Here is a quick look at some of the bird species you could expect to see on a birding trip to the Terres de l'Ebre. Of course there are a good many species that have not been mentioned - it's so hard to choose!
The Audouin's Gull is a handsome and rare gull is endemic to the Mediterranean. In the year 2006 there were 15,329 pairs of Audouin's Gulls nesting in the Ebre Delta. Large numbers of these birds gather at the port of Sant Carles de la Ràpita, but the species can be seen throughout the delta in small groups on its shores, rice fields and salt pans. Some birds remain in and around the delta during the winter months.
In Europe this attractive sedentary bird is only found on the Iberian Peninsula. Much of its Catalan population inhabits the Mediterranean mountain ranges of Terres de l'Ebre: Cardó, Els Ports and Montsià
. It is also found in the north of the region, in the semi-arid, deserted landscapes surrounding the River Ebre.
Around 65% of the European population of this eagle inhabits Spain. Its Catalan stronghold is in Terres de l'Ebre, where it roams the abrupt mountains of the Prelitoral range, soaring over the craggy peaks, olive groves and pine clad slopes of Els Ports, Cardó and Tivissa massifs. It prefers to hunt over a rich patchwork of Mediterranean landscapes, usually between altitudes of 200 and 600m.
There are an estimated 700 pairs of Squacco Heron breeding in Catalonia and the immense majority of them are at the Ebre Delta. Here the protection of wetlands and beneficial changes in agricultural practices have led to a significant increase in the numbers of this species. It is mostly present from April to October, although in recent years very small numbers have remained for the winter.
This species is a summer visitor to the region, between mid-April and late September. It breeds in flat or undulating dry country with scattered trees or open pine woods. At night listen out for its hollow, knocking call, very different from that of the European Nightjar. The Red-necked Nightjar is widespread in Terres de l'Ebre, absent only from the Ebre Delta and above altitudes of 600 metres.
12 pairs of this species were found for the first time on the Ebre Delta
in 1975. Now there are more than 600 pairs of Slender-billed Gulls, representing 70-75% of the Iberian population, nesting annually on the delta. It can be seen on saltpans, at river and channel mouths and above all along the shores of Fangar and Alfacs bays. More than 100 birds remain throughout the winter months.
This species, which is present in the region from March to September, has spread quite spectacularly over parts of Catalonia in recent years. Its main population in Terres de l'Ebre is in Ribera d'Ebre, where it nests in rocky areas and in artificial breeding sites such as abandoned buildings and under bridges. All indications are that it will colonise further areas in the coming years.
Normally between 60 and 80 pairs of Collared Pratincoles nest on the Ebre Delta every year, where the species can be seen between the months of April and September. It breeds at sea level in areas of low vegetation, rough pasture-land and on banks between rice fields, at Erms de la Tancada, Lo Garxal and Canal Vell.