May 122016
 

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.

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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

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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Yanina Maggiotto & Dave Warrington.

Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.

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!.

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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!

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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,

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Yanina & David.

Eco-Tourism Guides at Visit Natura.