Saturday, December 29, 2012

A quiet day at the Aiguamolls

It was a beautiful twenty degrees celsius today and time to visit the Aiguamolls nature reserve. On the drive down we passed one field filled with egrets and white storks. A tree was full of hawks. Our hopes were high for a spectacular day at the Aiguamolls.

Looking out over the ponds from the first blind there were still lots of mallards, including a couple perched on a rock sharing it with a large turtle. Several small black coots splashed and scooted across the water. There were several northern shovelers with their bright green, brown and white markings, along with some brown headed Eurasian wigeons and huge numbers of Emporda geese, many resting on the little islands. The cormorants were perched on their usual log with wings hanging out to dry. All the flamingoes and spoonbills have disappeared. Have they continued on the migratory route to Africa? The rest of the pond was filled with Great Blue heron and white storks. It was interesting that there was not the variety of birds that there was a year ago. Has the warmer weather made a difference?

We did pass a family of deer grazing in one of the fields. Since it was such a nice day we continued past fields of cows and Camarague ponies down to the beach. We watched a brown short-toed eagle, with its almost owl-shaped head, perched in a tree, but every time we went to take a picture it flew off after its prey.

Perhaps the best part of the day was being the only people walking along the sand at the eighty-metre wide beach. I made the comment that the water was never this flat when we came here to swim and just as the words were out of my mouth, little white capped rollers started to break on the shore.

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