6.30 am Up, dressed, flask of coffee, binoculars, camera and off to Sebes Nature Reserve at Flix.
7 .00 am The sun was just kissing the tops of the reeds as I settled myself in the hide.
Scanned the small lagoon – nothing to be seen. Chirps of house martins and barn-swallows broke the still morning silence.
Poured myself a coffee and ate a couple of magdelenas. As the light was changing I noticed a dark shape in the tall trees beyond. Focused the bins – a Marsh Harrier sat surveying the reed beds.
A purple heron flew up from the reeds opposite. I know there are a couple of nests at that spot – so no doubt mum was off looking for food for her chicks.
Marsh Harrier still there.
A movement in the reeds…. ahhh – a Great Reed Warbler! Watched it for some minutes nimbly scrambling up and down the reeds.
Bee-eaters! Couldn’t see them but heard their wonderful tinkling sound.
A moorhen swam around at the edge of the water. Then a couple of white wagtails made an appearance.
Bee-eaters again! This time 4 of them flew across the water their colours showing brilliantly in the morning light.
The Marsh Harrier left his lookout and swooped off into the distance.
A flash of blue and a kingfsher settled for a few minutes on a dead branch.
The purple heron returned – caught me by surprise and it quickly disappeared into the reeds but it looked like she had something in her beak. Good – the young ones have breakfast!
A little egret flew in.
A cuckoo began to call!
Left the hide and wandered via a boardwalk through riverine woods of White Poplar, Willow and Tamarisk. There was a heavenly sweet smell – masses of Honeysuckle was in flower! Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit flitted everywhere. Cuckoo still heard but unseen.
Took the car to the top end of the reserve noting usual sparrows, starlings then Wood-pigeon and Hoopoe on the way.
Arrived at the Stork Colony and was pleased to see that the young storks were now big enough to bob their heads above the nest. Time for another coffee whilst I sat and enjoyed watching the parent birds soaring above and clattering their bills as they returned to the nests bringing food.
A Golden Oriole could be heard nearby. A further sighting of Marsh Harrier flying low over the marshes and finally a clear view of Cetti’s warbler hopping round openly on the ground beneath the stork nests.
10.30 – Time to go.
Drove back through the reserve and passed a lone jogger on his way in. The first human of the day!
Couldn’t resist a quick detour to see the Sand Martin colony on the Ebro meander at Flix. An estimated 500- 600 pairs now nest here. What a sight to see all these birds darting in and out of their holes in the sandy bank!
And what a perfect start to my day!