Saturday, 18 July 2015

Oliva north side

I am in Oliva, Valencia, Spain at the moment house hunting for a winter home. This is not a birding trip but I have managed to snatch two sessions of birding over the past week.

As usual for me I start birding by walking directly out of my hotel before attempting any known birding hotspots. 

My hotel is on the north side of the town. There is a water channel a little further north I can walk along which goes virtually all the way to the sea before petering out 30 metres from the it. 

The heron family obviously likes the water channel. 

little bittern

The prize member was an adult little bittern which stayed exposed for a couple of minutes.

grey heron

At least three grey heron were accidentally flushed as I walked along. A single little egret was sighted briefly before disappearing down a side channel.

In that same side channel I glimpsed a common kingfisher.


In the main channel were several mallard which I presume were domesticated being very tame. In contrast both adult and young moorhen would rapidly take cover as I approached.

House martin are undoubtedly the most common hirundine in the town and over the near-by countryside. Yet I have yet to see one perched on a wire and ironically it was three sand martin which were perched on one alongside the water channel close to the beach. 

sand martin

They were indeed the only sand martin I have seen so far in Oliva.  Near the sand martin and close to the beach I saw two immature yellow-legged gull fly over.

young barn swallow

Barn swallow are more common than sand martin though much less so than house martin. However a trio of young ones sat on a branch over the channel allowing close approach.

distant kestrel

The water channel is along side a road which veers off another which runs through some orange groves towards the near-by village of Piles. Over the junction of these two narrow roads was where I saw the only bird of prey so far, a humble kestrel.

kestrel hovering

The orange groves mostly hold a different set of birds.

an orange in a grove

If you listen and then look carefully there are sardinian warbler about but they are very shy.


In much great numbers are goldfinch and greenfinch.

greenfinch looking left

Blackbird are surprisingly numerous in the groves too though not at all tame. House sparrow are everywhere and I also saw a single serin.

greenfinch looking right

On one of the two walks I reached the edge of Piles which is a village just north of Oliva. There are  collared dove there (also seen in Oliva).

collared dove

White wagtail were seen best there too.

white wagtail

It was the only place I have observed a spotted flycatcher so far.

spotted flycatcher

Back in Oliva there are plenty of hoopoe on the manicured lawns and the screams of common swift flying through the upper parts of the old town cannot be missed even by the most casual observer.

I hope to do some serious birding (as opposed to these informal walks) in the Oliva area over the years if my house search comes off.

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