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Extremadura, April 2005,
I decided to attempt a two area trip in a very short space of time (six days) first birding the typical Extremadura areas followed by a brief visit to the Donana area in Andalucia. The itinerary is similar to that offered by the Sunbird and Ornitholidays tour companies who travel at a similar time but for a slightly longer period. There are many similar trip reports available to this but hopefully this provides some up-to-date 'gen' and shows what the independent birder can achieve with only a limited time-frame. The report has been designed to be a quick reference guide rather than a readable account.
16/04/2005. Easyjet flight Bristol to Madrid, collection of hire car and drive to Monfrague NP. Night in car in National Park. I have heard that people have struggled to 'escape' Madrid. From the airport follow the M40 'Todas Directionnes' signs and stay on the M40 until the A5 - E90 exit signed Badajoz and Portugal. I managed fine on my own in the dark.
17/04/2005. Monfrague NP (Muddeman Area no. 4). Including Arroyo de la Vid, Monfrague Castillo, Pena Falcon, Punte del Cardenal, Fuente Tres Canos, Mirador de la Tajadilla, Mirador de la Bascula and Portilla del Tietar. Monfrague gets busy at weekends but benefits from more local birders who are useful in picking out Eagle Owl and Spanish Imperial Eagle nests. Night in Torrejon el Rubio.
18/04/05. Valle del Jerte (Muddeman Area no. 2) but abysmal weather so disappointing. Sierra de Gredos (Muddeman Area no. 1) including the Parador Nacional de Gredos and the Puerto del Pico. Embalse de Azutan (Muddeman Area no. 6) and finally Calera y Chozas (Muddeman Area no. 5). Rest of day was very windy and this proved the only slightly disappointing day. Night in Torrejon el Rubio.
19/04/05. Santa Marta de Magesca West to Caceres (Muddeman Area no. 10 especially sites 5 - 10). Embalse de Caceres (high water levels and disappointing), Trujillo and the Belen Plains (Muddeman area no. 12). Trujillo to Monroy (Muddeman Area no .11). Night in Torrejon el Rubio.
20/04/05. Quick visit to Arroyo de la Vid and the Castillo in Monfrague before travel to Andalucia via a Black Wheatear site and the Rio Gargaligas southeast of Madrigalejo (Muddeman Area 17, site 7) for Red Avadavat. The Black Wheatear site near Campillo de Deleitosa proved excellent with four species seen here (in just one hour) and nowhere else and the whole area seemed very 'birdy' and would surely repay a more thorough inspection. To reach this site take the K219 exit from the A5 - E90 road onto the EX386 to Deleitosa, pass through Deleitosa and after c.4km turn left to Campillo de Deleitosa (this road is pretty bad), go through the village and after c.3km the road drops down and crosses a river. Park beyond the bridge and bird the valley up and down stream. Arrival in Donana and evening birding at the marshes adjacent to El Rocio known as La Madre de las Marismas (superb site but dependent on water levels) and La Rocina, just south of El Rocio on the right. Night in El Rocio.
21/04/05. Morning birding in Donana including El Rocio, El Acebuche (the main visitor centre) and the beach at Matalascnas. All sites in Donana can be found in Garcia & Paterson site H5. Afternoon visit to Brazo del Este for last desperate (and successful) attempt at Marbled Duck (Garcia & Paterson, SE1). Evening again in Donana at La Rocina and El Rocio. Night in El Rocio.
22/04/05. Morning birding at El Rocio before drive to Madrid for evening return flight. Drive via Laguna del Rincon (Garcia & Paterson, CO3) for White-headed Duck. Although a good site there are currently access difficulties and viewing is awkward without causing major disturbance. Therefore I will not disclose directions save to say that if you follow the directions in Garcia & Paterson you will NOT find this site. There are plenty of other sites to see White-headed Duck e.g. Laguna de Medina (Garcia & Paterson, CA15) and Lagunas de Puerto Real (Garcia & Paterson, CA13) where access is easier and disturbance more avoidable.
I recorded 194 species in less than six full days including 16 'lifers', driving 2,800km in the process. Basic human requirements such as food, sleep and beer were largely sacrificed in an attempt to maximise birding time in a high diversity of habitats.
Great Crested Grebe - Pair at Laguna del Rincon.
Black-necked Grebe - At least 15 at Laguna del Rincon.
Little Grebe - Common in Donana. 2 also noted along the Trujillo - Monroy road.
Cormorant - One in flight off Matalascanas beach, Donana.
Bittern - 2 individuals seen in flight over marsh at El Rocio.
Night Heron - 1 over marsh at El Rocio.
Cattle Egret - Abundant everywhere except in mountains and at Monfrague.
Squacco Heron - Fantastic views along the nature trail at La Rocina, Donana of up to 6 individuals.
Little Egret - Common in Donana and Brazo del Este.
Grey Heron - Common Donana and Brazo del Este, also noted in Monfrague and along the Rio Almonte.
Purple Heron - Present in good numbers in Donana and especially common at Brazo del Este.
Black Stork - Three individuals noted in Monfrague, Pena Falcon and Portillo del Tietar are good spots.
White Stork - Common and nesting on every available natural and human platform. Particularly charming in Trujillo town.
Spoonbill - Common in Donana and Brazo del Este.
Glossy Ibis - 70+ at El Rocio, Donana, also noted at Brazo del Este.
Greater Flamingo - At least 500 at El Rocio, Donana.
Greylag Goose - One at Embalse de Azutan and a small group at El Rocio obviously leftovers from the winter.
Mallard - Common everywhere with available water.
Gadwall - Good numbers at Donana and Brazo del Este and also noted on a pool at Muddeman 10.2.
Shoveler - Moderate numbers at El Rocio, Donana.
Teal - A few leftovers from winter at El Rocio, Donana.
Garganey - A pair noted on the last morning at El Rocio, Donana.
White-headed Duck - 9 individuals showing well at Laguna del Rincon - and not a Ruddy Duck in sight!
Marbled Duck - 3 seen at Brazo del Este. Water levels were apparently too low at Donana for this species.
Red-crested Pochard - A pair noted at El Rocio, Donana, a female at Brazo del Este and another pair at Laguna del Rincon.
Pochard - Again some winter leftovers at El Rocio, Donana.
Ferruginous Duck - Up to 3 with Pochards at El Rocio, Donana.
Black-shouldered Kite - Not seen at the usual site at Muddeman 11.10. Individuals were noted roadside along the EX108 near Palacio de las Cabezas between Plasencia and Navalmoral de la Mata and along the EX385 just west of Jaraicejo but I think these are unlikely to be reliable places.
Black Kite - Common throughout Extremadura and Andalucia.
Red Kite - Common in Extremadura but less so around Donana.
Egyptian Vulture - Four individuals in Monfrague. Pena Falcon and Mirador de la Tajadilla are good for this species.
Black Vulture - Several seen in Monfrague especially from the Castillo. Also noted on the plains between Trujillo and Caceres but probably under-recorded amongst the hordes of Griffons.
Griffon Vulture - Abundant in Monfrague and across the plains between Caceres and Trujillo.
Montagu's Harrier - Common between Santa Marta de Magesca and Caceres including five pairs together in one field. Noted at other sites around the plains and at Laguna del Rincon.
Marsh Harrier - One at Embalse de Azutan and then common in Donana and at Brazo del Este.
Goshawk - One seen along the N502 just south of Arenas de San Pedro and another in Monfrague from the Castillo
Buzzard - Moderate numbers recorded typically in 'flatter' country, the edges of Monfrague and the Donana area being best.
Golden Eagle - One seen at the Black Wheatear site near Campillo de Deleitosa. Possibly the hardest eagle.
Spanish Imperial Eagle - A pair are nesting this year at Portilla del Tietar and the nest is visible from the road (care needed when parking). Look just below the crest of the ridge to the right of the crags. The male was seen very well circling low over the road too.
Bonelli's Eagle - Four birds seen. In Monfrague from Punte del Cardenal and Mirador de la Tajadilla. A single at the site near Campillo de Deleitosa and another in Donana at the El Acebeche centre. All noted mid - late morning, is this a clue?
Booted Eagle - Noted from most sites. Regularly seen in Monfrague particularly from the Castillo. Also over the plains between Caceres and Trujillo, at Embalse de Azutan and in Donana.
Short-toed Eagle - Fairly easy with 3 displaying low over Punte del Cardenal one of the highlights. Also seen between Caceres and Trujillo, over the Belen Plains, near Campillo de Deleitosa, near Madrigalejo and over various roads between sites.
Osprey - One, presumably a migrant, at Embalse de Azutan.
Kestrel - Most Kestrel sp. were not checked but assumed to be of this species. Common over plains between Caceres and Trujillo and the Belen Plains.
Lesser Kestrel - 15+ individuals seen around Trujillo town, fascinating to watch. Another seen at Brazo del Este.
Hobby - One seen along the N502 near Velada.
Peregrine - One seen at Pena Falcon, Monfrague.
Red-legged Partridge - Common in a range of habitats.
Quail - Calling birds only heard on plains between Caceres and Trujillo and just north of Monfrague.
Little Crake - One seen well at Brazo del Este, reportedly a good site for observing crakes. One was probably heard calling at El Rocio, Donana.
Spotted Crake - One heard singing at El Rocio, Donana on the first night but not again.
Water Rail - A couple heard calling at El Acebeche, Donana.
Moorhen - Common in Donana and Brazo del Este. One also at Arroyo de la Vid, Monfrague.
Coot - Abundant in Donana (making the next species tricky), common at Brazo del Este. Also seen at Embalse de Azutan.
Red-knobbed Coot - A single bird without neck collar seen off the Hotel Turano, El Rocio on the first evening but not subsequently despite extensive searches. A pair are reportedly present in this area and a neck-collared bird was reported two days previously, also from El Rocio. Also reported from La Rocina. Very hard to locate if not sporting neck collars.
Purple Swamphen - Easily seen at La Rocina and El Rocio in Donana but ridiculously abundant at Brazo del Este where seen walking across bare fields and stood in the road!
Great Bustard - Sites 5 and 7 in Muddeman area 10 east of Santa Marta de Magesca were excellent for this species and also noted on the Belen plains, particularly close to Belen itself.
Little Bustard - Again sites 5 and 7 in area 10 were excellent but this species was more widespread and common than the previous being seen in poorer quality steppe. Also noted at Calera y Chozas (Muddeman 5.4) and on the Belen Plains.
Stone Curlew - A pair in flight at dawn over Muddeman 10.5 but not searched for particularly.
Black-winged Stilt - Abundant in Donana and common at Brazo del Este. Also a pair seen at Muddeman 10.2 and a single at Laguna del Rincon.
Avocet - Moderate numbers at El Rocio, Donana.
Collared Pratincole - At least 300 daily at El Rocio, Donana. Wonderful to watch at dusk as they take flight and begin feeding. Singles noted at Muddeman 17.7 (near Madrigalejo) and roadside between Sevilla and Cordoba.
Ringed Plover - Common at El Rocio, Donana.
Little Ringed Plover - Small numbers at El Rocio but more easily seen at El Acebeche, Donana.
Kentish Plover - Two with Ringed Plovers seen at El Rocio on the first evening.
Grey Plover - Singles on the first night and last morning at El Rocio.
Lapwing - Single on the plains between Santa Marta and Caceres and small numbers at El Acebeche, Donana.
Curlew Sandpiper - Several hundred daily from El Rocio, Donana.
Dunlin - Up to 100 with Curlew Sands from El Rocio, Donana.
Little Stint - Up to 8 recorded with other calidrids at El Rocio, Donana.
Temminck's Stint - A maximum of 3 at El Rocio, Donana. Many stints were often too distant for specific identification.
Ruff - c.100 recorded daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Whimbrel - 4 present on the second day at El Rocio, Donana.
Black-tailed Godwit - Several hundred daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Long-billed Dowitcher - The biggest surprise of the trip. A near full summer-plumaged bird on the marsh at El Rocio. In the evenings it fed close to the Hotel Turano allowing great views.
Redshank - Typically at least 100 at El Rocio, Donana.
Spotted Redshank - A maximum of 5 recorded at El Rocio, Donana.
Greenshank - No more than 10 recorded daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Marsh Sandpiper - 18 present on the second morning at El Rocio, Donana. Singles present at other times.
Wood Sandpiper - Plentiful with up to 50 birds at El Rocio on a daily basis.
Green Sandpiper - One seen on the second evening at El Rocio.
Common Sandpiper - Recorded on most rocky rivers in Extremadura e.g. Arroyo de la Vid and Rio Almonte. 50+ daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Snipe - Up to 4 daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Great Skua - Two birds distantly off Matalascanas, Donana.
Slender-billed Gull - A probable seen distantly and briefly at El Rocio, Donana on the first evening.
Black-headed Gull - Small groups at both El Rocio and Laguna del Rincon.
Yellow-legged Gull - Immature birds recorded daily in Donana at El Rocio and off Matalascnas.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - c.50 on the sea off Matalascanas.
Gull-billed Tern - A flock of 5 in a roadside field near Calera y Chozas and another roadside bird east of Merida. Regular in Donana at El Rocio and good numbers at sea off Matalascanas.
Whiskered Tern - Up to 30 recorded between El Rocio, El Acebeche and La Rocina in Donana.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse - Sandgrouse were surprisingly straightforward. Muddeman site 10 providing the goods. Both species were noted at 10.7 in a mixed flock on the ground whilst another 6 of this species were noted halfway between 10.5 and 10.6 in a bare field. 20 Black-bellied were seen in total between these two locations.
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - 2 and then a group of c.30 were seen in flight between Muddeman 10.5 and 10.6. Two were seen well on the ground with the preceding species at 10.7 and a further 3 flew over here. Total therefore of c.37.
Woodpigeon - Common everywhere.
Rock Dove - 'Real' Rock Doves were seen in the Sierra de Gredos at Puerto del Pico. Some in Monfrague looked good but probably weren't. Elsewhere Feral Pigeon seen regularly.
Collared Dove - Common enough in villages but less so away from habitation.
Turtle Dove - One seen below the Castillo in Monfrague on the first morning.
Cuckoo - Surprisingly common especially in Monfrague but recorded up to 1500m in the Sierra de Gredos. Also heard in Donana.
Great Spotted Cuckoo - After a lot of effort one bird eventually found along the Trujillo - Monroy road near 11.7. By late April are they already becoming difficult?
Barn Owl - One on roadside fences driving just north of Monfrague en-route from the airport.
Eagle Owl - An adult seen in the middle of day roosting at Puente del Cardenal where breeding occurs. At Portillo del Tietar a well-grown chick seen in the nest and another adult in full view perched nearby. The nest is located two-thirds of the way down the crag and fairly central.
Little Owl - One roosting on a stone wall at Muddeman 10.8 and a calling bird heard at Laguna del Rincon.
Red-necked Nightjar - One seen hunting adjacent to the Hotel Carvajal in Torrejon del Rubio. Calling birds were heard in Monfrague on the first night.
Alpine Swift - Seen over the river by the main bridge in Monfrague and over the Rio Almonte at Muddeman 11.9. Less than ten at each site.
Pallid Swift - Two seen low over Trujillo central Plaza. Not looked for especially.
Swift - Small numbers of presumably mostly this species seen each day but not separated from the preceding species.
Kingfisher - Singles at Arroyo de la Vid and the river near Campillo de Deleitosa.
Bee-eater - Typically at least twenty seen each day but absent in the mountains. The saddest sight of the whole trip was seeing a lone bird huddled forlornly next to it's dead mate in the road near to Laguna del Rincon.
Roller - Made me work very hard and not present at any of the usual sites recommended by Muddeman. In the end one was seen roadside along the EX385 west of Jaraicejo. Another was noted along the N430 east of Merida.
Hoopoe - Common everywhere and always delightful.
Green Woodpecker - Two of the Iberian race sharpei; one in the Pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos and one below the Castillo Monfrague.
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Noted most commonly below the Castillo Monfrague but also present at Parador Nacional de Gredos and La Rocina in Donana.
Woodlark - Small numbers in Monfrague near Arroyo de la Vid. More common at altitude in the Valle del Jerte and at Purto del Pico typically around the tree line.
Crested Lark - Common species everywhere except at altitude.
Thekla Lark - Generally once one or two had been picked out each day not looked for. Probably most common between Santa Marta de Magesca and Caceres and at Brazo del Este.
Short-toed Lark - 2 at Muddeman 10.9 and one at Brazo del Este.
Lesser Short-toed Lark - A singing bird watched at close range on the ground at Brazo del Este.
Calandra Lark - A common sight on the plains everywhere, be it between Trujillo and Caceres, on the Belen Plains or near Calera y Chozas; often quite approachable.
Crag Martin - Seen at most sites with suitable breeding habitat; Arroyo de la Vid in Monfrague is as good as anywhere.
Sand Martin - Decent numbers in Donana and also seen at Embalse de Azutan.
Red-rumped Swallow - Like Crag Martin seen anywhere with good breeding habitat. The Castillo Monfrague is a good spot. Migrants also seen in Donana.
Swallow - Common in a range of habitats.
House Martin - Many hundreds nest under the main bridge in Monfrague.
Water Pipit - 4 smart summer-plumaged birds on short grass opposite the main car park at Puerto del Pico.
Meadow Pipit - One seen between Santa Marta de Magesca and Caceres was presumably a late bird not yet departed for breeding.
White Wagtail - Moderately common in a range of habitats.
Grey Wagtail - Like in the UK can be found in small numbers on any rocky river e.g. Arroyo de la Vid.
Yellow Wagtail - Up to 10 birds of the race 'iberiae' seen daily at El Rocio, Donana.
Wren - Not especially common but nonetheless seen in Monfrague and particularly in the Sierra de Gredos.
Dunnock - A high altitude species typically above the tree-line and seen only at Valle del Jerte and Puerto de Pico.
Robin - Moderately common in a range of habitats.
Nightingale - Delightfully common especially in Monfrague and Donana, tend to stay close to water and good views in the open were had each day.
Black Redstart - Singing male at Castillo Monfrague on the final morning here.
Whinchat - Presumably a migrant bird roadside on the Belen plains.
Stonechat - Fairly common in all open habitats.
Wheatear - 2 at Puerto del Pico where they breed. Presumably a migrant bird was located on the plains at Muddeman 10.5.
Black-eared Wheatear - Surprisingly scarce with just one bird seen on the Belen plains.
Black Wheatear - An elusive pair were present just upstream of the road bridge near Campillo de Deleitosa; look around the walled orchard for them. The species was searched for unsuccessfully at a number of sites recommended by Muddeman.
Blue Rock Thrush - Small numbers noted at suitable sites. In Monfrague found at Arroyo de la Vid, Pena Falcon and Portilla del Tietar. Also noted at Puerto de Pico.
Blackbird - Common everywhere.
Song Thrush - One bird in pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos.
Mistle Thrush - 2 individuals noted on the first day in the Arroyo de la Vid area in Monfrague.
Zitting Cisticola - Common at Emblase de Azutan along the reservoir margins and in ditches on field edges. Also at the Rio Almonte Muddeman 11.9 and near Madrigalejo at Muddeman 17.7. Surprisingly not recorded in Donana or Brazo del Este.
Cetti's Warbler - Noted from most rivers with vegetation e.g. Arroyo de la Vid and Rio Almonte. Common in Donana where good views were readily available.
Savi's Warbler - Good numbers of reeling birds at El Rocina, Donana where easily seen. Also at El Acebeche, Donana and Brazo del Este.
Reed Warbler - Moderate numbers at both Embalse de Azutan and Brazo del Este and throughout Donana.
Great Reed Warbler - Again easily seen in Donana especially at La Rocina. Also noted at Brazo del Este and Laguna del Rincon.
Melodious Warbler - None in Extremadura but 3 birds singing and showing well on first evening at La Rocina, Donana.
Dartford Warbler - Occasional birds seen in Monfrague especially Mirador de la Bascula. Present above the tree-line in the Valle del Jerte and also in the scrub at El Acebeche, Donana.
Subalpine Warbler - Common in all types of scrub in Monfrague and also recorded near Campillo de Deleitosa.
Spectacled Warbler - A singing male showed well on the first evening at La Rocina, Donana.
Whitethroat - One bird located in scrub at Puerto de Pico.
Blackcap - Commonly heard and seen in Monfrague.
Sardinian Warbler - A pair at Arroyo de la Vid. Singles on the Trujillo - Monroy road (Muddeman 11.10) and near Campillo de Deleitosa.
Western Orphean Warbler - After extensive searching a singing male was located next to the road by the first parking area up from Arroyo de la Vid on the last morning here. This valley up from Arroyo de la Vid is a good area to search for this tricky species.
Western Bonelli's Warbler - After dipping this species at various sites in the Sierra de Gredos it was a real bonus to find a singing male in the valley near Campillo de Deleitosa.
Chiffchaff - A migrant, no doubt, was singing at El Acebeche in Donana - just yards from where a singing Pallas's Warbler was later discovered, well you can't have all the luck.
Iberian Chiffchaff - Another score for the valley near Campillo de Deleitosa was a single singing male of this species displaying well behaved vocabulary.
Goldcrest - Several in pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos and also heard in pines at El Acebeche and La Rocina in Donana.
Firecrest - Again several in the pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos.
Penduline Tit - A male seen early morning flying between reedbeds near the Hotel Turano, El Rocio.
Crested Tit - Good numbers in the pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos.
Blue Tit - Common in most well vegetated habitat.
Great Tit - As above.
Coal Tit - Common in pines below Parador Nacional de Gredos. Smaller numbers at Puerto de Pico, El Acebeche and La Rocina in Donana.
Long-tailed Tit - Occasional parties noted in Monfrague.
Nuthatch - Noted below the Castillo Monfrague and at Parador Nacional de Gredos
Short-toed Treecreeper - Good numbers at the Parador Nacional de Gredos including singing birds. A single at La Rocina, Donana.
Southern Grey Shrike - Common across the plains and Dehesa in the Trujillo - Caceres - Monroy areas.
Woodchat Shrike - Noted daily in moderate numbers in a variety of habitats with suitable look-out perches.
Spotless Starling - Again noted daily in flocks up to 50. Their repertoire of imitation at times astonishing including many doing perfect Common Sandpiper calls.
Golden Oriole - 4 in the valley near Campillo de Deleitosa and a male at the El Acebeche centre in Donana.
Jay - Odd individuals noted in well wooded habitat particularly below the Castillo Monfrague.
Magpie - Fairly common in open habitats.
Azure-winged Magpie - The bird of the Dehesa, unmissable in both Extremadura and Andalucia but always appealing and interesting to observe.
Chough - A couple seen around the Castillo Monfrague on each visit.
Jackdaw - Regular around settlements but scarce elsewhere.
Raven - Pairs noted in Monfrague (Pena Falcon and Portillo del Tietar), at Peurto de Pico, on the Plains west of Santa Marta and at El Acebeche, Donana.
Carrion Crow - Not especially common but noted most days.
Tree Sparrow - Good numbers seen at Embalse de Azutan and on the Trujillo - Monroy road at Muddeman 11.8.
House Sparrow - Common almost everywhere except at high altitude.
Spanish Sparrow - Near their colonies abundant, away from these scarce. Arroyo de la Vid and the Trujillo - Monroy road at Muddeman at 11.2 and 11.8 guarantees this species.
Rock Sparrow - Another problem species finally found along the Trujillo - Monroy road at 11.8. Careful scanning of the sparrow flocks around livestock below the farm should reveal at least one individual. Arroyo de la Vid early in the day is supposedly another reliable site. I dipped them here by a few minutes.
Red Avadavat - Dipped at Embalse de Azutan but 3 seen in flight only at Muddeman 17.7 near Madrigalejo. Much of the reedbeds near the old road bridge had been burnt here and in any case the birds are best looked for later in the year when breeding.
Common Waxbill - Not looked for but 2 obligingly landed next to the car at Brazo del Este whilst celebrating finding Marbled Duck.
Chaffinch - Common almost everywhere.
Hawfinch - One seen in flight below the Castillo Monfrague.
Citril Finch - None next to the playground at Parador Nacional de Gredos. 7 or 8 birds were located at Puerto de Pico on both sides of the road but were flighty and never gave good views.
Serin - Common in all habitats.
Goldfinch - Common in all habitats but not at altitude.
Linnet - Small numbers seen at e.g. Arroyo de la Vid and west of Santa Marta.
Crossbill - 3 in pines below the Parador Nacional de Gredos.
Corn Bunting - Common almost everywhere.
Cirl Bunting - Surprisingly scarce with one at Arroyo de la Vid being the only record.
Ortolan Bunting - 3 birds roadside in the Valle de Jerde above the treeline below Puerto de Honduras (Muddeman 2.3) in appalling weather.
Rock Bunting - Common where there are rocks and especially confiding in Monfrague feeding on crumbs in car park at Pena Falcon for instance.
Dips - None to really speak of. I had hoped to get the Iberian form of Pied Flycatcher but this eluded me. Obviously I was also way too early for both White-rumped Swift and Rufous Bush Chat. Other notable misses included Little Bittern, Scops Owl, Bluethroat and Rock Thrush whilst a reported singing Pallas's Warbler in Donana was not searched for. Of course some of the target species did not give themselves up at the first attempt or in the expected places e.g. Black-winged Kite at Muddeman 11.10, Red Avadavat at Emblase de Azutan, Western Bonelli's Warbler in the Sierra de Gredos, Citril Finch at the Parador Nacional de Gredos, Rock Sparrow at the Castillo Monfrague and Black Wheatear at a number of localities. In addition water levels were too low in Donana for Marbled Duck. A number of species proved much scarcer than expected and included Roller, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Short-toed Lark, Black-eared Wheatear and most warblers except Subalpine. Generally numbers of migrant passerines and near-passerines seemed poor, possibly due to cool weather conditions and hopefully nothing more serious.
Garcia, Ernst & Paterson, Andrew. Where to Watch Birds in Southern & Western Spain. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7316-5301-9.
Lonely Planet Spain. ISBN 1-74059-700-1
Muddeman, John. A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura. Arlequin Press. ISBN 1-900159-31-7.Spain & Portugal Tourist & Motoring Atlas 2005. Michelin. ISBN 2-06-711225-0.