Barry Pennock-Speck's Blog

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Birds along the riverbed (Río Turia, Valencia)

Posted by pennock on 23 January 2009

The riverbed of the River Turia as it winds its way through the capital Valencia is almost totally dry, except for a few ornamental ponds and a large lake where Valencia borders on Mislata. A few years ago there was some water –a stream of murky liquid that looked anything but ornamental but all that is underground now. The river was strewn with rubbish from one end to another –not a pretty sight. A whole new riverbed was built after the floods in 1957 so hopefully Valencia will never be flooded again.

When democracy came there was a popular movement called Ho volem verd which in Valencian means “We want it green”. So, the then Socialist town hall started to design and landscape the riverbed. Near where I live they built the concrete monstruoisity known as “vetges tú” (the nearest translation is the Welsh saying Look you”!). The conservatives really had a go at the socialists about that forgetting that they wanted to make a ten-lane highway out of the riverbed. You might not remember this as Rita Barberá has been mayoress for so long but the City of Arts and Sciences was actually a socialist project. Anyway, I digress.

Nowadays the riverbed is a green and pleasant land with trees dotted around. It is really nice to see people strolling along the paths, playing basketball, riding their bikes and, like me, walking their dogs. (remember to pick up your doggies’ doodies!)

There is actually quite a lot of birdlife and most of the birds are quite easy to recognize. The most common birds are the pigeons (palomas). You all know what they look like:

Then there are the collared doves (tórtola turca),

collared-dove-free

followed by blackbirds (mirlos)

blackbird-free

I forgot the siskin (verdecillo). There are loads of them. In Spring you can hear their courting song. They are easy to spot due to the yellow rump (lower back)

There is also an abundance of pied wagtails (lavandera blanca)

lavandera-blanca-free

Grey wagtails (lavandera cascadeña),

grey-wagtail-free

robins (petirrojo),

robin-free

black redstarts (colirrojo tizón)

black-redstart-free

chaffinches (pinzón vulgar)

chaffinch-free

hoopoes (abubilla)

hoopoes-free

There is at least one kingfisher (martín pescador)

kingfisher-free

A Great Shrike (alcaudón real):

alcaudon-real-free

I even saw a Peregrine Falcon (halcón peregrino) eating a collared dove clear as day in January 2009. Fantastic.

peregrine-free

2 Responses to “Birds along the riverbed (Río Turia, Valencia)”

  1.   fores Says:

    Hi Barri
    thank you so much for this wonderful collection of bird photographs. As I also walk my dog (Scooby) and walk to the Facultat the same route, I have enjoyed watching the very same birds as you. I still remember and I’ll try to get pictures of the sea-gulls (gaviotas) exotic birds (papagayos, urracas, canarios y periquitos) I have seen in the many years I am walking the ‘cauce verd’.
    It was Pérez Casado, Ricardo to his many friends, who signed all these improvements. We should make him a monument as he had to bull-fight Rita and colleagues, and he did an excellent job, don’t you agree?

    salut
    vicente

  2.   pennock Says:

    Thanks, Vicente. I have missed out a couple of very common birds which I hope to put in asap. I agree with you about Pérez Casado -such a long time ago, eh! I seem to remember that the PP wanted to make the river bed into a 4-lane highway. The PP haven’t really had many original ideas. Not even the City of Arts and Sciences was theirs!