miércoles, 27 de diciembre de 2017

Rarest of the rare 2017 / El más raro de los raros 2017


Rarest of the rare contest is back again! This is its 8th year contest, including 2017 year records.

A selection of some of the rarest sightings obtained in the country during 2017 and chosen by the webmaster of Rarebirdspain.net according to scarcity or singularity of the records.

This year, Rare Birds in Spain, in its 17 to 18 year-in-a-row online period has published until 27th December 2017 news on 1283 rarities and near-rarities (585 RC 2017 criteria rarities and 698 up to 2015 rarities, the ‘near rarities’, 1237 rarities in 2016 (532 RC and 705 near rarities; 933 of both in 2015).

In 2018 only 'true' rarities committee rarities will be featured in the website. Near rarities will be discontinued in the website. However, we encourage to submit them and follow all interesting records for Catalunya that are currently covered in the sister website rarebirds.cat.

Rarebirdspain.net web has published 504 large (720 pixels wide) original photos in 2017 (608 in 2016, 501 in 2015), 2 videos (14 in 2016, 8 in 2015) and 344 (362 in 2016, 368 in 2015) small sized (thumbnails) supporting photos all kindly sent by the authors. There have been a drawing too and 2 Gibraltar sightings as well.

It therefore has not been easy to build a selection of the rarest birds recorded amongst those 1283 records and 848 media featured, but once again a choice of may be the rarest of the rare is enclosed below and it's up to you to choose which sighting and species will be.

Please vote the poll (right side of the blog) to see which species sighting can be considered the rarest of the rare 2017!. As in previous editions, winner will be included in the website gif banner in due course. You can choose several choices, not only one, we suggest three is a good number. If interested in the different sightings, follow the links to the original report of the species in the Rare Birds in Spain website.

Every year, the selected species are impressive, and this edition is no exception. They reflect the interest of our area for birds and birdwatching as well as the work of all the observers, not only finding the species but also recording them carefully for the future.

Happy rarest of the rare 2017 and a better 2018 birdwatching year!


***

Number of rarity (R) and near-rarity (NR) records per month @ rarebirdspain.net in 2017 [Número de rarezas  (R) y casi rarezas (NR) por mes en la web rarebirdspain.net en 2017]

Number of photos (dark blue), thumbnails (medium blue),videos (green) and drawings (violet) featured in rarebirdspain.net in 2017 on a monthly basis [Número de fotos (azul oscuro), miniaturas (azul claro), videos (verde) y dibujos (violeta) publicados en la web rarebirdspain.net durante 2017 expresados por mes]



Ya está aquí el concurso 'El más raro de los raros' otra vez! 

En su 8ª edición anual consecutiva, se presenta una selección de tal vez las citas más raras que se han obtenido en España durante 2017, escogidos por el webmaster de Rarebirdspain.net de acuerdo con la escasez o singularidad de las citas. 

Había más, algunas sin imágenes, pero éstas bien pueden representar el conjunto de citas más raras recogidas. Este año, Rare Birds in Spain, en su 17 a 18º año consecutivo online, ha publicado hasta el 27 de Diciembre de 2017 novedades de 1283 rarezas y casi rarezas (585 rarezas de acuerdo con los criterios del Comité de Rarezas para 2017 y 698 de especies que eran rarezas hasta el 31.12.2015, las 'casi-rarezas'. En comparación a las 1283 citas, en 2016 fueron 1237 y en 2015 se citaron 933 en la web. 

A partir de 2018 solo aparecerán en la web las rarezas sensu stricto. Las casi rarezas desaparecerán de la sección de noticias aunque para Catalunya se podran seguir en la pàgina web hermana rarebirds.cat. 

Rarebirdspain.net ha publicado 504 imágenes originales grandes en 2017 (de 720 pixels de ancho, 608 en 2016 y 501 en 2015), 2 videos (14 en 2016 y 8 en 2015) y 344 (362 en 2016, 368 en 2015) fotos pequeñas (thumbnails) amablemente enviadas por sus autores. También ha habido un dibujo y 2 citas de Gibraltar. Ha sido, por tanto, difícil escoger una selección de las aves más raras observadas entre estas 1283 citas y 844 archivos multimedia recibidos, pero una vez más, el más raro de los raros está más abajo y queda a vuestro criterio decidir cual de estas especies será. 

Votad por favor la encuesta (en la columna derecha del blog) para ver cual será la especie más rara de 2017 en España. Como en ediciones previas, el ganador será incluido en el banner de la web en cuanto sea posible. Se pueden escoger diversas opciones, no solo una, y suponemos tres como número más adecuado. 

Si estáis interesados en las diferentes citas, seguid los enlaces a las citas originales en sus respectivos meses de 2017 o páginas especiales en la web Rare Birds in Spain. Cada año la selección de especies es impresioante y este año no es ninguna excepción. Estas especies reflejan el interés de nuestra área para las aves y el birdwatching así como el trabajo de los observadores, o solo encontrando las especies, sino también obteniendo evidencias sobre su presencia para futura referencia. 

Feliz más raro de los raros 2017 y un mejor año ornitológico 2018! 


  1.  C01. Larus thayeri
  2.  C02. Sylvia sarda
  3.  C03. Sylvia sarda
  4.  C04. Calidris tenuirostris
  5.  C05. Oceanodroma monorhis
  6.  C06. Larus dominicanus
  7.  C07. Vireo olivaceus
  8.  C08. Fregetta tropica
  9.  C09. Anthus godlewskii
  10.  C10. Motacilla alba subpersonata
  11.  C11. Alaemon alaudipes
  12.  C12. Eremophila alpestris
  13.  C13. Alaemon alaudipes 
  14.  C14. Numenius hudsonicus
  15.  C15. Ixobrychus sturmii

  • Candidate C01 Larus thayeri (Lugo, January - April)
LOCALLY NAMED 'CIPRANA' RETURNING INDIVIDUAL. WAS THE 1ST FOR SPAIN
  
© David Calleja, 13.1.2017


First seen in 2017 during January, a special photopage on the sighting include photos of the bird that first reached Lugo in March 2010 and remained around Lago and San Cibrao until 30.3.2017.


  • Candidate C02 Sylvia sarda (Cabrera, May)
 c.10th for SPAIN
 
© Miguel Rouco, 6.5.2017
A male was seen and heard singing on 6.5 at Cabrera island,Balearics (M.Rebassa, A.Villaverde, J.Portillo, P.Manchado, N.Castelao,J.Sagardia, M. Rouco). A sighting in a place where the similar Sylvia balearica is sedentary.



  • Candidate C03 Sylvia sarda (Barcelona, May -June)
 c.11th for SPAIN
 
© Guillem Arrufat, 6.6.2017
On 7.5 an adult was found at Pla d'en Bessa, Viladrau, Barcelona (Pere Vila @ornitho.cat). It was still there on 8.5 (Martí Franch, Pere Baucells, Jordi Faus, Gabri de Jesús @ornitho.cat), when taped too. Last seen on 9.5 (Aleix Comas, Dani Roca, Sergi Sales, Josep Bel, Enric Fontcuberta; Pau G.Campderròs). On 6.6 a bird was trapped and ringed at Pla d'en Xixa, El Brull, Barcelona. ICO monitoring station (Guillem Arrufat. Carles Tobella. Roger Sanmartí). See two photos below (Guillem Arrufat). On 8.6 it was seen again (Carles Oliver, Derek Campbell et al). A bird in the Montseny mountain range, quite away from usual birding hotspots. How many come and remain unseen?




  • Candidate C04 Calidris tenuirostris (Cádiz, June-July)
 1ST FOR SPAIN

 
© Paco Chiclana, 1.7.2017

On 30.6 an adult was seen and photographed at Doñana National Park beach, Huelva (Jorge García Cuevas). See three photos in the June 2017 page. The first record for Spain if attending the fact that SEO RC decided to withdraw the 1979 record from Ebre delta, up to now the sole sighting of the species in the country. On 1.7 an adult was seen and photographed at close range at Montijo beach, Chipiona, Cádiz (Paco Chiclana). The day before it had been seen at Doñana National Park beach, Huelva (Jorge García Cuevas). Both sites are not distant. The bird was seen again on 2.7 (José Portillo, Yeray Seminario, José Mª Fernández Zapata; Manuel Bárcena).

  •  Candidate C05 Oceanodroma monorhis (Gran Canaria, July)
c. 7th for SPAIN
  
© Geoff Morgan, 14.7.2017

A dark-rumped Petrel matching the characteristics of a Swinhoe's was seen from a touristic boat off Mogán, Gran Canaria, on 14.7 (Geoff Morgan). On the basis of the evidence, and asked about the possibility of the bird being an odd Leach's, Bob Flood, from @Scillypelagics, commented to this website: There has never been a truly dark-dumped Leach's in the N Atlantic. Worn / moulting Leach's might appear dark-rumped. In this case, there is absolutely no hint of pale in the rump area. Further, the bird is brownish with buffy ulnar bars, like Swinhoe's and unlike Leach's. Shape etc looks OK as far as can be told. I cannot say from the photos it was definitely a Swinhoe's, and I don't have the observer's notes, but from the photos alone it looks very promising. Touristic trips can produce rarities too.


  • Candidate C06 Larus dominicanus  (Huelva, August) 
 3rd for SPAIN
© Jeffrey Huizenga

On 8.8 an adult was seen and photographed at Playa Punta del Carmen, Isla Cristina, Huelva (Jeffrey Huizenga @observado.org).The same bird was seen in Portugal too.

  • Candidate C07 Vireo olivaceus (Pontevedra, September)
4th for SPAIN
 
© Grupo Ibérico de Anillamiento, 29.9.2017
On 29.9 a bird was trapped and ringed at Ons islands, Atlantic Islands National Park, Pontevedra (Grupo Ibérico de Anillamiento). A long-awaited American passerine in the NW.


  • Candidate C08 Fregetta tropica (Lanzarote, September)
 4th for SPAIN, 5th for WP
 
BOC photo © Gorka Ocio, 9.9.2017
On 9.9 a bird was seen at Banco de la Concepción, N Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Robert Flood, Arne Torkler, Juan Sagardia, Gorka Ocio, José Portillo, Begoña Sainz, Estela Gil, Jesús Notario/ Lanzarote Pelagics). Read an account from Bob Flood at Rare Bird Alert website here. Another hit from pelagics off Canary islands.




  • Candidate C09 Anthus godlewskii (Asturias, October)
 4th for SPAIN
© Roberto Menéndez, 27.10.2017


On 27.10 27.10 a bird was found, seen, taped and photographed at Tapia de Casariego, Asturias (Pablo Fernández; Daniel López Velasco, Roberto Menéndez). All records come from the NW.


  • Candidate C10 Motacilla alba subpersonata (Málaga, October)
c.4th for SPAIN
 
© José Ángel Campos, 7.10.2017

A 1w bird was seen on 7.10 at Sacaba beach, Málaga (José Angel Campos, Gonzalo Rodríguez).


  • Candidate C11 Alaemon alaudipes (Gran Canaria, October)
  c.7th for SPAIN
© Antonio Díaz, 29.10.2017
On 29.10 a bird was found at Fagajesto. Galdar, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Antonio Díaz).



  • Candidate C12 Eremophila alpestris (Tarragona, November)

 c. 8th for SPAIN
© Daniele Delvart, 14.11.2017

The third for Catalunya was found on 14.11 at El Trabucador sandbar, near the kite-surfing facilities, Delta de l'Ebre, Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Tarragona (Patricia Hoedts, Daniele Delvart). See more photos in the November page (Daniele Delvart). The same morning the bird was not seen neither the following days. The first for the Ebre delta and 3rd for Catalunya. First for Catalunya was seen at Cap de Creus in May 2013 and the 2nd at Llobregat Delta in June 2016.   


  • Candidate C13 Alaemon alaudipes (Fuerteventura, December)

 c.8-11th for SPAIN
 
© Francisco Javier García Vargas, 16.12.2017

December influx in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. On 2.12 a bird was seen and photographed at Jable de Famara, Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Juan José Ramos Melo, Desert Watch Lanzarote). On 17.12 this bird was seen again (Nacho Castelao, Juan Sagardía, José Portillo). On 14.12 two birds were found near Punta Pesebre lighthouse, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Nigel Jones). On 16.12 2-3 birds were seen in the morning (F,Javier García Vargas, Nacho Castelao, José Portillo, Juan Sagardía). On 16.12 afternoon three different birds were confirmed (Uca Díaz, Nansa Díaz).new On 18.12 the three birds were still at Punta Pesebre (David Walsh, Eduardo García del Rey).


  • Candidate C14 Numenius hudsonicus (Cantabria, all year)
 2nd for SPAIN
© Haritz Sarasa, 29.1.2017

A vagrant that remained all year long at Santoña marshes, Cantabria.


  • Candidate C15 Ixobrychus sturmii (Fuerteventura, December)
4th-5th for Canaries & Spain, 5th-6th for the WP

© David Pérez, 3.12.2017

Two birds in Fuerteventura almost simultaneously. On 1.12 the German birwatcher Daniel Kratzer found a bird at Rio Cabras gorge, SE of of Tesjuate, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (28°28'32.7"N 13°54'11.0"W). News were immediately released by the author who had previously contacted, as in other years' visits, with this page to see if there were any news in the island. Little did we expect to find such a MEGA not only for the Canaries or Spain but the WP. The author published the record in the Tarsiger portal and provided an additional photo for this website, see below (Daniel Kratzer). Later during the day other local birdwatchers (there appear to be only three active in the island) visited the area and at least Marcelo Cabrera did see the bird according to internet sources. On 2.12 the bird was seen again (Uca Díaz, Arne Torkler; Eduardo García del Rey and others) and on 3.12 too, this time involving foreing birders specifically aimed to twitch the bird and birdwatchers from other Canary islands (Xabier Remírez, David Pérez, Mike Hunter et al). The previous record is from 2002 at Tenerife and it is featured in an special page in the rarebirdspain.net website here: Dwarf Bittern at Tenerife, Canary Islands, August 2002: 4th for the Western Palearctic. Seen again on 4.12 (Robin Mawer) and 6.12 (Klaus Drissner).On 8-9.12 it was still at Barranco del Rio Cabras, Fuerteventura (Josh Jones; Daphne Flierman, Remco Versluijs @ observado.es). On 16.12 it was seen again (F.Javier García Vargas, Nacho Castelao, José Portillo, Juan Sagardía).Still there on 17.12 (David Walsh, Samuel Levy) nand on 19.12 too (David Walsh, Samuel Levy). Another bird had  been seen on 25.11.2017: a 1w was seen and photographed at Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Vernon Lundy). Cronologically, the 4th for Canary Islands, 5th for WP. Eduardo Garcia del Rey (SOC) provided the following information from the author: “The bird was observed for about 5 mins until I took this, the only image before it flew away. It was seen outside Apartment B522, Oasis Dunas, Coralejo at 15.57hr, 25 Nov,2017. I did not see the bird again and left for the UK the following day".

sábado, 2 de diciembre de 2017

Vanellus miles en Murcia, nueva especie exótica para España


Vanellus miles, Murcia, 26.11.2017 © Vicente Hernández Gil


El 26.11.2017 se observaron tres avefrías en embalse de Santomera, Murcia (Mónica Rubio, Belén Escudero, Francisco José Mora y Susana Noguera). La cita fue compartida en el grupo de WhatsApp Birdnet Murcia, y los autores coincidieron que se trataba de una avefría exòtica, la avefría militar (Vanellus milles), aunque había dudas por el patrón alar y se llegó a pensar en individuos híbridos.

Vanellus miles, Murcia, 26.11.2017 © Vicente Hernández Gil

Vanellus miles, Murcia, 26.11.2017 © Susana Noguera

La observación tuvo lugar a las 10.30h y las avefrías se mostraban muy activas volando desde una orilla del embalse de Santomera donde había tarros blancos (Tadorna tadorna) hasta una zona donde se alimentaban un grupo de flamencos (Phoenicopterus roseus). Hicieron varios vuelos en el tiempo que los autores iniciales estuvieron allí. Se obtuvieron fotos a distancia.

Vanellus miles, Murcia, 26.11.2017 © Susana Noguera
Sobre las 14h otro ornitólogo murciano, Vicente Hernández Gil, junto con Cristina Martínez y Francis Gil, pudieron observarlas otra vez en la misma zona, y también se pudo sacar fotos. El dia 27.11.2017 otro ornitólogo murciano, Pedro A. Sánchez Ruiz, confirmó que seguían en el embalse de Santomera y el grupo de tres aves seguia en la zona el 28.11.2017 (Gabino Cortés Sánchez @ eBird).

Mapa de la observación debajo.





Distribución y origen
 
Vanellus miles. Mapa de distribución mundial [World distribution map] (Source: Avibase)

La distribución natural de la especie està restringida a Australia, Nueva Guinea, Indonesia y Nueva Zelanda, lo que hace imposible una llegada natural.  Desde el grupo de Birdnet Murcia se considero acertadamente su origen procedente de un escape, quizá de una colección privada. Hay noticias de que un empresario de la Región de Murcia tiene una mansión en el entorno del embalse de Santomera y que adquirió una colección de anátidas exóticas hace unos años. Tal vez estas avefrias procedan de esa colección. Es posible que un ave de las tres estuviese anillada (A.J.Hernández in litt.).

Vanellus miles, Murcia, 26.11.2017 © Susana Noguera


En cuanto al patrón alar, que parece mostrar una franja en cobertoras alares tanto primarias como secundarias, bien podría deberse al desgaste o muda, que parece también mostrarse activa en el límite de primarias y secundarias.

© Vicente Hernández Gil
La ausencia de semicollar en flancos apunta a la subespecie nominal miles, a diferencia de la subespecie neozelandesa novaehollandiae.

La avefría militar no aparece en la lista de aves exóticas de España de 2006 (pdf aquí) por lo que podría constituir una nueva adición a este listado de aves en la categoria E.








Agradecimientos

A Antonio Jesús Hernández Navarro por su colaboración en la difusión de esta cita.


Abstract: Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) in Murcia, new exotic species for Spain. From 26.11 to at least 28.11 three Masked Lapwings were seen at Santomera reservoir, Murcia, Spain. This is the first record of this Australasian species in Spain. The species is not in the 2006 E list of Spain and it could be the first observation of this exotic lapwing in the country.


Cita/Citation

Noguera,S., Rubio,M., Escudero, B. & Mora. F.J. 2017 Vanellus miles en Murcia, nueva especie exótica para España. Rare Birds in Spain blog.Retrieved from
https://rarebirdspain.blogspot.com/2017/12/vanellus-miles-en-murcia-nueva-especie.html

sábado, 1 de abril de 2017

When and where to watch birds in Catalunya

Cover with the stunning Lammergeier photo from Oriol Muntané

Published in early April 2017, When and Where to Watch Birds in Catalunya is the new book from Tundra Ediciones, the Spanish leading nature related books publisher. Written by this blog and Rare Birds in Spain website author, Ricard Gutiérrez, the book is foreworded by GONHS' Gibraltar Bird report editor Dr. Ernest F J Garcia.

Here we'll deal with a complete review of its contents aimed to perhaps encourage you to order one copy of this 378 pages long brand new guide to perhaps one of the best birding places in SW Europe.



Did you know that 443 bird species have been seen in Catalunya and that their number changes every month? Did you know that Catalunya holds the current European record of most birds seen in 24 hours, well exceeding 210 species? Can you imagine waking up in the snow-covered Pyrenees with Tengmalm’s Owl, Citril Finch or Lammergeier, visiting the open grassland at midday with Little Bustard, a diversity of larks, both Sandgrouse, Black Wheatear or Montagu’s Harrier, then ending the day on the Mediterranean coast with Greater Flamingo, Audouin’s and Slender-billed Gulls or offshore shearwaters? This is only possible in Catalunya. And this is the book to have if you want to enjoy the bird diversity of this rich country on a monthly basis.

If you are a resident planning a weekend trip that particular month or a visitor in search of anything to look for during your holiday, the book gives advice on different places and ideas and tips for mountain, Mediterranean and coastal habitats and sites.  The full Catalunya bird list is quoted in the book, with special attention to the must-see specialities and scarce birds month by month.

The book includes:
  • References to all bird species recorded in Catalunya 
  • 24 maps with suggested itineraries, including details of 22 observation towers, 31 hides, 92 viewing points or stakeouts and 149 suggested birdwatching areas. 
  • QR codes to be scanned with your mobile phone giving access to websites, downloadable documents or mobile apps. 
  • Many internet links to further resources linked with book contents 
  • A list of 187 specific locations underlined in the book with GPS directions covering all Catalunya comarcas.
  • A complete list of other resources for preparing your visits 
  • The updated Catalunya bird list 
  • A comarca-based appendix with further useful resources and information, downloadable maps and QR links, bird-richness maps and site lists. 
  • Current big-year records for every category in Catalunya. 



The text above is that of the back cover of the book. One of its aims is to give ideas for birdwatchers, allowing them to plan future trips depending on the time of the year and to encourage the old-fashioned way of ‘looking for birds’ rather than ‘waiting for others to find them’ so I can twitch them.

The book contains proposals both for the average birder but also for the keen aficionado in search of the rare or more interesting species. Guidelines are given for both so everyone can take advantage of any weekend visit, business trip, or holiday period regardless of whether it’s summer, winter, spring or autumn. 

Index of contents showing the book structure

The book is divided into four parts



  • The initial part includes an introduction and ensuing chapters (pages 1 to 36).
  • The second part is the main core of the book, dealing with each of the twelve months of the year in turn (pages 37 to 270).
  • A third section including external resources and acknowledgements (pages 271 to 278).
  • A final set of appendixes covering the Catalan bird list, the list of locations mentioned along the book and a set of files including useful information organized on a comarca basis. A species index (with both scientific and English names) is included too (pages 279 to 378). 


The book is plenty of graphs, photos, maps and QR codes all from the author. Besides, Xavier Riera provided a stunning Wallcreeper photo (see below) and Oriol Muntané four more images including the Lammergeier cover. Both authors kindly provided them for the book.

The 187 georeferenced locations cover all Catalunya comarcas and are of six main habitat types, each one featured with a colour dot. The 24 main routes have an additional red square and are coloured within the text with its habitat colour (e.g. orange for drylands).


Catalunya has a great variety of reliefs but it is basically a mountainous country located in NE Iberian Peninsula. There are the Pyrenees in the north. A number of coastal mountain ranges run north-south, some close to the sea, others a bit inland. The coast is rocky in the north (the so-called Costa Brava) and becomes sandy towards the centre and the south. And there are coastal wetlands at each end and in the middle: north to south the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, Llobregat delta and the large Ebre delta. To complete the panorama, the central depression lies well inland, phasing in with the Ebro river basin expanding into Aragón and beyond. This essentially flat area does not contact with the main Pyrenean axis but with chalk, raptor-rich Mediterranean mountain ranges constituting the Pre-Pyrenees.

There is a huge scope for birds in an almost 32.000 km2 area that allows you to start the day watching the sun rise over the snow clad peaks of the Pyrenees while listening to the Tengmalm’s Owl and end up in the Mediterranean deltas watching shearwaters from the coast. With a good communications network, a wide-ranging, internet-driven source of information and the network of protected areas, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking rare species in the Iberian context, for those who come to the Peninsula from the north and for those who live here, all of this thanks to the extraordinary variety of habitats and species.

 
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus photo featured in April chapter (Ricard Gutiérrez)



 
How many birds can we find in Catalunya?

443 species from 74 families have been recorded in Catalunya so far.



Many of the 443 species are common elsewhere in Europe; others may be either endemic to southern Europe or typically considered as a coveted species for visitors from other climes. We have selected a set of 100 species amongst the total which might be the main targets for visitors from abroad. Emphasised with a bold number in Appendix 1, they range from endemic forms such as Iberian Green Woodpecker or Witherby’s Reed Bunting to southern European specialities such as Red-necked Nightjar, Thekla Lark, Roller, Little Bustard, Lammergeier or Audouin’s Gull.



November opening, with the © Xavier Riera Wallcreeper photo taken in one of the sites of the book and the introduction of the month. A similar scheme is at the beginning of each one of the twelve months


Catalunya month by month




Every month chapter includes in turn a global introduction (see an example above) to what the month represents from the birdwatching point of view. After this, a set of proposals are detailed in two different sections:

       General birding tips, includes regular events such as the arrival or departure of certain migrants. References to species and when and where to see them are detailed but also some suggestions to specific sites throughout Catalunya. Those places, underlined in the text and detailed with GPS coordinates in appendix 2, can also be visited in any other part of the year, but the proposed dates coincide with some particular event or period such as migration, breeding season etc.

       Tips for keen birders and rarity aficionados, including detailed information on the scarcer species likeliest to turn up that month. Almost regular, albeit scarce, birds are included and some histograms, charts and maps are provided too. A list of the top rarities found every month is also included, and a ‘rarity’ forecast involving the most likely future additionsto the Catalan list to whet the appetite of the most inveterate twitcher.

All bird species included in the main text are highlighted in italic bold letters to make them stand out.

Text is established on a monthly basis trying to point out the best season to visit the featured sites. However these may be frequented along the whole year. Some habitat photos and external links are included
Pages 120-121 covering part of the Pyrenees species and providing links to further resources from Nature Parks in the area. Georeferenced locations are underlined and species are in bold italics
An example of a chart showing the migration patterns of Little and Baillon's Crakes (Porzana parva, P.pusilla)

The keen birders part contains more detailed information on rarities occurrence and migration patterns of some sought-after species. In this case Pallid Harrier charts and histograms showing the best moment to attempt watching them. There is a complete list of rarities seen in Catalonia every month and a final paragraph on possible list additions. Perhaps you may add one of those species to the main text of future editions!



You will find references to locations or place names throughout the book. The commoner ones, such as town or large sierras names, can be found in maps or the internet. A set of more specific places appear underlined and are included in appendix 2, showing both their native Catalan name and, wherever applicable, their English meaning. Appendix 2 includes 187 places, with details on the town council they belong to, comarca, province and UTM datum ETRS89 GPS coordinates.

The book also includes references to internet resources, either webpages or documents. Some of these external links are accessible through a QR Code that can be scanned from your handheld, either smartphone or tablet.

The book is designed to awaken curiosity and to be useful for a wide range of visitors to Catalunya that may have a different degree of interest in nature
and birds.

An example of the first two pages of an itinerary. In this case, being a coastal wetland, the background colour (same in the Catalunya locations map above) is violet meaning brackish wetlands. All maps are original for this book and containing a set of pictograms indicating facilities or suggested birdwatching points. Details on access (by car, bus or train), timing and main target species are included too.


The book includes 24 itineraries with site maps covering locations of interest for our remit here. All maps have been specially drawn up for this book by the author on the basis of the official maps from the Catalan Cartographic and Geological Institute (http://www.icc.es).
The 144.53 km long routes are dotted in the maps with different colours according to access type and path characteristics. Other maps of the different comarcas or tourist points of interest are linked in Appendix 3 including QR codes for tablets or smartphones too.

The routes have different coloured dots according to its nature, either driveable tracks (paved or not) or walking sections. Besides, pictograms indicate suggested stops. This map key is in the back sleeve of the cover so you can use it along the whole book. 


The book also includes in appendix 1 the Catalan bird list with English, latin, Spanish and Catalan names provided. The Catalan bird list includes 74 families and 443 species. It also includes 10 further subspecies which are diagnosable in the field. Each species has been
classified in a category: A, B or C, according to the recent categorisation
included in the 2012 Spanish list.

A part of the Catalan list included in appendix 1

  

Appendix 2 lists the 187 specific locations mentioned in the book’s main text, where they appear underlined. For every location its name, as it appears in the book, is given. This name almost always coincides with the official ICGC nomenclature, which you can find on its online map viewer (see resources chapter, http://www.icc.cat/vissir3/). Also shown are the
municipality, comarca, province (Barcelona, Girona, Lleida or Tarragona) and geographical x,y coordinates in UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator), datum ETRS89. A further column shows the month(s) chapter(s) in which the area is mentioned (Roman numerals). 

Appendix 3 contains a fact file with data of interest to the visitor to Catalunya for every one of the 42 Catalan comarcas, including the recently established Moianès. As stated in chapter one, the comarca is Catalunya’s sub-provincial administrative division, in turn divided into municipalities. It is almost a book within the book with plenty of background information and further resources to explore. 



The files for Baix Ebre and Baix Empordà comarcas.


Besides surface, administrative capital, link to tourist board website and protected surface, details on transportation are thoroughly provided. Besides sites mentioned in the book and chapter where they are, main tourist attractions are also listed together with a list of the protected areas if any and the kind of habitat you may expect.

A diagram showing the main landscape units (forest, scrubs, cultivated land...) is followed by a map showing the bird richness in summer and winter according to breeding atlases projects. Number of taxa recorded and summary of main birding interest together with downloadable protected area maps if available completes what's aimed to be an useful reference file given you plan to visit or stay within a single comarca or nearby.


As the final paragraph of the foreword from Dr. Ernest F J Garcia states, I look forward you enjoy this book and hopefully see you sometime birdwatching in Catalunya.




This is actually rather an unusual book. It departs from the site-by-site format of ‘traditional’ guides and instead considers Catalunya month-by-month. Moreover, it provides guidance in turn for those whose interest in birds and wildlife is quite general or who are beginners and then attempts to satisfy the more hard-core birders (always an ambitious assignment) by providing pointers to sought-after target species and opportunities for rarity-finding. The sites themselves do get full treatment both within the main text and within the Appendices. It is difficult to imagine any potentially useful detail that has been omitted. This Guide therefore more than amply fulfils its aims and will be invaluable to anyone who visits Catalunya or aims to spend some longer time there. I heartily recommend it to you. 


Dr. Ernest FJ Garcia (left) and Ricard Gutiérrez (right) in the last British BirdFair 2016 (this photo is not included in the book).