I’m lucky enough to work in the world of conservation and in this role I get to meet some pretty inspiring people. On 5 June I was asked to visit one of the charities project partners Accionatura who are based in Barcelona. They wanted to discuss many things and one of those was an interesting project called CompensaNatura. I met the Team Francesc and Stefan who have had to cope with lots of changes in the organisation but seem to still have them motivation and drive to work on for something they really care for and believe in. I had never been to Barcelona and I can say now after a couple of days there I will certainly being going back. The architecture is quite frankly amazing. Obviously one of the big influences on the city was Gaudi and the Modernist movement. Due to the lack of time available I had to do the full on tourist bit and I took a bus tour of the city taking in many sites including the home of Barcelona FC. I was most interested in seeing the Gaudi though and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The bus went past Sagrada Familia basilica, Casa Batlló and then finally onto Park Güell where I departed.
Park Güell is a strange place. It’s very obviously unique and this is when you start to question was Guadi genius or just quite frankly crazy. I think to be honest he was a bit of both. I told that he was heavily influenced by nature and that’s why lots of his structures have an organic appearance to them. The buildings in Park Güell just don’t look real, even like gingerbread houses and the mosaics a beautiful.
This is when the birding started. Whilst in Park Güell I saw Barcelona’s Monk Parakeets, Hoopoe and my first life tick of trip Alpine Swifts. Once Francesc heard of my excitement he invited me to his place in the mountains that overlooked Barcelona, with the promise of several more life ticks before my flight on the Saturday morning.
I took the early train out-of-town to where I was told to meet Francesc. I was a beautiful day, the train follows the coast which added to the journey. We then took a short drive to his place and I can say I stunned. The views were incredible and straight outside his house were more Hoopoes and at least 4 Turtle Dove calling. In his ‘garden he regularly gets Golden Oriole which I was very excited to hear. However on this morning there was no sign of them and I thought this isn’t going to go well. However within 5 minutes of being there I had another lifer, the Sardinian Warbler. Just round the corner there was a Bonelli’s Warbler calling, which we would later see (life tick number 3 of my trip). We continued our walk and came across a pair of Woodchat shrike (Tick). We then heard Crested Tits and then found them showing well in the pines in the image below (Tick). Then there was the Subalpine Warblers (Tick) and we also heard Fan Tailed Warblers calling.
We watched dragonflies and damselflies by the pool that has been created as part of the filtration system. We ended our walk back at the house eating Nectarines straight from the tree in the amazing veg garden that he has on the go.
Francesc rents part of his place out to birders and with regular ringing parties going on there is certainly plenty to see. I fell in love with the place, and maybe the fact I had so many life ticks added to that but it was beautiful and he is a true gent. I say that, he did text me when I was at the airport to tell me that I had missed out on yet another Short-toed Eagle