, Short-toed Treecreeper and a wonderful time watching an Osprey hovering and moving along the river. 

Now across to the lagoons and the hides where there was a good selection of waders (inc. Black-winged Stilt, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Green and Wood Sandpiper) and ducks (inc. Pintail and Shelduck) plus Redstart, Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Common Waxbill and also some Californian Turtles. 

After a really nice Picnic Lunch supplied by Stephen we went to the Garraf and having stopped at a few sites we added to our lengthening list: Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Whinchat, Sparrowhawk, a soaring juvenile Goshawk, plus others. On exiting the Garraf Stephen brought us back to Barcelona. Both locations were great and at the end of the day our species count for the day was 83.

Stephen, thank you for a great day,  Kindest regards,  Bill and Doreen.


For a complete check list of this tour.

27 july 2006

15 September 2006


Brian Broderick/Mary Bowler, US

Llobregat / Garraf

"Stephen not only found a lot of birds for us (we added 40-plus to our year list and almost as many to our life list), but he fed us a nice lunch and somehow made the rain stop. We really appreciated the bird-spotting skills of Stephen and also enjoyed peppering him with questions about Catalunya and its culture and birdlife."

Mary Bowler & Brian Broderick, United States

Here’s a revised entry from the bird journal that we keep. Birds mentioned are not a comprehensive list of what we saw; they provide a nice flavor of the range of birds available.

On Sept. 15, we met up with Catalan Bird Tours’ guide Stephen Christopher, who took us to several locations near the city of Barcelona (where we were staying) that boasted a nice diversity of bird life. 

Our first birding stop was a wetlands park in the Llobregat Delta.  We found a nice array of shorebirds, waterfowl, waders and songbirds. We saw interesting birds such as Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Bee-Eater, Roller (certainly a highlight of our trip), Magpie, Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, House Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Little Egret, Golden Eagle, Spectacled Warbler, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, Shoveler and Pochard. From a blind (hide) we enjoyed watching the Kingfisher on a nearby perch when it swooped down and caught a fish.

Other landbirds we saw at Llobregat included Short-toed Treecreeper, Willow Warbler (nice yellow and green bird), Stonechat (making its interesting noise that is the source of its name I think), Green Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Bluethroat and Black Redstart.

While at Llobregat we used blinds (hides) and a tower to find birds. Stephen had a spotting scope, which helped immensely.

After a nice lunch (vegetarian-friendly for Mary, with hams for Brian) at Llobregat’s picnic area we were off to the seaside village of Garraf to find some unique birds that live in the rocky areas that slope down to the sea. We almost immediately found a beautiful Blue Rock Thrush, then an amazing black-and-white bird called the Black Wheatear

From Garraf it was back inland to an upland area near a rock quarry. The car climbed a series of switchbacks to an open area with pasture, some pine groves, a vineyard (Penedes wine region I think), and some amazing views over the Mediterranean. This is where we also had some great views of a Hoopoe (on the cover of our European field guide and a target bird for Brian) perched in a tree. Another nice Roller was on some power lines that also were the roosting spot for Rock Sparrows.  A Kestrel female hovered in the air over the fields as we watched. Red-Rumped Swallows flew overhead.  

Next it was off to another upland area with great views of the sea. This was a place with exposed rocky soil, scrubby growth and restricted vehicle access. At this location we found Northern Wheatear, Dartford Warbler and Whinchat. Most of these birds would have been invisible to us without Stephen’s sharp eye and spotting scope.

Other birds we saw in our drive around the country include White Wagtail and Peregrine Falcon.

Rock Sparrows

For a complete check list of this tour.

17 february 2006

27 July 2006

Stephen Christopher

Max Andrews, Spain

Llobregat / Garraf / Steppes

Although Max had requested a marathon session, taking in three of the region’s top sites in one day, we didn’t rush.  In fact we ravenously scoffed down our three o’clock lunch at The Llobregat Delta having spent the morning and more getting carried away with the delights of the Steppes of Lleida.  By the time our respective bellies had stopped rumbling we’d already enjoyed a gathering of Bee-eaters scooping up insects over the St. Climent and admired a post-picnic Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds on our way into the hub of the reserve.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones that didn’t mind being behind schedule.

The sun was now beating down but a juvenile Purple Heron didn’t seem to mind, standing up and out amongst the throng of waders as if deliberately encouraging the light to carve out every glorious detail of its golden brown plumage.  Such was the quantity and variety on offer however that it didn’t compete for our attention for long as, caught up in the excitement of that ‘we might miss something’ feeling, we both eagerly began to scan.

Of course Black-winged Stilt.  And Wood Sandpiper too.  Black-tailed Godwit waded out in waters of their own but the muddy shallows were bustling with Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper, all three still showing varying degrees of colours designed for breeding.  Ironic though, as these birds were more than likely on their way back to their wintering grounds early, having failed to do so.  The apparent tiny clockwork toys, wound up and released to scavenge the water’s edge, turned out to be Little Stint and Kentish and Little Ringed Plover.  The highlight for me though was a pair of Lapwing, very scarce in Catalonia at this time of year.

A bird with a similar status, the Lesser Black-backed Gull, prompted a walk around for a better viewpoint of the Yellow-legged Gull roost and revealed a cluster of Mediterranean Gulls in its centre.   Skipping amongst them were a few juvenile Spanish Yellow Wagtails (sub-species iberiae) and a handful of Common Sandpipers, but a fly-by Night Heron gave us the cue to move on and we did so – via a single Red-masked Parakeet in a tree by the car park.

In truth, we’d left it rather late to do full justice to the Garraf Massif but we went none-the-less, in the hope a few bonus birds, and why not?  Well, for a start, a flock of around 40 Rock Sparrows provided the answer and we watched them picking for morsels on the floor of a fallow field before something spooked them and they swooped up and unanimously headed for a seemingly pre-arranged meeting place on the pylon cables above.

Flocks of finches were also in evidence with Serin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Linnet throughout the park and, on the approach to La Morella, Dartford Warblers chattered between bushes like gossiping neighbours.  Whilst there also, we witnessed a fascinating and curious moment when, perched up on a boundary fence post, a juvenile Black-eared Wheatear, clearly from an earlier summer brood, proceeded to feed insects to a begging, wing-vibrating second generation bird, presumably a sibling.

The pièce de resistènce however, of course, was saved for the end and, on the homeward-bound drive down and out of the park, an adult Bonelli’s Eagle traversed the road in front of us and flapped across the contours of the coastal cliffs – holding the evening’s rabbit snack heavy in its talons.

juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
juvenile Woodchat Shrike

To see part two of Max's Trip, to The Steppes,

For a complete check list of this tour.

16 April 2006

David / Matt Spencer

David, Caroline & Matt Spencer

Llobregat / Garraf

"The birding was great, we were able to bird at a very leisurely pace, which suited my family, and Stephen ensured all the family were involved and entertained. My 11 year old son got his first chance at digiscoping using Stephen's camera.

Stephen's villa is an easy place from which to drive to Barcelona and the coast, and is an excellent base to combine a birding trip with a family holiday."

David Spencer, UK

and from Matthew Spencer, Age 11

"Staying with Steve was one of the most enjoyable bits of our holiday in Spain. We really loved the accommodation best of all was the pool table and a table tennis table."

When we first arrived we got to choose where to go. You could go somewhere local like Llobregat or somewhere not so nearby like The Ebro Delta or The Pyrenees. As we only stayed 3 days we only went out for one day with Steve but if you stayed for a week you could go to more than one place.

For our trip we decided to visit the local sites of Garaff Park and Llobregat reserve. We set off about 7.30 am in the morning and drove slowly through the park stopping to birdwatch from the road side. Best birds for me were the shrikes (Woodchat and Southern Grey Shrikes, SC).

By lunch time we had reached Llobregat a reserve right next to Barcelona airport. We saw lots of waders including Greater Flamingo and I was able to photograph a Purple Gallinule using Steve’s camera and telescope (see his photos below! SC). After lunch at Llobregat we returned to Garaff Park and although the weather was really a bit too hot for birdwatching by then, we still got to see Black–eared Wheatear and Ortolan Bunting. We got home at about 5.30pm.

I am not as keen as my Dad on birdwatching but I still had a fun time with Steve and when I got a bit tired in the middle of the day we took things a bit slower.

I really enjoyed myself and Steve was great to chat to about football as well as birds.

Purple Gallinule by Matthew Spencer
Black-winged Stilt by Matthew Spencer

See David's Trip Report on BIRD FORUM

For a complete check list of this tour.

3 April 2006

Jeff Roffey

Jeff Roffey, Mike Thompson, England

Llobregat / Garraf

"We were very impressed with you and your intimate knowledge of the birds and the surroundings and we hope that we can arrange something next year."

My friend and I, being keen bird watchers, decided to seek out a bird guide whilst we were in Barcelona for a few days. So we searched the net and found Catalan Bird tours. I then contacted Stephen Christopher and booked him for a days birding. All this was done on the net with a minimum of fuss and effort.

Stephen arranged to pick us up at our hotel in Barcelona and arrived on time despite heavy traffic. He then took us to LLOBREGAT DELTA reserve. We visited all the hides and viewing points seeing numerous birds including Flamingo, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, 5 Buzzards playing with a Short-toed Eagle, many waders, and my favourite, several Collared Pratincole.

We had a sumptuous picnic lunch and then walked to the beach and followed the river back into the reserve finding more birds, a Sardinian Warbler being very noticeable; we had then increased our bird total to 64 species in just over 4 hours!

Stephen knew where all the birds were so it required little effort on our part to find them. He recorded them all, promising to send us a complete list later.

On Stephen's suggestion, we then went to the GARRAF, how he found the track to it we still don’t know as it’s not on any map but we saw Black Eared & Northern Wheatears, Woodchat & Southern Grey Shrikes as well as Rock Sparrow, spanish Yellow Wagtail, Peregrine, Redstart and Hoopoe. There was one we had questions about so Stephen digiscoped it, again promising he would investigate and let us know. Our grand total was now up to 82 birds. We had to call it a halt about 6 pm although Stephen was very keen to carry on.

Both of us agreed it was a wonderful day and are full of praise for Stephen Christopher and Catalan Bird Tours and thoroughly recommend them.

We arrived back in England the following day and when we got to our relative homes we both found on our PC’s the complete list of birds we had seen plus confirmation that our 'mystery bird' was a female Carduelis cannabina mediterranea, a Spanish sub-species of Linnet (see below).

Glossy Ibis
Collared Pratincole

For a complete check list of this tour.

| accommodation | itineraries | birds | prices | contact us | home |