Bird-racing. Des de Desembre 2004

birding team 2008
Maratón SEO/BirdLife
sponsored by DISEFOTO / LEICA


The Rarebirdspain birding team 2008 uses LEICA Optics for birding. Only these top quality products can provide the sharper and top-quality views needed for this kind of competitions.

Race impressions
Race snapshots
Race results
Our targets

2008 race impressions

rg xl ar ss
Gutiérrez, Ricard
Larruy, Xavier
Ramal, Armand
Sales, Sergi
Bird of the day during 2006 race? Ocell del dia durant la marató 2006? Ave del dia durante la maratón 2006?  
Panurus biarmicus
The party of 14 Stercorarius pomarinus
Pterocles orientalis
Falco vespertinus
Biggest dip? L'ocell que va fallar més estrepitosament? El fallo más estrepitoso?  
Lullula arborea
 Sylvia borin
Myopsitta monachus
Sylvia borin
Most difficult finding? L'ocell més difícil de trobar? La especie más difícil de encontrar?  
Some we did not see. They were indeed difficult...
Oriolus oriolus
Best surprise? La millor sorpresa? La mejor sorpresa?  
Marmaronetta angustirostris
 Marmaronetta angustirostris
Falco vespertinus
Marmaronetta angustirostris
Best place? El millor lloc? El mejor sitio?  
An inland area in the plains
The Pyrenees
Worst moment? El pitjor moment? El peor momento?  
The search for the Red-necked Nightjar When we left the boat from N Delta to S Delta Just before arrival to Ebro delta The amount of people at the coastal viewpoint with a team inside Buda island
Best moment? El millor moment? El mejor momento?  
The dawn at Pyrenees, with a sought-after species When the 2007 score was reached and there was enough time for more The Pyrenees When the Pterocles orientalis appeared.

brThe dense forest, home of tits, treecreepers and other surprises in a sunny and chilly morning.

2008 race results

The Official results will be featured in the SEO/BirdLife webpage. We cannot announce our score due to official restrictions and marathon rules. 

brEndless horizons in an early birding sleepless morning is always something worth photographing.

2008 race targets

Something told us that we could improve results. This was definitely possible. Once we had recovered Armand Ramal after the 2007 break (but present in the Navarra Gran Reto in the 2007 autumn), we succeeded in recruiting a major figure within the iberian birding scenario: the ringer and rarities committee member Sergi Sales. Both to join Xavier Larruy , in the team again since 2007, and the resident player Ricard Gutiérrez. What seems that will become a well-established party of four was set to beat all our previous records on the basis of the 2006 race and our cumulative experience along the racing years. So off we went to begin the race on midnight 26th April 2008 using an itinerary that eventually would bring us to the sea from the mountains.

It does not matter if plenty of sand or snow. Attention to any new species demands concentration and good skills

Since the 2007 itineary was nice, we used it as a basis, with many new (secret, sorry) inputs though. More driving means sometimes more birds, given you have the correct information. And knowledge. Our philosophy is the same year after year and some details are explained in our blog: no use of restricted areas so our itinerary could be repeated by anyone; strict observation of rules and trustability in our findings.

You can still learn more about our way of thinking on birdracing in this LEICA international e-magazine online paper.

Rarebirdspain birding team received support and sponsorship from DISEFOTO, the LEICA representative in Spain after the 2006 & 2007 successful experience. We are again very grateful to both Disefoto and Leica,  particulary to Leonel Berger and his staff, as we are indebted to all from whom we had received help and support all listed below

The race was carried out in an anticyclonic context. That scenario modified our planning, since weather is a must in any passage period and it has to be taken into account while planning the different race sections. Avoiding a late defeat such as that of 2007 was a must. Last year bad weather was the cause but sunny conditions could be even worst in a country in which beaches pull crowds and coasts can be full of tourists in search of a proper suntan, something respectful, but preferably avoidable in race days. So there we went, again avoiding any harm to any bird or nest, not using any tape records neither any other odd methods and strictly observing all rules. Again, such as in 2007, our team decided unanimously, despite having opportunities of doing so, not to visit during the race any restricted access area within natural parks or protected areas to be at the same level that any other team in the race. All the route was carried out along public roads, tracks and paths.

The Lleida steppes is a very worthy as well as endangered habitat, home of many specialities and a fixed area within our annual itinerary

Why racing in Catalonia? Despite is our homeland, it holds a very diverse landscape and you can travel from a high-altitude plateau, through deciduous forests to Mediterranean maquis area and semi-steppes into coastal cliffs or wetlands within the day. That's the secret of the bird-race if combined with a good day for passage migrants and reasonable good weather for birdwatching it can give you good scores. As we had!. 

We cannot loose too much time. A photo for the website, but all the rest of people scanning the forest and the skies in search of raptors..

The 2008 race begun well, continued on time compared with 2007 score and ended perfectly on time in the coast. When you're near the record, any new bird 'counts' but, unfortunately, not all are around. Or they do not want to appear. So the last section of the race, as always, determines your fate. In this case, a moderate satisfaction, knowing you're always leaving something, you are not having all what you expected but, all in all, you're having fun.

High Pre-pyrenean cliffs hold important Griffon Vulture colonies as well as a selection of other raptors

Again, like in 2007, we may not win the first prize but certainly we go back home with the sensation of having done well and having beaten our previous marks. With good fun and some luck too. With good birds within the day. Something is certainly the brand Rarebirdspain does and has done. Non-profit, but for the benefit of birds. And birding. With the top-quality optics that LEICA provide, with the help of good friends and with a the widespread support from birding community we will be back, if nothing happens, next year to continue our way of racing and enjoying nature. 

Rarebirdspain Birding Team

Read the Spanish version of the chronicle in the Rarebirdspain Birding Team blog here.


To Leonel Berger, from DISEFOTO for sponsoring the team and answering so well again.
To Helena and Gloria Arbonés, from TOTBO shop, for the logistic support

To the following birders for different support and information before the race: Joan Estrada, Diego García-Ferré , Emma Guinart, Jordi Martí-Aledo, Ferran López, Xavier Parellada, Daniel Burgas, Marcel Gil, Josep Tantull, Roser Solé, Marc Pérez, Gerard Bota, Jordi Canut, Job Roig, Francesc Capdevila, Frederic Sánchez, Gabriel Lampreave, Jordi Cerdeira, Cristian Jensen, Ignasi Ripoll and Joan Barrachina. Very many thanks indeed!.

And to all those who have encouraged us either before, during or after the race. Thanks a lot.

RICARD GUTIÉRREZ uses Leica Ultravid BR 10x42
XAVIER LARRUY uses Leica Trinovid 10x42

SERGI SALES used Leica Trinovid 10x42
ARMAND RAMAL used Leica Apo-Televid 77

RBT 2008 was formed by Ricard Gutiérrez (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona), Xavier Larruy (Barcelona), Armand Ramal (Barcelona) and Sergi Sales (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona) . 
RBT 2008 va ser format per Ricard Gutiérrez (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona), Xavier Larruy (Barcelona), Armand Ramal (Barcelona) i Sergi Sales (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona). Es detalla més amunt una crònica de les impressions de la cursa de 2007, amb els nostres objectius i filosofia particular així com la forma que tenim de veure aquesta mena de celebracions.
RBT 2007 fue integrado por Ricard Gutiérrez (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona), Xavier Larruy (Barcelona), Armand Ramal (Barcelona) i Sergi Sales (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona) . Se detalla más arriba la crónica de las impresiones de la maratón de 2007, con nuestros objetivos y la filosofía particular que empleamos así como la forma que tenemos de ver este tipo de celebraciones.

Leica Leader in the Field for Spain 2005-2008 


2008 race snapshots


If mammals would have counted, the number of species had been higher! Roe Deer was abundant int the Pyrenees section


Scanning the flat sea, some jaegers took appearance


These two were easy to find...


The sunny weather helped long-range scanning and favoured scenery


All eyes concentrated while driving!


The surprise of the day: a pair of Marbled Teals which we discovered and showed to at least four other teams for the sake of friendship


Bird in flight! Raptor? Corvid? Let's fix it!


Low tide favoured wader flocks which were quickly cleared off


In search of some difficult species in the reed, the LEICAs with the Remembird recorder proved usefuli

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