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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Fifteen "Burbagebirders" go wild in Extremadura. March 2008,
Day One: Saturday March 1st
Phil Lee kindly picked me up from Nottingham at 2.00am on Saturday morning and we rendezvoused with the rest of the Burbage Birders at Watford Gap services shortly afterwards.
The cars were dumped at Luton airport and we settled in to wait for our 0640 Easyjet flight to Madrid. The seats were surprisingly comfortable and I slept all the way!
In Madrid, we collected three hire vehicles and after a short while were negotiating Madrid’s orbital motorway. Amazingly, all three cars stuck together and were soon heading south-west to Extremadura.
As we went, Spotted Starlings, Red Kites, White Storks, Magpies and a lone Green Woodpecker brightened up the journey. We finally stopped near Saucedilla at Arrocampo Reservoir for a picnic lunch in the warm sunshine.
This was an excellent taster for our week of Spanish birding to come: Spotted Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Green Sandpiper, Teal, Snipe and White Wagtails kept us entertained while we munched on the food we had purchased from the airport. Several Azure-winged Magpies flitted among the trees in the background but none showed well.
Suddenly, I noticed a stunning male Garganey on the small pool behind us. Where had that come from?! Several Griffon Vultures glided over the farms in the distance.
We drove a little further and found a Purple Swamp-Hen in the reeds and an obliging Zitting Cisticola, which uncharacteristically posed for a few minutes in front of us.
It was time to make the short drive to our accommodation for the week in San Clemente, pausing only to admire the town of Trujillo on the hill to our right. Claudia greeted us at El Recuerdo as did the energetic dog, Morro.
Three of us (Phil, Vicki and I) were staying a few yards up the track at Las Torres but we joined the main group for a lovely evening meal back at Claudia’s at 7.00pm. The local red wine flowed freely, including across Ellen’s nice yellow cardigan! The evening’s bird log was a lively affair to say the least.
Day Two: Sunday March 2nd
I was itching to show the group the delights of Parque Naturel de Monfragűe but it would be crowded on a Sunday so I opted for a local walk to see some of the commoner species in the area combined with an afternoon drive to try and see the last of the wintering Cranes.
The Las Torres contingent set off one way and the San Clemente lot the other, meeting somewhere in the middle. Progress was slow due to the number of birds to sort through!
The fields and bushes were filled with Hoopoes, Serins, Spanish Sparrows, Crested Larks, Sardinian Warblers and gorgeous Azure-winged Magpies. Meanwhile, the main group had found a pair of nest-building Short-toed Treecreepers and a showy pair of White Storks on a nest on the roof of the local church.
Everyone was enjoying the heat of the morning sun but it was time to leave San Clemente and do some birding further afield. We made for a farm track to the south, where we ate our picnic lunches by a small marsh.
The small pools held Green Sandpipers but the real star was a showy Black Kite found by Mike. Many White Storks were seen but lunch was interrupted when a flock of northbound Cranes flew straight over our heads. A larger flock was migrating in front of the distant hills.
Further along the track, we stopped to admire a Hoopoe posing in a dead tree. Vicky found a Little Owl in the same tree! While we were stopped, a pale bird drifted over our car and I alerted the other two vehicles to the Black-shouldered Kite now heading away from us. We later learned that Fred had seen it fly directly over our car!
As we watched this elegant raptor disappear before our very eyes, Phil found a party of ten Cranes in a field just about visible through the strengthening heat haze. And all this because we paused to watch a Hoopoe.
On the return drive along the track, John noticed small flocks of birds being flushed from the side of the track by our car. Some were Goldfinches but we finally managed to get telescope views of the smaller finches to confirm they were Red Avadavats (an exotic species now classed as a self-sustaining species on the Spanish List).
We rejoined the main road but soon stopped gain to scan an area of plains near a reservoir. There was hardly any water in the lake, scuppering our plans to add a few ducks to our trip list but fifteen pairs of eyes soon found a few titbits to keep us occupied.
Simultaneously, Fred and I spotted a large bird flying over the hills in the distance: Great Bustard! Meanwhile, Ken and Brian found a small flock of Little Bustards on the mound behind us, watched by a Little Owl and an Iberian Hare. Two Calandra Larks finally moved away from the glare of the sun sufficiently so we could all see the dark underwings and white trailing edges. Another Great Bustard flew in and landed on the hill in front. We got unsatisfactory telescope views of this impressive bird but I hoped we would see them better than this!
Again, the bird log in the evening was a lively affair, fuelled by more delicious local red wine (it was John’s turn to have his jumper splattered by wine tonight). On the walk back to Las Torres, Vicky, Phil and I heard at least three Little Owls calling and also a distant Scops Owl. While Phil ran (if we can call it that) back to fetch the others, a Long-eared Owl flew silently over Vicky and I!
Day Three: Monday, March 3rd
The group was now getting into a routine. A few hardy souls had a pre-breakfast stroll around the lanes (usually accompanied by the sonar-like call of a Scops Owl) while others preferred a more leisurely start to the day. We met up at El Recuerdo at 9.15am and headed north.
We drove straight to Peñafalcón and spent a very pleasant two and a half hours overlooking this magnificent crag. Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures sailed around the pinnacle, a stunning male Rock Bunting fed around our feet, Crag Martins zipped overhead, one or two Black Storks drifted down the valley and a male Blue Rock Thrush posed nicely on its favourite rock. The icing on the cake was a couple of Otters in the river below.
Suddenly, I spotted an eagle species above the pinnacle. It banked and I was able to confirm it as a Spanish Imperial. Everyone managed to see this majestic bird as it circled with the vultures but we needn’t have panicked. This mega-rare bird (maybe only 200 in the world!) landed in a tree across the valley and we were soon admiring it through telescopes. What a bird!
As the eagle drifted away down the valley, our stomachs signalled it was lunch time. We moved a few hundred yards to a picnic site where we could eat and scan at the same time. This proved fruitful, as vultures continually floated overhead. Phil and Fred managed to see a Bonelli’s Eagle as it flew through a gap in the hills behind us!
Another interruption to lunch was a Black-shouldered Kite flapping over the distant hilltop. It changed direction and lazily made its way towards us. It gave unbelievably close views overhead as it passed our picnic site! To round our lunch stop off, a male Rock Bunting picked up our crumbs as we left the area.
Our next stop was an unscheduled one. A Short-toed Eagle was found sitting on wires right next to the road allowing some wonderful photos to be taken. The bird’s piercing eyes occasionally looked at us in between preening sessions. Another fantastic bird.
We next alighted from the vehicles at Portilla del Tietár, another crag famous for raptors. More vultures were seen but the target bird here was Eagle Owl. I set the telescope up on a small cave on the hillside and the outline of one of these impressive owls could just about be made out.
Most people took a few looks to ‘get their eye in’; others strolled to the lens and saw the bird move! This was a most unsatisfactory look at one of Europe’s most impressive species.
Much more showy was yet another Spanish Imperial Eagle that swung around the crag and proceeded to soar overhead flashing its creamy/golden ‘landing lights’: a superb display from a magnificent bird. A distant pair of displaying Bonelli’s Eagles refused to come closer.
On the drive home, we stopped at the Rio Almonte river bridge to bask in the late afternoon sun and to see if any migration was in progress. Several Marsh Frogs heralded our arrival with their incessant croaking.
Black and Red Kites were noted as was a smart-looking Water Pipit. Brian found a Dartford Warbler and the rest of us wrestled with Crested and Thekla Lark identification. Two Theklas responded to Ken’s CD making life much easier for us.
The birdwatching had been so amazing that there was only time for a quick wash before our dinner at 7.00pm. More wine soothed minds and limbs and the log was again a lively affair, especially as Phil orchestrated proceedings this evening (Muscovy Duck and Chicken made the list!).
A couple of Scops Owls called at Las Torres to round off the day nicely.
Day Four: Tuesday, March 4th
Vicky, Phil and I met up with the main group at 9.00am and we headed for a small town to the south. On the way, we found a back road out of Trujillo (i.e. we got lost) where we got our best views yet of Lesser Kestrels. A Black Kite flew up the road towards us before we set off again.
The plains were mostly quiet but a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoos played cat and mouse with us. We finally reached our destination and parked the vehicles in a back street.
We spent quite some time queueing for the single toilet in the market square but the time wasn’t wasted. A pair of Lesser Kestrels displayed around us and a Blue Rock Thrush posed nicely on the clock tower.
We walked up the hill to the castle. The ramparts afforded spectacular views across the town and to the plains beyond. Several people spent the time walking round the church, while others scanned for birds.
Vicky was the first to strike it lucky when a couple of Pallid Swifts glided by. I found a Black Wheatear on the rocks below the castle while Brian found another. They both perched together for a short time before disappearing round the rock face. One target species down, one to go.
I decided to walk back to the first entrance, pausing to admire a male Sardinian Warbler showing in full light on a dead tree. I was joined by Fred and as we neared the first archway, I noticed a sparrow on the wall to our left. The sparrow turned to reveal a bright orange throat and flank patches! This was our target bird and I yelled “Alpine Accentor!!!” into the radio.
Sue came over to see what the excitement was about, and then we heard several people running towards us. Soon, most people were enjoying unbelievable views of this bird before it dived below the rooftops and out of sight. Mike arrived just as it disappeared. We waited for it to return but it wasn’t to be.
We drove out of town and stopped for lunch at a picnic site under some trees by the road. A Short-toed Treecreeper was singing from a nearby tree and Crested Larks chased each other around the site.
After lunch, we had a brief stroll and found a couple of Nuthatches. Ken saw a Wryneck dart away but we couldn’t find any Rock Sparrows. Time was again passing us by so we moved on.
Our next port of call was the plains near Santa Marta Magasca. As soon as we got out of the cars, we found three Black-bellied Sandgrouse on the hillside. With a bit of patience, we could make out the colouring of the males but to be honest the views weren’t that brilliant.
We next found ourselves by a river bridge scanning for Rock Sparrows. Ken somehow managed to find a Hawfinch sat in a tree down the river and one or two others flew overhead. There were no Sparrows but a Kingfisher tried its best to cheer us up.
A slow drive along the plains paid dividends in the form of twenty Great Bustards very close to the road. I had never seen them as close as this so I urged the group to enjoy the show. These beautiful birds strutted along, though the male was too intent on feeding to give us a full ‘foam bath’ display.
Another superb day filled with a range of much sought after species. The group celebrated with yet more local wine at dinner. Not many people could pronounce Alpine Accentor at the log!
Day Five: Wednesday, March 5th
The group were away from the lodgings at 9.15am, bound for the Belen Plains. The area is so extensive that the best way to cover it is by driving slowly along the road, scanning every few yards to see what is about.
In this manner, we managed to find many displaying Calandra Larks, a confiding Hoopoe, distant Great Bustards, a couple of skittish Great Spotted Cuckoos and best of all a flock of Little Bustards that flew over our vehicles. A very productive morning ended at the Rio Almonte road bridge where we settled down for a picnic lunch in unbroken sunshine.
We undertook a stroll along the river bank. A chorus of Crested and Thekla Larks and Marsh Frogs accompanied us on our way interrupted by the occasional Grey and White Wagtails. Ken found a skulking Rock Sparrow that refused to show to the hopeful gathering group.
On the return walk, Phil noticed a young Golden Eagle dipping below the nearby hillside. Fortunately, it reappeared again a few moments later and circled overhead spiralling ever upwards without flapping a single wing beat. Superb!
We drove to Peñafalcón for an afternoon’s relaxing birdwatching. Vultures were already coming in to roost on the rock, giving awesome views. Phil announced that he had found an eagle high above us mixed in with the vultures. It proved to be a Spanish Imperial Eagle and was soon joined by its mate, the size difference being obvious.
Phil and I simultaneously heard a noise above the crag towering over us and cried, “Chough!” Sure enough, a single bird circled once before disappearing back behind the crag. Fred had managed to see two birds from further up the viewing area.
The eagles showed again, high, high above us giving the group neck strain watching them. To ease the pain, we could always glance downwards at the Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Wren, Black Redstart, Short-toed Treecreeper, etc in the rocks and trees below the viewpoint. It was hard to tear away to get back to the casa rural for dinner!
Day Six: Thursday, March 6th
The leaders had received a request today: could we go shopping in Trujillo? The town is a lovely place to visit anyway and also the best place to observe Lesser Kestrels and Pallid Swifts to boot, so how could we refuse?!
We parked up at 9.30am and walked through the street market to the impressive square. Some of the girls dropped away from the group on shopping missions whilst others spread out to visit the churches in the town. The rest of us stayed in the square to do a spot of birding.
Lesser Kestrels were displaying overhead giving wonderful views in the perfect morning light. Their strange squeaking calls permeated the bustling noise of the square. Several pairs of White Storks were nesting on rooftops, occasionally announcing their presence with bill-tapping bonding displays. Extremely brief views were obtained of three Pallid Swifts behind the monastery so we decided to trudge up the hill to the castle for a panoramic view of the town.
Sure enough, when we reached the highest point, we could see the Pallid Swifts swooping over the square we had just walked from! After scanning the surrounding area – what looked like distant sewage ponds – we walked back into the square. The swifts had departed so we settled down for a coffee in one of the street cafes.
We still had ninety minutes to kill before we were to meet the shoppers and were deciding what to do when our minds were made up by Ron’s voice on the CB radio: “I’ve no idea where I am”. He told us the name of the street he was on and we located it on our maps. We returned to the vehicles and went on a successful rescue mission to pick Ron up (“just because I didn’t know where I was it doesn’t mean I was lost”).
We decided to try and find the pools we had seen from the castle. We were soon parked up by the bull ring where the pools were situated. It turned out to be a leisure complex rather than a sewage works. Unfortunately, it was devoid of any wintering wildfowl apart from Mallard.
We strolled around the park. Many swallows swooped across the pools and a Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper were also noted. Charlie and I got brief views of a very slim looking swift with a narrow tail and bright white chin patch. The only thing I could think of that resembled our bird was White-rumped Swift (later scanning of the fieldguides seemed to confirm our suspicions!).
Some tucked into their lunches by the vans before we made contact with the girls in town. They were shopped out so we drove to pick them up at 1.30pm. Half an hour later we were finishing lunch on the Santa Magasca plains while scanning the hillside for bustards and sandgrouse.
About seventy Little Bustards were found along with a couple of Greats and two Black-bellied Sandgrouse. A stroll along the farm track revealed more Calandra and Crested Larks as well as Meadow Pipits and a handsome male Northern Wheatear.
We returned to the vehicles and had a slow drive along the road scanning for birds along the way. We reached the river bridge to find it had been resurfaced since our last visit! Two or three Kingfishers showed wonderfully well along the river but our birding was cut short when the men returned to finish the job of tarring the road.
We ended the day with a slow drive through the plains. More Calandra Larks were found as well as a large flock of Great Bustards plodding along the hillside. We still failed to see any Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, though.
Another entertaining dinner at Martin and Claudia’s in the evening was followed by a gentle ribbing about the species we had yet to see, which set the itinerary for tomorrow!
Day Seven: Friday, March 7th
It was time to get serious! I appealed for everyone to give off positive vibes for the day’s birdwatching ahead. A tight schedule was in place with a set of target birds laid out before us.
We soon found ourselves staring into the usual field near Santa Marta Magasca. For once, there were hardly any birds to see so we had one final drive up the hillside. Mike spotted movement in a huge ploughed field so we stopped to scan. I thought the bird looked like a Golden Plover and telescope views confirmed the ID. In fact, there were about twenty plovers on the ridge.
Phil suddenly said, “Is that a Dotterel?” And sure enough, it was! Gradually, everyone in the group managed to see this bird as it scuttled in and out of furrows in the field. As we tried to locate the Dotterel for everyone in the telescopes, I heard a familiar noise. Phil tried to quiet the group se we could pinpoint where the calls were coming from and hey presto, there was the flock of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse circling over the field!
They finally landed on the ridge and all ‘scopes were trained on this attractive species. It wasn’t the best views but one or two birds occasionally turned to show the distinctive neck pattern. They had made us work hard but there they were for all to admire: Pin-tailed Sandgrouse!
It was time to move on. The morning’s success buoyed everyone with new found optimism: “What’s next?”
A dash up the motorway brought us to a road passing through dehasa where we could search for Rock Sparrows. Our journey was interrupted by a pair of Short-toed Eagles in a river valley that paused briefly to mate on a crag top! I think this upset the local Great Spotted Woodpecker who quickly made his excuses and left (as the News of the World would say).
We had a lunch stop in the best area for Rock Sparrows but failed miserably to locate any. We did see more Short-toed Treecreepers (on my trip last year I had seen ONE), Azure-winged Magpies, Black Redstarts, a Nuthatch, Spanish Sparrows, Southern Grey Shrikes and several vultures. As we were packing away, a Peregrine soared overhead joined by a pair of passing Black-shouldered Kites.
We drove along the road and parked in a nearby village on a hill. The views were stunning but we were still in birding mode. A Black Redstart posed nicely on wires followed by a pair of stunning Black Wheatears on the rocky hill. A male Cirl Bunting flew past me but it mysteriously vanished behind a farm building. The wheatears were more than enough compensation, though.
Further along the road, we stopped in an area of Cork Oak and had a stroll. Several Nuthatches played hide and seek with us and a dead snake on the road was an unwelcome addition to the day’s list.
Vultures accompanied our walk before Ken shouted the magic word, “eagle!” As it glided from the ridge above over our heads and away, I confirmed that it was a Bonelli’s. A pair of Peregrines made sure the Bonelli’s left their territory at double speed as well as the Short-toed Eagle heading up the valley!
While I was visiting the gent’s toilet, I heard a Crested Tit calling. The group assembled to try and find this elusive bird. It called continually but refused to show. It finally moved down the road and Phil found it a few yards from our position. One or two managed to see it through telescopes and the rest obtained binocular views. Again, this bird had made us work hard but it was worth the effort.
The group had expressed a wish to be back at the lodgings early today so it was time to head back south. What an array of superb birds we had seen but it was still the gaps on the list that stuck in my mind (Stone Curlew, Rock Sparrow)!
At dinner in the evening, Martin and Claudia produced a birthday cake for Sue’s XXXXth birthday! The secret ballot for ‘Best Contributor to the Trip’ initiated by Ken was narrowly won by Brian. Unfortunately, his prize of a bottle of wine couldn’t be presented to him because he was still wearing his photographer’s camouflage gear so we couldn’t actually find him.
Other awards went to: Tart’s Ticker of the Week (Phil – Turkey, Jungle Fowl and Feral Goose - Lee); Wine Spiller of the Week (joint awards to Ron and Vicky); Shopper of the Week (Maureen); Hawk-eye of the Week (Fred); Slave-driver of the Week (Neil); I Know It’s There But I Just Can’t See It Birdwatcher of the Week (joint awards to Ellen and John); There It Is, Oh Bugger It’s Gone Birdwatcher of the Week (Ken); and Trainspotter of the Week (John).
We then settled in front of the log fire in the lounge to choose our three top birds of the trip. Several species were mentioned (including a sad story by Mike as to why he had chosen White Stork as his favourite species) but Griffon Vulture won the vote followed by Spanish Imperial Eagle and White Stork in joint second place. It was interesting to compare the reasons given for each species (rarity, beauty, reading about a species during childhood,
Afterwards, several of us went down to the local taverna for a farewell drink while others retired to their rooms to pack.
Day Eight; Saturday, March 8th
Because our flight from Madrid wasn’t until the evening, we had the opportunity to undertake a full day’s birdwatching before heading home. The vehicles were fully loaded and ready to go by 9.15am.
We briefly stopped to refuel and were treated to our last Great Spotted Cuckoo of the trip flapping across the garage forecourt. Extremadura certainly was proving to be an amazing place!
It was only a short drive to our first stop. We were to make one last attempt at seeing Rock Sparrows around the vineyard where the wine we had been drinking for the last week had been produced.
At last, one Rock Sparrow perched on wires but vanished before we could get a telescope on to it. The lanes here were full of birds: Hawfinches, Chaffinches, a male Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Spanish and House Sparrows but no more Rock Sparrows.
We then drove straight to Monfragűe to try for better views of the Eagle Owl. We succeeded spectacularly with one adult in full sight, soon joined by at least two fluffy chicks! The earlier sighting must have been of the other adult at its daytime roost. Those poor views were soon forgotten once this magnificent bird had been seen by all. The chicks were the icing on the birding cake!
After we had had our fill of the owls, we drove across the northern edge of the park and made our way to Arrocampo Reservoir to finish the trip as we had started it. A new road made navigation difficult but we found it eventually!
The weather was also the same as on the first day and had been throughout the week: unbroken blue skies. We stopped for lunch by the water tower and ate while scanning the Gredos Mountains, pools and fields.
Several wader species were present including Lapwing, Redshank, Greenshank, Green and Common Sandpipers, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt and Black-tailed Godwit.
Fred suddenly alerted us to a dog Otter that was parading before us on the bank! It soon scuttled back into the reeds but later emerged once more and swam across the pool.
After lunch, we drove the short distance to the causeway. Here, we saw Purple Swamp-Hens, Great Crested and Little Grebes, White Storks and Chiffchaffs but we couldn’t find any Penduline Tits, Little Bitterns or Purple Herons: next time…
It was time to head for the airport. One never knows the state of traffic in the Madrid area. As it turned out, traffic was light and we arrived at the airport in very good time for the evening flight to Luton.
We spent the time chatting, duty free shopping and consuming well-deserved Magnum ice creams. The flight was uneventful and we landed half an hour early at Luton (“please remember you owe us thirty minutes the next time Easy Jet are late”, said the stewardess).
It was the end of an extremely bird-rich trip to an outstandingly beautiful area of Spain. The company made it even more enjoyable and I know I made many friends on the journey and cemented a few existing friendships. And that’s what these tours are all about isn’t it?
To cap it all off, as I drove into my village in Nottinghamshire the local Barn Owl came to say hello as did a Badger in the roadside verge. It was a wonderful end to a superb trip.
BIRD SPECIES SEEN
Greylag Goose, Up to 5 on passage
Teal , Arrocampo
Mallard, Relatively common
Garganey1 male, Arrocampo
Red-legged Partridge, Relatively common
Cattle Egret, Common
Great Crested Grebe , 1 or 2, Arrocampo
Cormorant , Several
Little Egret, 1 or 2
Great Egret , 1, Arrocampo
Grey Heron ,Several
BLACK STORK , Up to 5, Monfragűe + 1, Las Torres
White Stork, Lots!
GRIFFON VULTURE, Common
BLACK VULTURE, A few
EGYPTIAN VULTURE, A few
Golden Eagle, 1 immature, Rio Almonte
SPANISH IMPERIAL EAGLE ,3, Monfragűe
Short-toed Eagle, A few (20+)
Booted Eagle, 1 dark phase, Monfragűe
BONELLI’S EAGLE, A total of 4
Red Kite, Common
Black Kite, Several
Marsh Harrier, A few
Black-shouldered Kite, A total of 4
Common Buzzard , Several
Sparrowhawk, Up to 5
Common Kestrel, Relatively common
LESSER KESTREL, Relatively common
Peregrine, A total of 4
(Water Rail, 1, Arrocampo – ‘Leader Tick’ only)
Moorhen, Relatively common
Purple Swamp-Hen, 2 or 3, Arrocampo
Common Crane, 200+, Vegas – Altas Track
LITTLE BUSTARD , Up to 150 on the plains
GREAT BUSTARD, Up to 60 on the plains
Black-winged Stilt, Several
Little Ringed Plover, 1, Belen Plains; 1, Arrocampo
DOTTEREL, 1 winter adult, Magasca Plains
Golden Plover, 20, Magasca Plains
Ruff , 3 Arrocampo
Common Snipe, A few
Black-tailed Godwit, 2, Arrocampo
Common Sandpiper, A few
Green Sandpiper, Several
Spotted Redshank ,1, Arrocampo
Greenshank, 2 Arrocampo
Redshank, A few
Black-headed Gull, Several
Lesser Black-backed Gull ,A handful
Yellow-legged Gull, One flock over A5 near Madrid
BLACK-BELLIED SANDGROUSE, 6, Magasca Plains
PIN-TAILED SANDGROUSE, Approx 20, Magasca Plains
Rock Dove , Several pure-looking birds, Monfragűe
(Feral Pigeon , Common in towns and villages)
Stock Dove, 4, Rio Tamuga
Woodpigeon, Relatively common
Collared Dove, Common
Common Cuckoo , 1 over road from Magasca to Trujillo
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO, Several on plains
SCOPS OWL, 2 or 3 heard, San Clemente
Little Owl, Up to 10 seen and heard
EAGLE OWL, 2 adults, 3 chicks, Monfragűe
Long-eared Owl, 1 over San Clemente
Pallid Swift , Up to 10 over villages and towns
Kingfisher, Up to five on rivers
Hoopoe , Common
Green Woodpecker , 1 over A5 near Madrid
Great Spotted Woodpecker, A total of 3
Calandra Lark , Common
Crested Lark, Very common
Thekla Lark, 2, Rio Almonte
Wood Lark, 2 or 3
Sky Lark2, Belen Plains
Sand Martin, Several, Arrocampo
CRAG MARTIN Common in mountains and towns
Barn Swallow, Very common
House Martin, Common
Red-rumped Swallow , Several
Meadow Pipit, Relatively common
Water Pipit, 1, Rio Almonte
White Wagtail, Common
Grey Wagtail, 2, Rio Almonte
Wren , A handful
ALPINE ACCENTOR , 2, Montanchez
Black Redstart , Several
Stonechat, Relatively common
Northern Wheatear, 2 or 3, Magasca Plains
BLACK WHEATEAR, 2, Montanchez; 2, Cabañas
Blue Rock Thrush , Several
Song Thrush, A few
Mistle Thrush , A few
Cetti’s Warbler, Several heard
Zitting Cisticola, Relatively common
Dartford Warble,r 1 or 2
Sardinian Warble,r Relatively common
Chiffchaff, Relatively common
Willow Warbler , 1, San Clemente
Long-tailed Tit , A handful
Blue Tit, Relatively common
Great Tit, Relatively common
Crested Tit, 1, Cabañas
Nuthatch, A few
Short-toed Treecreeper, Several
SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE, Several
Jay, 3 or 4, Monfragűe
AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE, Common
Red-billed Chough,1, Monfragűe
Common Starling, 3 or 4, Madrid Airport
Spotless Starling, Common
House Sparrow, Common
Spanish Sparrow, Common
Tree Sparrow, 2, Vegas – Altas track
ROCK SPARROW, 1, San Clemente + 2 ‘Leader Ticks’
Greenfinch, A handful
Linnet, A handful
Bullfinch, A pair, San Clemente
RED AVADAVAT, Several, Vegas –Altas track
(Cirl Bunting, 1, Leader Tick only)
ROCK BUNTING, A handful, Monfragűe
Reed Bunting, 1 or 2, Arrocampo
Corn Bunting, Lots!
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
Holly Blue (or Penoptes Blue or Green-underside Blue)
Otter2, Monfragűe; 1, Arrocampo
Iberian Hare 2 or 3 on plains
Oryctes nasicornis (Rhinoceros Beetle) San Clemente
Xylocopa violacea (Carpenter Bee) San Clemente
REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS
Spanish Terrapin Several
Iberian Pool Frog Several