Bird Watching

Valencia has so many amazing things to offer, not least the wonderful array of birds. 

The Valencian Region is a privileged place for birding. It has a long coast and in the interior there are still some wild and well protected steep, rocky and wooded mountains with rivers crossing the terrain creating a diverse mix of habitats. On the coastal plains is another important ecosystems with wetlands and farmland (mostly vegetables and orange groves). The mild climate, and the clear influence of the Mediterranean sea, form a specific and diverse fauna.

The mountainous northwest sector of Castellón around Morella is a good area for woodland and rocky terrain birds and others species, and is very important for Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, being the only locality in Valencia where they breed. In the foothills of these mountains it is possible to see one of the most typical Mediterranean raptors: the Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus relatively easily. In the most rocky areas you can find breeding Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis and the more common Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius as well as Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura. In the wooded areas live various species of tits and others beautiful birds.

The Sierra d'Espadàn Natural Park is a well-preserved wooded mountain with Cork-oak trees among other trees and plants with very restricted ranges in the Valencia Region. This site is the best area in the Castellón province for Bonelli's Eagle, with other raptors easy to see such as Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus and Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. On the hillsides in the plains’ wasteland where trees are widely dispersed one can find the European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus and, with luck, close to the orange farms in the fields it is possible to see Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis. A rarely seen bird is the Roller Coracias garrulus, but one of the recommended sites to find this scarce species is around the Sierra d'Espadàn Natural Park.

Going South in the interior you come to one of the most wild mountain regions in all Valencia. At the Rincón de Ademuz it is still possible to go into some of the most natural areas of the region. The best places for birdwatching are to be found alongside the Turia river's branch with its wooded banks and rocky places. Some of the most interesting villages are: Vallanca, Val de la Sabina, Mas del Olmo, Sesga, Puebla de San Miguel - These sites are good for some specialities: Egyptian Vulture Neophron pernocterus, Alpine Swift Apus melba, Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica, Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura, Olivaceus Warbler Hippolais pallida, Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis, Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli, Crested Tit Parus cristatus, Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla, Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus, Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra and Rock Bunting Emberiza cia.

In the wheat-fields of the high mountains of the region (over 1400 meters) the Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia is very common and in some places with areas of low and dispersed vegetation, its possible to see Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris. In the sky the raptors can frequently be seen soaring (especially Short-toed and Golden Eagle, as well as Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Hobby). Leaving behind the Rincón de Ademuz the next area for birdwatching is to the south coast of Castellón at the Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca Natural Park. This is a coastal wetland of flooded meadows with some areas of permanent water (peat-bog). At the Prat Montagu`s Harrier Circus pygargus, Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola and Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon have their most important breeding colonies in Valencia.

To the South, in the Valencia province's north-eastern border is the Moro Marsh in Sagunto. This little marsh is a surprisingly important wetland for some of the most threatened waterbirds in Spain. The best period for birdwatching at the Moro is spring (April); with the migration of some thousand of waders and ducks. Here breed Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata. This nature reserve is also good for Bittern Botaurus stellaris, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis [up to 5,000 birds roost here], Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus, Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus [distributed across all of Valencia's sandy seashores], Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus [an important breeding colony], breeding Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides [one of the most common passerines in mid-spring] together with Moustached and Great Reed Warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus. The Moro Marsh is the best place for Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina in the breeding season.

Our next stop is the symbolic Albufera's Natural Park on the central coast of Valencia (to the south of the city). This internationally important wetland is good for herons, ducks, waders and gulls. Thousands of ducks over-winter at the Albufera, feeding by night in the rice-fields and resting in the daylight hours in the La Mata del Fang protected area. During migration thousands of shorebirds can be seen stopping over in the neatly arranged rice-fields. The Racó de l'Olla is another reserve, which is very important for breeding terns (Common, Sandwich, Little and Gull-billed) and some waders (such as Avocet). The heronries with Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Cattle Egret, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea and Purple Heron Ardea purpurea at the quietest reedbed islands are simply spectacular. On some reed-bed islands it is possible to surprise a beautiful bird - the Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus.

A little to the south, the coast of Cullera is an interesting Mediterranean site for seabirds. The winter and migration periods are the best times to see some pelagic and rare birds. From here, in winter, it is possible to see Balearic and Mediterranean Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus & Puffinus yelkouan and some sea ducks (Common Eider and Common and Surf Scoter). In spring Cory's Shearwater Caleonectris diomedea fly past and, throughout the year, the omnipresent Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans rests on the beach or loafs on the sea.

Valencia Birding

They can offer you bespoke guided bird-watching whether you are an individual, a couple or a small group. They have achieved a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and if you read the reviews of many happy clients, you can see why!

The link below takes you to their website, where they can explain much better than I can....

Valencia Birding

Please be assured that we do not earn anything from promoting Valencia Birding, they are just that good.

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