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Llobregat Delta, Barcelona - Catalonia, Spain,
Whether you need to fill in a couple of rushed hours before flying off somewhere or want to take it easy and relax away the whole day, the Llobregat Delta, next to Barcelona's El Prat airport, is the perfect location.
Indeed, as nature creates a freakish metaphor of its neighbour, with thousands of birds and some 350 species passing through each year, it’s not surprising that it’s earned a reputation as THE place for migrants in the whole of Catalunya.
Everything from Bluethroat, paying but fleeting visits, to Spoonbill, often hanging around for months, takes a stopover here at some point.
Those taking their regular scheduled flights include Osprey, Booted Eagle, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Furruginous Duck, White-winged Black Tern and Little Gull although by far the most memorable is the invasion of thousands upon thousands of hirundines, when all five European species including Red-rumped Swallow and Crag Martin, can be seen skimming and darting through every spare centimetre of air space.
And, of course, there are always those who miss their flight and each year ill-winds bring in a mixed bag of rare vagrants all eager to find their way home.
As expected perhaps, the delta is well staffed with natives also and Night Heron, Kentish Plover, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Black-winged Stilt, Penduline Tit, Scops Owl and Purple Gallinule all busy themselves during the breeding season.
It does have its quiet side though and, given an early morning, a seat overlooking the Vidala and a flask of coffee, you stand your best chance, perhaps in the whole of the Iberian Peninsular, of seeing Water Rail, Little Crake, Baillon's Crake and Moustached Warbler.
But be careful you don't miss your flight!