Mar 222016
 

This morning we provided a 3 hour activity at the hostal Ull de Canals for a group of school children from Ibi, Alicante.

The day began with a presentation and open discussion about bird migration, and why Spain as a country plays such an important part in this amazing natural phenomena.

Eco Tourism for children

We then focussed on two species that although common, lead amazing lives and cover huge distances on their migration between Europe and Africa…the Barn Swallow and the Swift.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

There followed an active question and answer session, many of the children showing a healthy interest and enjoyed sharing their thoughts, stories and comments.

After the presentation we went for a walk through a wooded gorge, looking for birds.  We were very fortunate to see a recently arrived Short Toed Eagle, a bird of prey that spends each winter in Africa before returning to Spain to breed.  It´s principal food is snakes and lizards.  As we neared the end of the walk, we also had good views of three Griffon Vultures.

Griffon Vulture

Griffon Vulture

The morning ended with an open discussion on what we can do to protect birds and the environment in general.

It was a pleasure to see children and young teenagers show such interest in birds and the environment.  Hopefully some of them will carry this interest into their adult lives too.

 

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Written by Dave Warrington.

Eco-Tourism Guide at Visit Natura.

Mar 092016
 

Last Sunday we had the pleasure of organizing a special “Birds & Bikes” trip for a group who were very interested in discovering the Albufera de Valencia Natural Park and its extremely rich biodiversity.

Birds and bikes
We have previously provided an acitivity for this group in 2015, and they were keen to return to Albufera, this time using bikes to explore the park.  Therefore, we designed the bespoke “Birds & Bikes” trip for them, and began our day in the village os El Saler.  Using the network of trails, we made our way across the marsh heading for one of the areas protected nature reserves.

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During the trip we made several stops to see the spectacular bird life of the park, enjoying views of hundreds of Flamingoes, Glossy Ibis, egrets and herons.  We also stopped to take a look at one of the owl nest boxes that had been installed by the local conservation project “Project Mussols”.

Once inside the nature reserve, we were greeted by one of the biologists who took us to the visitor centre where she explained how the reserve´s green filters operate.  These lagoons are planted with carefully selected vegetation that naturally clean the water, absorbing organic compounds, thus creating a wonderful habitat for aquatic plants, insects, reptiles and birds.

Excursiones guiadas por el parque natural de l'albufera

The wind was becoming stronger by now, so instead of facing the bike trip back across the marsh, we arranged to be picked up in a traditional Albufera boat.  The return journey across the lake providing a fitting end to a great trip.  The combinaton of “Birds and Bikes” had proven to be very successful and resulted in a memorable day for all.

Birds and bikes

We look forward to welcoming you on such a trip very soon!.

Visit Natura

 

Yanina & David.
Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.

 

Feb 072016
 

Last week we had the pleasure of providing an eco-tourism activity in the Devesa Forest, Albufera de Valencia for a very special group of clients.  The group comprised thirty scientists from different countries of the SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), all of who showed a deep interest in learning of the Devesa Forest and its dune system.  In particular, they were keen to learn of the formation process, and how human intervention and regeneration projects have restored the area´s natural habitats.

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The group was staying at the Parador de Golf El Saler, so that was the logical starting point for our trip.  We began a walk of around three and a half hours, taking us along the footpaths of the forest, and stopping along the way to explain the history, habitats, flora and fauna.

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We enjoyed seeing different shrubs and aromatic plant species that caught our senses, insects, reptiles and footprints or trail markings of lizards, Mediterranean tortoise and rabbits.

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This of course is not to mention the diversity of the bird life around us…Kestrel, Booted Eagle, Iberian Grey Shrike, Red-legged Partridge, Sandwich Tern, Greenshank, Mallard, and countless paserines all of which made the afternoon very special.

Booted Eagle in Valencia

Booted Eagle

It has been an immense pleasure to share this special tour with some remarkable people who dedicate their lives to investigating, protecting and improving the world in which we all live.

Until next time!

Visit Natura

Written by David & Yanina.

Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.

Jan 282016
 

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of providing a half-day activity in the Albufera de Valencia Natural Park for an international group who were visiting the University of Valencia.

Eco tourism in Valencia

The morning was designed so that the group could learn of and enjoy the historical, cultural and natural aspects of the park.

To do this, we decided to start the visit in one of the park´s visitor centres, where we provided an audio visual presentation, focussing on how the area was originally formed, its traditions, culture, habitats, bird life and complex eco-systems.

Eco tourism in Spain

After the presentations and further debate, we divide the group into two to begin the next activity – an introduction to birdwatching.  Equipped with telescopes, we visited the observation hides that look onto the reserve´s brackish lagoons.

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We quietly began to explain the different characteristics of the species before us, as well as speaking about the wonder of bird migration.  We enjoyed great views of Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Black Winged Stilt, Shelduck, Shoveler and Teal.

Glossy Ibis in Spain

Glossy Ibis

The group was extremely interested, so we stayed a little longer, discussing bird behaviour and feeding techniques.  We then walked back through the reserve to the main Albufera lake where we´d arranged to finish the morning with a trip on a traditional Albufera boat.

Environmental education Valencia

We passed beside extensive reed beds and through natural canals through the marshes, along the way enjoying great views of Marsh Harrier and yet more Glossy Ibis.  We eventually arrived at the old rice farming village of El Palmar, where the group disembarked to enjoy a lunch of traditional Valencian paella.

It has been a real pleasure for us to see the interest and enthusiasm shown by this group, and to share with them what for us is a very special place indeed.

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Written by Dave & Yanina.

Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.

Specialists in Eco-Tourism for groups at Albufera de Valencia.

 

 

Jan 072016
 

It was great to begin the new year by doing what we love, bird watching with people who value and appreciate nature.

Over the New Year festive period, we had the pleasure of introducing a group of guests from the Parador de Golf de El Saler to the amazing bird life of the Albufera de Valencia Natural Park.

Bird watching for groups in Spain

As a way of making this experience available  to as many guests as possible, we organised a series of trips over a three day period, focussing on the ecology, habitats and bird life of this fascinating wetland region.  Although the format for each trip was the same, the ever changing bird movement through the park ensured that each day was a little different, and with it´s own surprises.

On each trip we were fortunate to have fabulous views of some amazing species, especially on the rice fields which provide shelter and feeding grounds for thousands of birds each winter.

Bird watching for families in Spain

Glossy Ibis

We also visited a natural reserve area where habitat is carefully managed to provide haven for species that are especially sensitive to water quality.

Nature trips for groups in Spain

Bird watching in Albufera de Valencia

Over the three day period, we were fortunate to see a great selection of “typical Albufera” bird species.  These included Purple Swamphen, Little Grebe, hundreds of Glossy Ibis, thousands of Flamingos, Lapwings, Marsh Harriers, Booted Eagle, all the usual herons and egrets plus a surprise Squacco Heron, a bird that usually migrates to Africa for the winter.  Surely, these and many more sightings will provide fond memories for a long time to come.

Booted Eagle in Valencia

Booted Eagle

It was a real pleasure to have enjoyed the company and indeed the smiles of our guests, and to help them discover the magic of birding and nature here in Valencia.

We would like to wish everyone a very happy 2016, and we hope that you take to the field and enjoy the amazing bird life around you, wherever you may be.

With best wishes,

Visit Natura

Yanina & David.

Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.

Jan 062016
 

Despedimos y comenzamos el año haciendo lo que mejor sabemos y más nos gusta… observando aves con personas que valoran y aprecian la naturaleza.IMG_1929

Un año más hemos tenido el grato desafío de enseñar el mundo de las aves que habitan en el Parque Natural de l’Albufera, a los huéspedes del Parador de Golf de El Saler que estuvieron a celebrando el final del 2015 y el comienzo del 2016.

Para hacer realidad la posibilidad de acercar a la mayor cantidad de personas posibles a las aves y sus hábitats, deci
dimos desarrollar durante tres días dos salidas diarias. Cada una de ellas fue única y especial gracias a que las aves son seres maravillosos dotados del poder del vuelo.IMG_1932

En cada salida nos veíamos desafiados a diseñar nuevos recorridos para poder disfrutar de la observación e identificación de la mayor cantidad de especies posible, muchas de las cuales se alimentan y refugian en las miles de hectáreas de los campos de arroz del Parque Natural.

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También recorrimos y visitamos áreas de reserva donde el hábitat es gestionado para obtener un estado ideal para especies más selectivas y sensitivas a la contaminación.

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Algunas de las especies más destacadas de las que hemos disfrutado a lo largo de los tres días han sido Calamones, Zampullines chicos, cientos de Moritos, miles de Flamencos, Avefrías, Aguiluchos Laguneros, Águila Calzada, toda la familia de Garzas incluida una especie que es reproductora y no es nada habitual observarla en estas fechas: la Garcilla Cangrejera, y muchísimas más que han quedado en la retina de todos nosotros.

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Fue un verdadero placer haber disfrutado de las caras y sonrisas que se dibujaban en las personas que decidieron descubrir la magia de la observación de las aves y la naturaleza.

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L’Albufera de Valencia

Os animamos a salir al campo, abrir los ojos y dejarse atrapar por la naturaleza que nos rodea.

Muy feliz año 2016 lleno de aves y amor a la naturaleza!

 Posted by at 6:10 pm
May 222015
 

Last Monday, I had the pleasure of providing our most popular birding trip to l´Albufera de Valencia, for two clients from Holland. Anne and Hans are keen on nature and birding but they also were interested to know how the area was formed, the history and traditional aspects including how rice paddies are managed and how the annual rice cycle operates.

After I collected them at the apartment where they were staying at in Valencia City, we went directly to the interpretation centre of the Natural Park where I could explain in detail about the origin and transformation of the region.

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Then we had a walk into the forest to an observatory where one of the most important colonies of Sandwich Terns and Common Terns are nesting. That amazing nesting spot is shared also with Slender-billed Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls, Avocets and Black-winged Stilts.

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Next stop was in a beach reserve area where we had pic-nic lunch watching the nesting colonies of Collared Pratincole and Kentish Plovers.

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On our way to do the rice fields, we made a short stop in another area to see Audouin´s Gulls and Little Terns.

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After we arrived at the rice paddies, we could see how the seeding is done nowadays, and we enjoyed seeing different species of herons and egrets. Then we made a short boat ride, Anne and Hans were amazed by how close the City of Valencia is to the lake.

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To end the trip we drove by the marshes up to some fields where the rice was already at a fairly advance stage, enabling us to see it in more detail.

It had been a fantastic day with so much to talk about and to admire in this special place right beside Valencia City.

List of species:

Kestrel, Mallard, Shelduck, Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Audouin´s Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Little Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Glossy Ibis, Moorhen, Little Bittern, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sanderling, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Magpie, House Martin, Swallow, Serin, Sardinian Warbler.

 

foto yani web

 

Written by Yanina Maggiotto

 Posted by at 6:13 pm
May 172015
 

Last Friday I had pleasure to providing a trip for two clients, one from USA and the other from England. They were both extremely experienced birders and whilst at a congress in Valencia they were keen to fit in some guided birding in the reserves of Albufera de Valencia.

As they were on a very tight schedule, I opted to take them to three of Albufera´s best reserve areas, as a way of maximising the species that they would see.

The first stop was in an area of forest and lagoons, where we could had great views of a colony of Sandwich Terns and Common Terns. In the breeding season, this is one of the hotspots of Albufera. A hybrid Tern, very similar to an Elegant Tern was also nesting here.

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Another amazing sight was the endangered Marbled Duck and the ever popular Sardinian Warbler.

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Next stop was in a restricted reserve area within the marshes, where we were delighted to see Great Reed Warbler and Little Bittern, plus a rarity for Spain, the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, a bird normaly found in Siberia.

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On our way to the last spot, we made a brief stop to admire a pair of Turtle Doves, a species that is in decline, and for one of the clients, a new sighting.

 

 

 

 

To finish this great day, we visited a reserve area by the beach, where Kentish Plover and Collared Pranticole were nesting. It was wonderful in so many ways…magnificent landscape with a blue Mediterranean sea and dozens of Sanderlings decorating the beach!

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It was great to spend the day with these excellent birders, and I hope they will return to enjoy another trip with us.

Species List:
Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Audouin Gull, Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Mallard, Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, (Hybrid) Tern, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Sanderling, Little-ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Swallow, House Martin, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow.

foto yani web

 

 

Written by Yanina Maggiotto

 Posted by at 8:56 pm
May 122015
 

La semana pasada, David y yo hemos organizado una excursión guiada de Bird Watching a zonas húmedas de Valencia, para unos clientes holandeses expertos en la observación de aves. Ellos deseaban combinar la visita a la ciudad de Valencia con un día en la naturaleza observando y fotografiando aves en zonas de marjal y lagunas cercanas a la hermosa ciudad mediterránea.

Después de un corto recorrido en coche desde el centro de la ciudad donde estaban hospedados, realizamos una parada para tomar un café en primera línea del mar y poder tranquilamente comentar la propuesta de bird watching para el día.

Comenzamos el recorrido por un área protegida que está conformada por lagunas costeras y cañaveral. Como uno de los clientes es experto en fotografía de naturaleza y aves, concentramos nuestros esfuerzos en un corto recorrido por la reserva para darle el tiempo necesario para realizar las tomas fotográficas que deseaba donde las especies de aves más atractivas se encontraban.

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Una de las especies más destacadas y de alta relevancia que pudimos observar en la primer laguna fue la Malvasia cabeciblanca. Así mismo el Avetorillo y el Carricero Tordal desfilaron para las fotos.

Continuamos caminando paralelos a la costa, donde en el sistema dunar pudimos observar y fotografiar a las magníficas Canasteras. A su vez en la zona arbustiva del sistema costero, Tarabilla norteña, Tarabilla común y Cogujadas fueron fáciles de observar.

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En la laguna siguiente, nos encontramos muy cerca de aves limícolas como el Chorlitejo chico, Chorlitejo patinegro, Correlimos zarapitín, Correlimos menudos, Correlimos común, Andarrío batsardo, Andarríos chico, Cigueñuelas, entre varias especies de charranes.

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Después de comer en la playa, nos dirigimos a la última laguna del recorrido,, donde disfrutamos de los Calamones, los Moritos, Patos colorados, y Fumareles.

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Ha sido un día grandioso, donde hemos podido observar las especies de aves más características de las zonas húmedas de la región valenciana. Un día memorable compuesto por una gran diversidad de especies en un hábitat incomparable y en muy buena compañía.

foto yani web

 

 

 

 

Crónica de Yanina Maggiotto

 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Apr 022015
 

Visit Natura forma parte de la Asociación de Guías de Birding de la Comunidad Valenciana y todos los que pertenecemos a la misma, nos regimos por el código ético del observador de aves.

La responsabilidad y respeto que asumimos a la hora de salir al campo con nuestros clientes siempre va direccionada a generar un turismo sostenible, que nos ayude a contribuir a la conservación de nuestros recursos naturales y su biodiversidad.

Tanto es así, que todos los integrantes de la Asociación contamos con una autorización especial para acceder a zonas restringidas en área protegidas.

Contar con estos permisos nos da la posibilidad de acceder a sitios de alta riqueza ornitológica, como por ejemplo el Tancat de Milia, una zona de reserva y filtro verde que está gestionada por la Fundación Global Nature.

Hoy, después de haber sido recibidos muy amablemente por uno de los responsables de la gestión de la reserva, tuvimos el placer de recorrer el filtro verde con Oscar, un amante de las aves que tiene acumulados muchos años de bird watching. Él está pasando con su familia sus vacaciones en Cullera, pero como buen pajarero, ha investigado que rarezas se podían observar en l´Albufera y luego de consultar la web birdingalbufera.es, tuvo claro que su objetivo era poder observar a la Lavandera Cetrina.

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Las últimas citas de este ave, se habían dado en el Tancat de Milia, por ello contactó enseguida con nosotros.
El resultado ha sido: un día muy gratificante, porque sin ninguna intención hemos conseguido observar muchas especies, sobre todo limícolas, pero lo más importante, fue poder observar 2 ejemplares de Lavandera Cetrina que era el objetivo del día. Objetivo cumplido por 2!

Lista de especies:

Aguilucho lagunero, Cernícalo, Anade real, Cerceta carretona, Gallineta común, Calamón, Garza imperial, Garza real, Garceta común, Moritos, Canastera, Avocetas, Cigüeñuela, Archibebe común, Archibebe claro, Correlimos común, Correlimos menudo, Andarrios bastardo, Agachadiza común, Combatiente, Cistícola buitrón, Ruseñor bastardo, Bisbita alpino, Bisbita pratense, Petirrojo, entre 50 y 60 Lavanderas Boyeras incluyendo 3 subespecies diferentes: Flavissima, Cinereocapilla y Iberiae, y 2 Lavanderas Cetrinas.

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