Arxiu d'etiquetes: Birding in Barcelona

Influx of Crakes (genus Porzana) in Catalonia

Late March and early April is normally one of the best moments to look for Crakes in Catalonia. Despite the migratory movements of all three species ocurring in the country (Spotted Crake, Little Crake and Baillon’s Crake) start along February and stretches well inside May, the last days of March and early April concentrates a good number of them.

This 2019 sightings of Crakes in Catalonia were low. Spring migration was rather late for some species and it looked like it was so for all Porzanas. Until the very last days of March there were only a handful of sights, mostly concentrated in typical areas for these species.

Little Crake (Porzana parva) male at Riu Besòs, Barcelona. The bird stayed some days in the same location. Seen during our tour on 29th March. Image by Carles Oliver

But this was to change fast as from March 28th there were reports some Little & Spotted Crakes (Porzana porzana) in diferent coastal wetlands along Catalan coastline. On March 30th-31st the increase on sights was huge, with several Spotteds reported in diferent areas, even in small ponds and other unusual locations. On March 31st up to 4 diferent Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla) were seen in diferent locations (Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, Aiguamolls de Pals, Riu Besòs & Pantà del Foix). All birds out of one “joined” by Little or Spotted Crakes in the same spot.

This abrupt influx could be explained by a change in the weather conditions. A low press System was affecting SW Europe and combined with Eastern winds in the Mediterranean. Enough explanation? Probably not…

On 31st March we were leading a trip to Aiguamolls and enjoyed 4 Little Crakes (Porzana parva), 2 Spotted Crakes and 1 Baillon’s Crake only in two spots, 200 metres away from each other!

Please enjoy this small selection of images from these days. Several local birdwatchers have enjoy them. Today, 4th April, there were still 2 Baillon’s & several Spotteds around!

One of the 2 obliging Spotted Crakes (Porzana porzana) seen in Aiguamolls de l’Empordà during our tour. Image by Carles Oliver

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) in Corncrake-like action! Image by Carles Oliver

 

The spots can be really efficient to make Spotted Crakes disappear in the riparian vegetation. Image by Carles Oliver

One of the Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla) in Catalonia during early April 2019. This one proved to be really cooperative at Riu Besòs. Images by Carles Oliver

 

Here a nice comparative of Baillon’s (above) versus Little Crake (below). Differences on coloration and structure are evident. Images by Carles Oliver

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Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei), a mega in Barcelona

It is not happening every day that a mega is found out in a big city. But this just what it was happening the past 5th November, when a Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) was located in Montjuïc, a gardened hill inside Barcelona and known as the Olympic Hill in the city as it is here were the 1992 Olympic Stadium is located. The bird was first located calling in a Oak patch in the Southern slope of the hill by Manolo García. It was first located by callings and after that it was found out. The bird allowed wonderful views for – days, until 9th November, when it was seen for the last time.

The bird was many associated to a small flock of Goldcrests (Regulus regulus) moving in a Oak (Quercus cerrioides sp.) with no undergrowth. The warbler showed also a big preference for an isolated Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) that was visited several times. This sight is arriving soon after a large amount of Yellow-browned Warbler sights not only in Catalonia but also in the rest of Western Europe. In fact, it is already the third autum recording high Yellow-browned Warbler datas and thus, improving the chances for a Hume’s to appear, mainly because of a improvement of the local birdwatchers in telling apart both species. What it is even more interesting is this Hume’s is the second for this patch since another individual was located some yards away in early May by the same birder!!!