Extremadura & Andalucia

Teba Castle  Dehesa Landscape  Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Rocio, Donana

    5-17 May 2002

    Observers: F. Simpson & Alistair Simpson

     

    INTRODUCTION


    A two week birding trip was undertaken to western and south western Spain with the intention of observing the classic Iberian species in the areas of Monfragüe, La Serena, the Jerez Lagoons, Laguna Fuente de Piedra and Doñana. These included Black-winged Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, bustards, sandgrouse White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Crested Coot and Glossy Ibis amongst the many others. Additional interests included wildlife in general and photography. The first week in Extremadura was unusually cool and wet with the weather improving towards the last few days here. Andalucia was very hot for the most part. Overall an extremely successful trip with 184 species recorded including most of the hoped for species. However, Rufous Bush Robin eluded me yet again. In retrospect, early May was not any better then early June in my view and in fact birds were probably less conspicuous as incubation was underway for many species.


    HIGHLIGHTS


    Squacco Heron · Black Stork · Glossy Ibis · Marbled Duck · White-headed Duck · Black Vulture · Bonelli's Eagle · Spanish Imperial Eagle · Crested Coot · Great Bustard · Slender-billed Gull · Gull-billed Tern · Black-bellied Sandgrouse · Pin-tailed Sandgrouse · Eagle Owl · Lesser Short-toed Lark · Rock Thrush · Black Wheatear · Orphean Warbler · Azure-winged Magpie · Spanish Sparrow · Rock Sparrow · Hawfinch · Rock Bunting.


    TRAVEL


    Travel was relatively simple and hassle free. The roads were good although it is best to avoid driving through the Pueblos Blancos in Andalucia. The flight home was cancelled after the UK Air Traffic Control failed which resulted in a 24 hour wait in the airport until the next available flight back to London. Return flights from London Luton to Madrid Barajas were booked with www.easyjet.co.uk for £85 return each. Car hire was arranged in the UK through www.carhire4less.co.uk with a Citroen Xsara upgraded on arrival to a Seat Cordoba 1.8 for £250.


    ACCOMMODATION


    Stayed five nights at Camping Monfrague, two nights at Camping Cabañas de Madera in Fuente de Piedra, one night at Camping Lago de Arcos in Arcos-de-la-Frontera, one night at Camping Rio Jara in Tarifa, two nights at Camping Rocio Playa near Matalascañas, Doñana, and the final night in the Hostal Los Naranjos in Castuera.


    LITERATURE, REFERENCES & SITE GUIDES USED


    1.      Muddeman, J. 2000. A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura. Arlequin Press.
    2.      Garcia, E. & Paterson, A. 1994. Where To Watch Birds in Southern Spain. Helm.
    3.      Rose, L. 1995. Where To Watch Birds in Spain and Portugal. Hamlyn.
    4.      Butler, J. R. 2001. Birdwatching on Spain's Southern Coast. Santana Books.
    5.      Gosney, D. 1996. Finding Birds in Southern Spain. Gostours Guide.
    6.      Gosney, D. 1996. Finding Birds in Northern Spain. Gostours Guide.
    7.      Simpson, F. 2001. Trip Report: Extremadura & Andalucia, 2-16 June, 2001.
    8.      Simpson, F. 1999. Trip Report: Costa del Sol, 12-19 September, 1999.
    9.      Dunn, R. 1998. Trip Report: Southwestern Spain, April 16-25, 1998. Internet.
    10.    Baptiste, Y. 1998, Trip Report: Extremadura, April 25-May 2, 1998. Internet.
    11.    Reid, I. & Young, S. 1999. Trip Report: Central Spain 13-17 May, 1999. Internet.
    12.    Money, N. 1998. Trip Report: Extremadura, May 15-29, 1998. Internet.
    13.    Svensson, L. et al. 1999. Bird Guide. HarperCollins.
    14.    Tolman, T. & Lewington, R. 1997. Butterflies of Britain & Europe. Collins.
    15.    Sterry, P. 2000. Complete Mediterranean Wildlife Photoguide. Collins.
    16.    Simonis, D. et al 2001. Spain. Lonely Planet.

     
    ITINERARY


    Day 01          05/05/02        London Luton >Madrid Barajas Airport > Monfragüe, Extremadura, via Oropesa.
    Day 02          06/05/02        Parque Natural de Monfragüe.
    Day 03          07/05/02        Parque Natural de Monfragüe.  
    Day 04          08/05/02        Monfragüe  >Trujillo > Belen > Monroy.
    Day 05          09/05/02        Monfragüe  > Valle del Jerte, Castile-Leon.  
    Day 06          10/05/02        Monfragüe > Merida > Sevilla > Fuente de Piedra, Andalucia.
    Day 07          11/05/02        Laguna de Fuente de Piedra > Teba Gorge (Tajo del Molina).
    Day 08          12/05/02        Fuente de Piedra > Ronda > Arcos de la Frontera.  
    Day 09          13/05/02        Arcos de la Frontera > Laguna de Medina > Tarifa.  
    Day 10          14/05/02        Tarifa > El Rocio, Parque Nacional de Doñana.  
    Day 11          15/05/02        Northern Marismas, Parque Nacional de Doñana.
    Day 12          16/05/02        Doñana > La Sererna, Extremadura.
    Day 13          17/05/02        La Serna > Emblase de Arrocampo-Almaraz > Madrid.
    Day 14          18/05/02        Madrid Barajas > London Luton.

     

    THE DIARY       The following notes are largely copied straight out of my field notebook.


    Sunday 5th May 2002
    London Luton > Madrid Barajas, Spain. MADRID TO MONFRAGÜE, Extremadura, via Navacalnero, Talavera de la Reina, Oropesa, Navamoral de la Mata, Jaraicejo, Torrejón el Rubio, Villarreal de san Carlos.

    Partly cloudy, cloudy later, max 24ºC

    MADRID AIRPORT
    Nice clear views of northern Spain from the plane. Began birding as soon as we touched down. Spotless Starlings, Swift sp., Barn Swallow and House Sparrow observed from the plane as it pulled up to the terminal.

    MADRID M40 CITY RINGROAD
    Road fairly quiet with light traffic on this Sunday morning. Species noted from the car: Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Swift sp. Common, House Martin and Black-billed Magpie.

    N-V MADRID > EXTREMADURA MOTORWAY
    The habitat along the drive from the capital to the sparsely populated region of Extremadura changed from intensive agriculture and pastoral farmland to the distinctive low intensive farming of the dehesas - rolling plains of open Holm and Cork Oak woodlands. Species noted from the car: Black-billed Magpie, Feral Rock Dove, Crested Lark, Wood Pigeon, Swift sp., Barn Swallow, Spotless Starling, Cattle Egret, White Stork, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Kestrel sp., Montagu's Harrier, Mallard, House Martin.

    Track through dehesa to Navalcan ReservoirOROPESA CADELADA ROAD / EMBALSE DE NAVALCAN
    Turned off for some dehesa birding before heading to our ultimate destination of the Parque Natural de Monfrague. A track was drivable to the edge of the large reservoir. Common Sandpiper (1) at the edge of the water. Large fish turning in the shallows. Two or three Cuckoos singing. A few Tree Sparrows flying through the oaks. Crested Larks singing and displaying.  Bee-eaters calling and four observed. Variation in Cuckoo song heard - where the call becomes more rapid and excitable. Mistle Thrush (1). Observed the first Azure-winged Magpies of the trip flying through the oaks, calling noisily. Cormorant (ad) flying over the reservoir - apparently the reservoir supports the only inland breeding colony in Spain. Chaffinch (1). Great Tit singing.

    PRESA DE NAVALCAN
    Surveyed the area around the dam at the north-western end of the reservoir.
    Several Crag Martins and Red-rumped Swallows nesting under the dam. A pair of Barn Swallows breeding in cage-protected light attached to part of the dam (photographed).  Several pairs of Jackdaws; paler grey head plumage than Brutish birds. Swift sp. (3) overhead. Great Tit, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Mistle Thrush, White Wagtail (overhead), Woodlark (singing), Black Kite (overhead), House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Serin, Goldfinch. Booted Eagle over the gorge. Movement of Swifts overhead. Grey Heron (2) overhead. Spotless Starling mimicking a Golden Oriole - very convincing. Black Stork feeding a small area of wetland beside the turning for Navalcan off the Oropesa to Candeleda road.

    CM 5102 / AV-910
    Bee-eater (2-3) on telegraph wires near Oropesa. Woodchat Shrikes fairly common along the roadsides. Singing Corn Buntings numerous. Buzzard (1). Black Kite (1). Southern Grey Shrike (1). Hoopoe (3) seen from the car on the drive to Monfragüe.

    Sierra de CorchuelasJARAICEJO - TORREJÓN EL RUBIO, PARQUE NATURAL DE MONFRAGÜE
    Several Black Kites seen. Booted Eagle (light phase). Stopped the car for a massive raptor overhead - Black Vulture - observed for a few minutes before two Spanish Imperial Eagles came into view, drifting slowly and low overhead. Drove through miles of enchanting dehesa landscape with carpets of wildflowers in bloom - one major difference of visiting a month earlier before everything dries out.
     
    PEÑA FALCON
    A brief stop here at the magnificent rock formation rising out of the Torrejón Reservoir (Emblase de Torrejón) before checking in at the nearby campsite - Camping Monfrague. Approximately 150 Griffon Vultures in the area was a spectacular sight. Several Blue Rock Thrushes singing and a male observed. A pair of Rock Buntings feeding three young in a nest at the Salto de Gitano - adult photographed. Male Black Redstart. Several Serins singing. Black Stork nest with an adult sitting found after searching the cliffs. Many Crag Martins, Barn Swallows and Red-rumped Swallows. Swifts screaming overhead. Great Spotted Woodpecker heard calling.

    CAMPING MONFRAGÜE
    Situated in the dehesa off the C524/EX-108 southwest of Malpartida de Plasencia.
    Arrived at 1910h and pitched the tent before going to the restaurant. Azure-winged Magpies common and noisy. Corn Bunting singing. House Sparrows nesting in the White Stork nest at the campsite entrance although no storks present this year. Crested Lark and Woodlark singing. Spotless Starlings overhead. Raptors observed in the distance. Collared Dove (2-3). Thunderstorm from 2000h - heavy downpour! Eased off around 2025h when Crested Lark and Chaffinch began to sing again.

     


    Monday 6th May 2002
    PARQUE NATURAL DE MONFRAGÜE, Extremadura

    CAMPING MONFRAGÜE
    At least one Scops Owl heard calling throughout the night - at times very close to the tent. Hoopoe, Cuckoo, and Collared Dove all heard singing together (the three species having similarly tones) after dawn. Also heard: Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Spotless Starling and Bee-eater.
    0900h: Crag Martin overhead, House Sparrows nesting in the 'pillar' supports around the shower block.

    DRIVE FROM THE CAMPSITE INTO THE PARQUE
    Species noted included Woodchat Shrike, Griffon Vulture, Crested Lark, Azure-winged Magpie and Black Kite.

    Bridge over the TajoTHE LONG BRIDGE OVER THE RÍO TAJO
    Observations from the long road bridge spanning the Embalse de Torrejón in the Tajo gorge south of Villarreal de San Carlos. At least 12 Alpine Swifts hawking over the bridge with hundreds of House Martins. Probably at least 500 House Martin nests under the bridge. Blackcap calling. Black Vultures (3) passed south overhead providing great views of this massive raptor. Nightingale singing at the picnic site. Walked down to the left through the shady scrub along towards the Puente del Cardenal which was visible above the water. The water level was much lower than last year when the Cardenal Bridge was completely submerged. Wren, Goldfinch, Blackbird, House Sparrow, fledgling Blackbird all noted. Black Kite and Griffon Vulture overhead. Serins display flighting. Rock Bunting at the abandoned building. Barn Swallow, juvenile Blue Tit, calling Greenfinch. Another Black Vulture overhead at 1145h. A light-phase Booted Eagle observed high above the ridge. Crag Martins around the steep scree slopes on the other side of the gorge. Blackcap singing. Speckled Wood - photographed - southern Europe race/form Pararge aegeria aegeria.

    ARROYO DE LA VID AT THE VILLARREAL TO TORREJÓN EL RUBIO ROAD
    Parked at the bridge over the stream and walked upstream as far as a Bee-eater colony. Spanish Sparrows breeding at the telegraph poles on the left-hand bank. Some birds nesting within the poles, others with externally constructed nests of dry grasses. Red-rumped Swallow (2).Arroyo de la Vid Blackbirds singing and feeding juveniles. A male Spanish Sparrow displaying on a wire - calls sounding higher pitched and louder then domesticus. Several Corn Buntings singing. Chaffinches singing. Red-legged Partridge calling from the dehesa slopes above. White Wagtail on the bridge. Bee-eater (2) overhead. Serins singing from dead branches of an oak. Several 'freshwater crayfish' in shallow, slow moving pools upstream by the red brick building. Frogs very vocal here. Small Heaths common, Queen of Spain Fritillary photographed, Spanish Brown Argus, blue sp., Clouded Yellow. Egyptian Grasshopper photographed: large, c8cm in length, striated pattern over the compound eye. Bee-hawk Moth sp. More Red-legged Partridges on the slopes. Cuckoo singing. Buzzard passed overhead, mobbed by alarm-calling Bee-eater. Stripe-necked Terrapin
    (Mauremys caspica) (3) basking in the sun on exposed rocks but not approachable; slipped off into the stream immediately. Flock of seven Bee-eaters watched hawking over the stream and perching on vegetation upstream of the sharp rocky bend to the left. Several holes in the sandy bank of the river here. Sand Martin (2) flew downstream. Sardinian Warbler heard singing in the distance. Barn Swallow (2+). Griffon Vulture overhead at 1443h. More Serins singing further upstream. Dartford Warbler singing and observed briefly. Several lizards along the track - some identified as the Large Psammodromas (Psammodromas algirus).

    WALK UP FROM THE ROAD TO CASTILLO DE MONFRAGÜE
    Walked up from the road through natural evergreen Mediterranean scrub to the castle perched at the end of the Sierra de las Corchuelas. Raven mobbed by swallow and martins. Wren singing. Numerous Serins singing. Firecrest singing but not located. Female Blue Rock Thrush perched on a pylon about half way up. Red-legged Partridges calling. Blackbirds fairly common here. Red-billed Chough over the cliff face above the large cave. Rock Bunting here. Red-rumped and Barn Swallows overhead. Male Black Redstart perched on a telegraph wire. A pair of Choughs dive-bombing off the crags and calling excitedly. A pair of Linnets noted. Wall Brown butterflies common. Another male Blue Rock Thrush.

    View from Monfrague CastleCASTILLO DE MONFRAGÜE
    1555h> GPS reading: 39º 49' 40N   006º 03' 00W
    Panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from the castle roof.
    Disappointingly no White-rumped Swifts seen (probably a little early), although none of the Swift species were present. At least 100 Griffon Vultures visible. Egyptian Vultures much rarer in comparison with just two present at any one time. A pair of Black Storks circling below. Black Vulture over at 1650h. Jays (2-3) in the wooded slopes below. Chough perched regularly around the castle remains - mainly preening before diving down to the slopes below. No Chough were seen during last year's visit. Wren singing. Swallowtail and False Ilex Hairstreak butterflies present. Red-rumped Swallows and Crag Martins common along the ridge. Both species nesting in the red roof-tiled building. Golden Oriole heard singing below. Four Black Storks visible together: two birds in the air and two on crags. Walk back down to the main road: an impressively large Egyptian Grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium), Swallowtail, Rock Bunting, Short-toed Treecreeper singing, pair of Cirl Buntings near the cave, Woodchat Shrike, Goldfinch and Serin common, Black Stork and Egyptian Vulture overhead, Azure-winged Magpies in the car park.

    PEÑA FALCON CAR PARK
    1920h> Griffon Vulture (22) visible on the crags above the car park. One observed flying in with a branch for nest construction. Blue Rock Thrush song flighting. Male Black Redstart. Bee-eaters passing overhead. Blue Tit (pr). Linnet (m). Red-rumped Swallow and Crag Martin common. Many Serins singing. Wren singing. Observed a Rock Bunting's nest through the scope at close range - two fledgling-sized chicks. Black Stork incubating at nest on the bottom left of Peña Flacon. Another nest above to the right. Another Blue Rock Thrush observed on the large rocky outcrop further along the road. Blackbird. Black Kite. Linnet (f). Griffon Vultures observed incubating - some nests with small chicks. Adult Rock Bunting observed removing a faecal sac form the brood.

     


    Tuesday 7th May 2002
    PARQUE NATURAL DE MONFRAGÜE, Extremadura

    ITENARIO VERDE
    A large group of vultures in the valley here, possibly attending a kill or livestock corpse. Two Griffons watched on the ground in an area of regenerating eucalyptus plantation. At least seven Black Vultures, 50 Griffon Vultures, two Egyptian Vultures and several Black Kites. Bee-eater (2) overhead. Corn Buntings singing.

    Monfrague Natural ParkITENARIO AMARILLO - FUETE TRES CAÑOS
    Walked along the trail here through some rich scrub and undisturbed grasslands. Orphean Warbler singing in the valley behind the helipad (above the village of Villarreal de San Carlos). Two birds observed pursuing each other in flights - large and heavily built warbler. Woodchat Shrike (6) counted along the trail. Most in the crowns of oak trees or the lowest limbs. Numerous Corn Buntings singing. Nightingales singing. Black Kite (1). Goldfinch. House Sparrow. Blue Tit. Great Tit. Chaffinch. Several Swifts overhead. Alpine Swift (2) overhead. Group of Long-tailed Tits with adults feeding juvenile birds. Subalpine Warblers (pr) watched at close range but giving brief views. Grey Heron on the Embalse de Torrejon - picked out through the 'scope way below on the shore of the reservoir. Nightingale and Blackbird singing in one of the poplar-lined gullies. Serins singing. Red-rumped Swallows passing. Another Subalpine Warbler (f) giving Blackcap-like alarm calls in very low scrub. A distant Aquila Eagle passing slowly along the ridge above the reservoir. Sardinian Warbler (m) giving harsh rapid alarm calls. Woodchat Shrike observed carrying food for young (or incubating female) - mainly large flies. Bee-eater (2) overhead. The grasslands all covered in flowering plants - mainly purple, yellow and white - with abundant nectaring insects. Greenfinch (m). House Martin. Barn Swallow. Melodious Warbler in an area of thick/rich scrub with brambles, vines, etc on the north path to the village. Swift sp. (25) with a
    few Pallid Swifts identified. Linnet. Thekla Lark feeding in the dusty 'streets' of the village. Butterflies noted: Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe occitanica), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) near the streams, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Marbled White sp., Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Wall.  Stopped here for lunch.

    MIRADOR DO TAJADILLA
    1500h> Many Griffon Vultures with young in the nest on the cliffs opposite the lookout. A single Egyptian Vulture nest found with an adult sitting. Red-rumped Swallows and Crag Martins breeding around the face. White Wagtail overhead. Many trees down in the small wood under the cliff - no sign of the Red Kite nest present here last year. Azure-winged Magpies in the car park. Female Kestrel observed tearing its catch to bits. Pair of Common Sandpipers crossing the gorge at the dam. Male Kestel soaring. Black Kite (2-3) hunting along the dried out banks of the river. Barn Swallow. Chaffinch singing. House Martins common. Raven perched on a pinnacle at the top of the cliffs. Grey Heron fishing along the rocky edge of the river.  

    PINE WOOD ABOVE THE TIÉTAR DAM
    1535h> Crested Tit (2-3) calling. Two birds observed. Great Spotted Woodpecker calling. Chaffinch. Blue Tit. Long-tailed Tit. Great Tit. Azure-winged Magpie. Spotted Flycatcher. Goldfinch.

    MIRADOR DE LA BASCULA
    1615h> Subalpine Warbler calling and singing. Blue Tit. Serins singing. Blackbird singing. Griffon Vulture overhead. At least eight Black Vultures passed left along the ridges. Black Stork (1) several Griffon Vultures passed by. Peregrine observed in the same field of view as a Black Vulture through the 'scope. Azure-winged Magpies calling. Chaffinches singing. Black Kite at 1652h and then three more Black Vultures off to the right and one very close in front. Two more Black Kites. A dark phase Booted Eagle visible at 1705h.

    POTILLA DEL TIÉTAR / TIÉTAR CLIFFS
    Griffon Vultures (min 34) in the air above the cliff. Many nests with large chicks. Egyptian Vulture (2). Black Vulture (1) circling above. Bee-eater (4+). Black Stork on the nest. Male Rock Bunting singing. Red-rumped Swallows and Crag Martins nesting. Grey Wagtail (1) and White Wagtails by the water's edge. Chaffinch. Nightingale and Blackbird singing. Serins singing. Grey Heron passed overhead, followed by an another. Blue Rock Thrush. Blackcap (m). A third Grey Heron overhead. Rock Doves passing. Goldfinch (2). Black Kite (1).      

    Rio TajoROAD TO BAZAGONA (CC-911)
    Twelve White Storks counted along the road and many nests in the crowns of the oaks. Honey Buzzard observed flying north low over the car. Black Kite (3) with a single Red Kite in the dehesa south of the railway line. Turtle Dove observed through the 'scope, perched on a telegraph wire. Several Bee-eaters along the road perched on telegraph wires and a probable nesting colony in a sand works area on the left (8+). Male cuckoo observed passing over the road in front of the car. Spotless Starlings fairly common in the dehesa. Chaffinch. Azure-winged Magpie. Long-tailed Tit. House Sparrow. Collared Dove. Crested Lark. Woodchat Shrike. Greenfinch. Bridge over the last stream: Golden Oriole heard singing in the poplars somewhere. Nightingales (4-5 singing males). Tree Sparrows calling. Chaffinches singing. Wren singing. Blackcap singing. Corn Buntings and Crested Larks in the intensively farmed areas of agriculture. Black Kite hunting here.

    POTILLA DEL TIÉTAR / TIÉTAR CLIFFS
    A male Blue Rock Thrush scoped on the cliff. Jay passed overhead and another later heard calling nearby.  
    At 2045h an Eagle Owl chick was perched out on the cliff face - still downy, grey with no visible ear tufts. At 2100h an adult appeared perched out on a rock pinnacle, silhouetted against the darkening sky - large 'ear' tufts, orange eyes, and large talons all observed. Disappeared for a short while then reappeared at the top right of the cliff. Then observed taking off and flying right, gliding over the canopy for approximately 100 metres without a wing flap! Stopped on the drive back to the campsite to listen for Red-necked Nightjars without any luck.

     


    Wednesday 8th May 2002
    BELEN PLAINS/STEPPE > TRUJILLO > RIO ALMONTE > MONFRAGÜE, Extremadura

    DRIVE FROM CAMPING MONFRAGÜE TO TRUJILLO
    Species noted from the car: Black Kite (4), Woodchat Shrike (4), Azure-winged Magpie, House Martin, House Sparrow, Crested/Thekla Lark, Chaffinch, Alpine Swift, Blackbird, Feral Rock Dove, Griffon Vulture, Red-legged Partridge (2), Hoopoe, Raven (2), Buzzard, Red-rumped Swallow, Corn Bunting, Spotless Starling, Turtle Dove (3), Stonechat, Bee-eater (5), Cattle Egret, White Stork, Lesser Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike (2), Black-billed Magpie.

    BRDIGE OVER THE RÍO AMONTE ON THE EX-208
    1050h >1120h. Grey Heron (1). White Wagtail (2). Reed Warbler singing. Moorhen calling. Corn Buntings singing. Thekla Larks singing from the hillsides. House Sparrows and Spanish Sparrows chirping by the bridge. Woodlark singing in the dehesa covered hillside. A distant Hoopoe singing. Bee-eater (2) hawking over the pools. Goldfinches singing. Crag Martins and Red-rumped Swallows nesting under the bridge. Goldfinches feeding on seeding thistles. A mixed flock of (50-60) Swift species, both Pallid and Common, low overhead. Jackdaw observed carrying nesting material which appeared to be a collection of dry grasses. Little Ringed Plover very vocal here. Serins singing.

    STOPPED ON THE EX-208 JUST NORTH OF TRUJILLO
    A Short-toed Eagle perched on a large electricity pylon just a few kilometres from Trujillo. Very close with owl-like face clearly seen. Photographed through the 'scope. Cattle Egret (6) and White Stork (3) feeding around the black bulls. Southern Grey Shrike (2) perched on large boulders. Melodious Warbler singing. Hoopoe flew over the main road.

    Belen PlainBELÉN PLAIN / (PSEUDO) STEPPE
    Drove the single track/unclassified road running northeast through an area of steppe grassland. Mallard (4). Hoopoe (3). Black-billed Magpies common. Spotless Starling. Southern Grey Shrike (1). A single Great Bustard on the steppe off to the left, 1.5 km after leaving the village - distant view, however. A single Little Bustard in flowery steppe 3km after leaving Belén. Only the head and neck visible above the mass of purple and yellow flowers. A flock of 12 to 15 Great Bustards observed in flight before landing and disappearing into long grass. Watched from 39
    º 30' 37N  005º 46' 15W where a large track crosses the road at the top of the hill approximately 6km after leaving the village of Belén. Then after around 20 minutes a single Great Bustard observed much closer (500 metres) almost in full view showing much white plumage in a partial display. Cattle Egrets very common in the steppe with flocks of 40 and 50 regularly seen. Some counts along the road: Mallard (2), Bee-eater (5), Black Kites (12), Red Kite (3), Raven (1), Common Buzzard (1). Calandra Larks numerous with many birds songflighting. Corn Buntings numerous and particularly conspicuous on roadside perches. Booted Eagle (light phase) perched very close at the roadside. White Storks common. Quails heard calling at most stops along the road with occasionally more than two birds heard together. Most flocks of Cattle Egret feeding around sheep flocks with many perched on the grazers' backs. Another Little Bustard seen, this time in flight before disappearing into flower-rich grassland. Two male Montagu's Harriers observed hunting close to the road. A group of 18 White Stork nests amongst 110+ Cattle Egrets on numerous nests and branches in a small stand of eucalyptus trees. Also Moorhen, Coot and  many Jackdaws around the pools below the colony. Female Black-eared Wheatear disturbed from its roadside perch. Several small pools present in the steppe grassland and many visible just by the roadside. One with a single Little Grebe. Another pool at 39º 32' 27N 005º 42' 17W with Little Grebe (4), Mallard (2), Moorhen (1) and Coot (1). Little Owl perched on a roadside fence post.  

    TRUJILLO
    Stopped for dinner - heavy rain! Walked up the castle and church - very few birds about. Only a single Lesser Kestrel observed. Also Spotless Starling, Serin, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Jackdaw and Feral Rock Dove.

    Dehesa: oak woodlandTRUJILLO - MONROY ROAD
    Counts of selected species: Southern Grey Shrike (10), Lesser Kestrel (4), Common Buzzard (3), Hoopoe (4), Black Kite (2), Woodchat Shrike (2), Little Owl (4), Montagu's Harrier (4). Bee-eaters fairly common with a flock of six being the biggest group. Spotless Starlings common. Black-billed Magpies common. The Short-toed Eagle from this morning was still perched on the same pylon, hours later! A flock of c50 Spanish Sparrows by the roadside close to a breeding colony in a eucalyptus stand with several White Stork nests. Mallards (f+b/8) in a small well vegetated roadside stream. A pair of Carrion Crows noted, one carrying food. Crested/Thekla Larks noted. A flock of 50 Jackdaws feeding near a large farm building. A single Little Bustard observed in flight. Abundant singing Corn Buntings - many perched on roadside fences and posts. Two Stone Curlews disturbed from a field, briefly landing, before flying over a hill at 39
    º 32' 11N 005º 56' 44W. A male Southern Grey Shrike observed passing a small rodent to the female. Two Little Bustards watched flying over the horizon about a quarter of a mile away - the white wing flashes visible just before landing. A family group of Stonechats calling loudly. Calandra Larks very common in the more open areas of grassland. A pair of Little Owls at 39º 33' 13N  005º 59' 46W.  

    AREA OF STEPPE GRASSLAND AROUND FINCA RIVALLA 39º 33' 02N   006º 00' 43W
    1851h> The rain almost off and weak sunshine beginning to appear.
    Parked at a lay-by next to a signed track leading to Finca Rivalla and stopped to scan the grasslands and immediately heard a Little Bustard calling. At least six Little Bustards calling in the immediate vicinity on both sides of the road here. Excellent view of a male flying from the horizon down to within a few metres of the roadside, apparently unaware of me or at least not too bothered. It landed close to a visible female which was partly hidden at times in long grassland rich in flowers. Another male observed in flight nearby. Excellent observations of another male displaying and calling, throwing its head back. Zitting Cisticola displaying over a marshy area.

    RÍO AMONTE, SOUTH OF MONROY
    1945h> Crag Martins, Red-rumped Swifts and Barn Swallows hawking insects over the two pools either side of the bridge. A singing male Cirl Bunting on the slope just above the roadside. Also: Spanish Sparrow, House Sparrow, Serin, White Wagtail and Goldfinch. Back on the road to Monroy: Woodchat Shrike (1), Black Kite (3).

    Dehesa near MonroyNORTH OF MONROY   39º 40' 00N   006º 12' 42W
    2025h>2135h.  Stopped here with the intention of seeing Black-winged Kite (also known as Black-shouldered Kite - failed to see them here in 2001). White Stork colony in the Stone Pines very active. House Sparrows here. Black Kite perched on a telegraph pole. Bee-eaters hawking overhead. Corn Buntings and Serins singing.  Also: Crested Lark, Mallard (2 mm), Spotless Starling, Hoopoe singing, Azure-winged Magpies, Red-legged Partridge calling and three Lesser Kestrels perched on bushes. Then, at 2100h, a Black-winged Kite was observed flying left (as you walk down the track) on the near side of the line of pylons at a range of c500 metres. Walked down the track for about 300 to 400 metres and waited. After around 10 minutes it reappeared, hunting over where the dehesa starts proper behind the left-hand pylon as you stand on the track. It then landed in the crown of an oak 100 metres to the right of the track (towards the right-hand pylon). Perched for a while before putting on a great display - flying with pauses to float on raised wings before hovering several times. Dropped to the ground where it captured a rodent. Returned to the same tree before eating its catch, closely attended by a Black-billed Magpie. Got some record shots using the digital camera through the 'scope. Up to nine Lesser Kestrels present, hunting in a flock during observation of the kite. A pair of Ravens nesting near the top of the left-hand pylon. Melodious Warbler; three singing males in scrub between here and the main road.

    CAMPING MONFRAGÜE
    A large beetle with a prominent 'horn' on its head, later identified as Copris lunaris, resembling a small Stag Beetle in structure. Came through the window of the shower block and landed in a sink! The Barn Swallow pair still feeding young in the nest inside the shower block at 2240h, using the artificial light source to take insect within the building! Wrote up these notes from dictaphone until 0010h - two Scops Owls calling during this time. Cicadas and crickets stridulating all over the campsite.

     


    Thursday 9th May 2002
    VALLE DEL JERTE, Extermadura

    Monfrague CampsiteCAMPING MONFRAGÜE > VALLE DEL JERTE
    Species noted from the car (mostly along the N-110):- Black Kite (15), White Stork nests (9), Mistle Thrush (1), Spotless Starling, Barn Swallow, Grey Heron on the shore of the Embalse de Plasencia, Blackbird, White Wagtail (2), Golden Oriole (2) near Cabezuella del Valle, Turtle Dove (3), House Sparrow, Azure-winged Magpie, Common Buzzard, Black-billed Magpie (3), Booted Eagle (1), Short-toed Eagle (1), Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Crag Martin, House Martin, Griffon Vulture and Bee-eater (8).

    CABEZUELA DEL VALLE > PUERTO DE HONDURAS
    Stopped at an open area c1km after turning off the main road before the long climb to nearly 1800m. A male Golden Oriole observed singing in the deciduous oak woodland around the stream below. Wren singing.  Blackcap singing. White Stork (2) overhead. Also: Spotted Flycatcher, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Barn Swallow.
    Second stop further up: Hoopoe, Golden Oriole and Wren singing. Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and another calling further away. A Hawfinch disturbed from the roadside but not relocated after it disappeared into the woodland. A second Hoopoe replying. Chaffinch singing. House Martin and Barn Swallow overhead. Blue Tit brood passing. Short-toed Treecreeper singing. Spotted Flycatcher noted. Pied Flycatcher observed singing - usually a single phrase before flying off to another branch. Nuthatches (2-3) heard and seen on thick tree trunks particularly around the bases. Two Bee-eaters overhead. Short-toed Treecreeper (3-4). Another Hawfinch observed in flight, showing the wing bars well. Nightingale singing.  Jay and Great Tit also noted.    
    Third stop higher up: Azure-winged Magpies (10+), Golden Orioles singing, Spotless Starling, etc. Two male Golden Orioles observed flying over the road.
    Jerte Valley Fourth stop: A singing male Golden Oriole observed. Better views this time. Hoopoe (3). Nuthatch (1). Pied Flycatcher singing. Booted Eagle and Griffon Vultures overhead. Blue Tit. Pied Flycatcher. Serin. Two more Hoopoes on the drive higher up.
    Fifth stop at 3610 feet: The appearance of the landscape was more like late winter/early spring at this height with trees still leafless and it also very cold (felt like c2ºC). Woodlark displaying. A Bonelli's Warbler singing but difficult to get good views of as it kept high in the canopy and continually move between trees. Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Jay, Wren, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Great Tit common in the woodland. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Raven and Griffon Vulture also obvious here.
    Sixth stop at 4243 feet. 40
    º 13' 31N   005º 50' 47W (8.5ºC according to car thermometer),
    Several Ortolan Buntings singing. Three birds observed by the roadside. Stonechats common. Cuckoo singing. Bluethroat singing above the road in an area of broom covered hillside just below the cloud line! Rock Thrush singing in an area of steep craggy hillside. Wrens singing - quite numerous in this barley vegetated area. Cuckoo, Jay (2), Whitethroat, Stonechat, Raven, Griffon Vulture and Ortolan Bunting also present.

    View from Puerto de HondurasPUERTO DE HONDURAS
    Rock Thrush and Bluethroat heard singing distantly. Several Whitethroats and a few Sardinian Warblers singing in the broom scrub. Blackbird singing. Ortolan Buntings common. Many Wrens singing. Griffon Vultures passing along the hillside over the peak of the road although noticeably much less common than in Monfragüe. Stonchats singing from rocks and boulders. Raven overhead. Dunnock singing.
    Solar Power Station: Woodlark songflighting at the top of the tree line. Another singing nearby. Raven (2) overhead. Rock Bunting, Cuckoo and Jay seen from the car on the drive back down. Common Buzzard (2) and Raven (3) lower down. Speckled Wood and Wood Pigeon also noted.

    RESERVA NATURAL DE GARGANTOS DE LOS INFIERNOS
    The habitat here resembled a typical upland oak wood of western and northern Britain although with a much richer flora and fauna.
    1645h> Stopped first at the river before driving in to the reserve: Pied Flycatcher, Robins (first of the trip), Wren, Blackcap (2), White Wagtail (1), Crag Martin, House Martin, Red-rumped Swift, Serin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Golden Oriole singing.
    Reserva Natural 1707h>1940h.
    Species noted around the car park: Serin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blackcap, Robin, Crag Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow and Blue Tit. Honey Buzzard calling high over the wooded slopes of the gorge with great views from a look-out point just off the trail. Short-toed Treecreeper singing and observed on a very thin oak just a few feet away. Singing Blackcaps common with at least 10 males counted. Two singing Nightingales heard. Jay calling. Wrens common. Cuckoo singing. Rock Bunting. Griffon Vulture. Raven. A small group of Long-tailed Tits with recently fledged young. Jay, Serin and Cuckoo in the cherry orchard. Crag Martins over the river. A forth, then a fifth Jay seen. Grey Wagtail (f) and (20+) Barn Swallows around the bridge over the river at the end of the trail. Two Golden Orioles heard singing here. At least five Robins seen along the trail.  

     


    Friday 10th May 2002
    MONFRAGÜE > MÉRIDA > SEVILLA > FUENTE DE PIEDRA, Andalucia

    Laguna de Fuente de PiedraDRIVE FROM CAMPING MONFRAGÜE > TRUJILLO
    Species noted from the car: Crested/Thekla Larks, Hoopoe, Jay, Barn Swallow, Spotless Starling, Black Kite, Serin, House Martin, Griffon Vulture, Red-rumped Swallow, Azure-winged Magpie, Common/Pallid Swifts, Woodchat Shrike, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Stonechat and Southern Grey Shrike.

    ARROYO DE LA VID
    Rock Sparrows (3) downstream of the bridge, perching on walls, rocky slopes and oak trees. Observed picking seeds from dry grasses by the roadside. Large yellow throat patch observed on a male Rock Sparrow and
    fairly obvious. Rock Bunting (2). Corn Buntings singing. Woodchat Shrike (pr). Turtle Dove 'purring' away. Subalpine Warbler calling. Hoopoe singing. Also present: Spanish Sparrow, Crag Martin, Serin, Goldfinch, Stonechat (m), Blue Tit, House Sparrow and Blackbird.

    N-V, TRUJILLO >MÉRIDA
    Counts from the car: Lesser Kestrel (12), Black Kite (8), White Stork (15), Hoopoe (2), Roller (1), Southern Grey Shrike, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Little Grebe, Buzzard, Barn Swallow, Azure-winged Magpie, Stonechat, Collared Pratincole over the road at Km-296, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret.

    N-V, MÉRIDA > SEVILLA
    Counts from the car: Cattle Egret (10), Black Kite (5), Kestrel sp. (2), White Stork (1), Common Buzzard (1), Black-eared Wheatear at Km 664, Montagu's Harrier (3): female at Km 680, male at Km 688 and another male at Km 703.7, Collared Dove observed carrying nesting material into a palm. Zitting Cisticola.

    PICNIC AREA ON THE EXTREMADURA/ANDALUCIA BORDER
    Flamingo flock Rivera de Cala / N-630 (E-803) 1310h> Stopped for lunch.
    Cetti's Warbler, 2 singing mm, Bee-eater (2), Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Serin, House Sparrow and Blue Tit.

    A92, SEVILLA > ANTEQUERA
    Counts from the car: Black Kite (50-60) over a rubbish tip, Southern Grey Shrike (3), Hoopoe (2), Bee-eater (4), Woodchat Shrike (1), Crested Lark, White Stork, Barn Swallow, Spotless Starling, Feral Rock Dove, House Sparrow, Black-billed Magpie, Blackbird, Kestrel sp.

    LAGUNA DE FUENTE DE PIEDRA
    Arrived at 1800h after looking around nearby towns for a campsite. Camped at Camping Cabañas de Madera  in Fuente de Piedra.
    Reckoned to be 31000 Greater Flamingos present this season. A few hundred within 1km of the visitor centre shoreline but mostly widely scattered over the entire lake with a mass of distant pink at the Salinas breeding site. Breeding Avocets and Black-winged Stilts along the sandy shoreline. One pair of Avocets with a brood of four continually interacted with a few Flamingos. One of the adult Avocets threatened any Flamingo that approached the half-grown chicks, occasionally flying up in attack. Gull-billed Tern (3), Kentish Plover (7), Ringed Plover (15), Bee-eater (2), Goldfinch (4). Many immature Yellow-legged Gulls. Avocets nesting on small islands in the lagoon.

    The marsh between the visitor centre and the village of Fuente de Piedra
    Full of water and supporting a Black-headed Gull colony. Single Black Tern feeding over the open water, dipping to the surface regularly. Three Whiskered Terns present, feeding over the surrounding marshland. Another three Whiskered Terns later appeared from over the village.  Red-crested Pochard (pair), Greater Flamingo (3), Black-winged Stilt (5) Pochard (8), Moorhen (min 26), Common Coot (min 7), Mallard (f), Bee-eater (2). Also present: Melodious Warbler, Crested Lark, Spotless Starling, Linnet, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Feral Rock Dove, Yellow-legged Gull, House Martin and a Swift sp. From 2005h, some waders began to drop in to the smallest pool to the right of the marsh (as viewed from the observation platform): Greenshank (2), Green Sandpiper (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Kentish Plover (1).  A flock of c80 Greater Flamingos passed overhead towards the lagoon, perhaps arriving from one of the nearby smaller lagoons. Another Gull-billed Tern arrived and settled next to the waders.

    CAMPING CABAÑAS DE MADERA
    Campsite right on the edge of the village with views over to the lagoon and of the following species: Greater Falmingo, Gull-billed Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Black-headed Gull. Serin and Greenfinch in the adjacent olive grove. After listening to several singing/calling Spotless Starlings over the past few days, this species appears to (i) be a better mimic, (ii) have louder/stronger vocalisation (iii) produce much clearer and purer tones than the Common Starling.

     


    Saturday 11th May 2002
    LAGINA DE FUENTE DE PIEDRA > TEBA GORGE (TAJO DEL MOLINO), Andalucia

    CAMPING CABAÑAS DE MADERA
    Hoopoe singing from the surrounding olive groves along with Serin, Linnet, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Bee-eater, Spotless Starling, Crested Lark and Goldfinch.

    FUENTE DE PIEDRA
    Collared Dove and House Martin noted in the village.

    LAGUNA DE FUENTE DE PIEDRA  Reserva Natural, 1364 ha
    A huge natural, saline lagoon, 6.5km by 2.5km set in a basin surrounded by mountains. A commercial salinera until the 1950's and a Reserva Natural from the mid 1980's.
    Marsh between the reception centre and the village: Greater Flamingo (2), Gadwall (m), Red-crested Pochard (m), Gull-billed Tern (2), Hoopoe singing, Collared Dove, Black-headed Gull, Black-winged Stilt, Coot, Moorhen, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull (pr), Bee-eater, Zitting Cisticola, Corn Bunting singing, Barn Swallow and House Martin.
    The lagoon: Waders numerous, though rather distant, with excellent visibility today. One near flock containing Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Little Stint. Single Lapwing closer to the shoreline. A flock of 12 Ruff passed. Knot and Grey Plover also present. Pallid Swift (min 1) identified. One island with 55+ Avocets. Crested Larks singing. A Male Mallard flew by. Probably hundreds of migrant waders present over the whole lagoon judging by distant flocks in flight. Bar-tailed Godwit about 200 metres from the shoreline. Bee-eater (4+). Gull-billed Terns (8) on the sandy spit to the left of the mirador. Slender-billed Gull passed by, flying right to left just beyond the perimeter fence of the lagoon. Several Lesser Black-backed Gulls still here amongst the many Yellow-legged Gulls. Dragonfly Trithemis annulata observed.

    Laguna DulceLAGUNA DULCE  Reserva Natural
    A seasonal lagoon located beside the A-382, east of Campillos. Water level high. All species observed from a single hide with no access to any other area of the lagoon. Counts: Gull-billed Tern (61), Greater Flamingo (81), Eurasian Coot (263+), Great Crested Grebe (10), Black-necked Grebe (21), Little Grebe (1), Red-crested Pochard (47), Common Pochard (6), Mallard (160+), Sand Martin (5+), Moorhen (1), Black-winged Stilt (20+), Lapwing (3), Bee-eater (4+). Strong heat haze and distance combining to make viewing conditions difficult. Impossible to identifying Coot species on the far shore. Many Sympetrum dragonflies around the hide. Singing birds abundant: Corn Bunting, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler and Reed Warbler. Female Marsh Harrier hunting over the reed bed to the far right before disappearing into the reeds. Hundreds of Swifts (probably 1000 at least) hawking over the lagoon and surrounding area with many flying low over the hide and car park allowing close and prolonged observation. Many identified as both Pallid and Common Swifts. A male Marsh Harrier later observed in the same area as the female. Wasps nest building under the roof of the hide. Little Grebes very vocal giving territorial calls. A pair of Marsh Harriers later observed hunting over the reed bed, being mobbed by Lapwings and disturbing a flock of around (15) Kentish Plovers. Also noted: Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow and Clouded Yellow.

    Teba GorgeTEBA GORGE / TAJO DEL MOLINO
    A superb, scenic area with the angled strata consisting of many overhangs and caves and nice garrigue habitat on the slopes at either end of the 500 metre long gorge. Walked the length of the gorge (little water running through it) from the bridge, on the C-341 around 5km from the village of Teba, and then climbed out and up the hillside to the right. The light was intense. Species noted as encountered: Blue Rock Thrush (m), Small Copper, Common Blue, Clouded Yellow, Serin, Nightingale and Cetti's Warbler singing under the bridge in streamside vegetation, Great Tit Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush (pair), Common Sandpiper at the stream, Meadow Brown, Large White, Chough (3). Black Wheatear observed less than 100 metres from the bridge where it began chasing a Blue Rock Thrush at speed around the cliff face of the gorge. Another pair of Blue Rock Thrushes - one bird with food for young. Calling Rock Sparrows abundant around the large cave on the left-hand side. A total of six singing male Wrens heard in the gorge. Crag Martin and Red-rumped Swallow common, Jackdaw, Rock Dove, Black Wheatear by the large cave, Chough (12) in the air at 1546h, third pair of Blue Rock Thrushes, Golden-ringed Dragonfly. A pair of Black Wheatears at the far end of the gorge - one 'sailing' off the cliff to a dead bush at the stream below. Another two Black Wheatears higher up. Hoopoe singing in the valley behind. Another pair of Black Wheatears Castillo de la Estrellafound, the male singing on a ridge above the valley above the gorge. Bonelli's Eagle found perched almost at the highest part of the left-hand cliff face. Looking back through the gorge it was perched just below the first bit of scrub just right of the largest 'crack' running the height of the cliff face. Then, superb views of the eagle in flight low overhead for two to three minutes. Male Stonechat calling. Hoopoe flying upstream. Another Cetti's Warbler singing. Serins singing. Jackdaw (7) overhead. Blue Rock Thrushes very vocal. The Bonelli's Eagle landed back on the cliff giving better views: huge compare with nearby Choughs, flat crown/head evident. In flight, it looked long-winged relative to body length and long-tailed, bulging secondaries/inner wing, strong rufous colour to underparts and dark upperparts. Small White, Southern Gatekeeper, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Marbled White sp. House Martins and House Sparrows nesting under the road bridge.

    TEBA CASTLE / CASTILLO DE LA ESTRELLA
    1815h>1920h. Great views of the surrounding landscape - visibility unlimited.
    A pair of very confiding Black Wheatears - the male singing at times. The female was later seen flying off towards the small ruin below the castle, regularly carrying food for nestlings. Thekla Lark (3-4).  Rock Sparrow (4+). Stonechat (pr+b/2). Linnet (pr). Also noted: Painted Lady, Barn Swallow, House Sparrow and Corn Buntings singing way below.

     


    Sunday 12th May 2002
    FUENTE DE PIEDRA > RONDA > ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA, Andalucia

    CAMPING CABAÑAS DE MADERA
    The lagoon was like a sheet of glass this morning (no wind) with every flamingo just about visible as far as the eye could see. The breeding colonies at the old salinas were a mass of pink against the blue colour of the water. Hoopoe singing close by from dusk this morning. Woodchat Shrike and Bee-eater (2) over the surrounding olive groves. Serins singing. A distant Kestrel species. Black-winged Stilt and Gull-billed Tern visible. Pallid Swift (100+) overhead. Linnet overhead. A Barn Swallow taking insects from the surface of the dirty swimming pool. House Sparrow and House Martin also noted.

    Puente Neuvo, RondaRONDA  
    1220h> Much traffic and narrow streets made finding the underground car park in the city centre a little difficult.
    Smaller gorge on the edge of the town:
    A male Blue Rock Thrush singing from a derelict building. Serins numerous - singing and feeding young. Grey Wagtail (2) in the stream below. Hundreds of Pallid Swifts overhead. Blackbird, Crag Martin, House Martin, Feral Rock Dove, Goldfinch, Spotless Starling, Chough (2), House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Mallard (12, probably feral), Nightingale singing, Lesser Kestrel (1), Blackcap singing. Hundreds of pairs of House Martins nesting around the town with many houses covered in nests along the streets walked.  
    Lunch stop at Villa Paz:
    Cliff top view over the surrounding countryside to the mountains. Pallid Swifts passing by. Common Swifts also passing. Serins and House Sparrows in the palm trees on the terrace. Grey Wagtail calling as it passed by. Alpine Swifts
    rushing by. Goldfinches overhead. Crag Martins spinning in mid air around their nests on the cliff face below. Chough (2), then (3) passing by. House Martin also noted
    Puente Neuvo (The New Bridge):
    1430h> Close views of Lesser Kestrel, Chough and Alpine Swift flying through the arch of the bridge. Up to 20 Chough 'tumbling' in the gorge. Crag Martins common. Rock Sparrow (3) on a cliff ledge a few metres below. Blue Rock Thrush displaying . Serins numerous and Goldfinches common. Also noted: Pallid Swift, Spotless Starling, Common Swift, House Martin and House Sparrow.
    Walk down to the valley and gorge below the town:
    1525h> Blue Rock Thrush singing from scrub covered cliffs below the town. Corn Buntings singing. Serin, Blue Tit and Goldfinch noted. Lesser Kestrel hunting over the low-intensive farming here. Chaffinches singing from an olive orchard. Cetti's Warbler and Blackcap singing from the
    Ronda riverine scrub. Jay calling. Clouded Yellows common in the flower-rich grasslands here. Lesser numbers of Painted Lady. A male Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines) photographed. Spotless Starling, Blackbird, Wren, Greenfinch and Serin noted. A female Blue Rock Thrush with a green coloured larva at the stream by the derelict building. At least a pair of Rock Sparrows at this building. Blue Rock Thrush observed flying on through one of the window openings carrying food for the young. Brown Argus and Large White noted. White Wagtail with food for young. A flock of 19 Chough observed overhead at 1608h. Two Bee-eaters on wires by the stream. Male Blue Rock Thrush singing from a telegraph wire then later observed with food in its beak. The pair were watched returning regularly with food. Long-tailed Tits calling. Grey Wagtail flew upstream. Greenfinch (m). Sardinian Warbler (3). Another Grey Wagtail overhead. Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) observed swimming in the stream below the small bridge with the five large pipes. Two Grass Snakes later present. Hoopoe singing. Female Grey Wagtail observed with food for young which carried into a nest site at the third pipe under the bridge. Speckled Wood, Common Blue and Meadow Brown noted here. Black Redstart calling and another Blue Rock Thrush nearby. Male Stonechat with food for young.
       
    View from RondaSPECIES NOTED FROM THE CAR TODAY

    Passing through the following villages: Fuente de Piedra > Humilldero > Almargen > torre-Almaquime > Setinel de las Bodegas > Arriate > Ronda > Arcos de la Frontera.
    A-92: Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Black Kite and Montagu's Harrier. N-344: Hoopoe (2), Montagu's Harrier (m), Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, Greenfinch, Barn Swallow, Goldfinch, Nightingale (singing), Woodchat Shrike, Greenfinch (calling), Serin, Zitting Cisticola (singing), Melodious Warbler (singing), Chaffinch (m), Blackcap (singing), Kestrel sp. (2). Species were heard by driving slowly through suitable habitat with the windows down. Ronda>Arcos de la Frontera: Cattle Egret (2), White Stork on nest, Mallard, Crested Lark, Feral Rock Dove.

    CAMPING LAGO DE ARCOS, ARCOS-DE-LA FRONTERA
    Species heard singing: Zitting Cisticola, Nightingale, Serin, Cetti's Warbler, Crested Lark and Goldfinch. Black Kite and Night Heron (2) (AS) overhead.

     


    Monday 13th May 2002
    ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA > LAGUNA DE MEDINA > TARIFA, Andalucia

    CAMPING LAGO DE ARCOS
    Purple Heron overhead at 0820h. Nightingale, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and Crested Lark all singing.

    LAGUNA DE MEDINA, JEREZ  Reserva Natural, 121 ha
    A large lagoon set in the rolling hills of sherry country. Extensive fringing reedbeds with surrounding buckthorn and tamarisk scrub. Heat haze already evident at 0920h making viewing to the far side difficult. Walked the length of trail looking for White-headed Duck and Crested Coot in particular. Water level very high. After much searching a pair of Crested (Red-knobbed) Coots were observed at the end of the lagoon nearest the road and close in to track-side vegetation. Red nodules clearly visible on the forehead. A pair of White-headed Ducks also at the near end, out on more open water. Difficult to search the site properly due to the height of the waterside vegetation and distance of the track from the lagoon edge. Good numbers of other wildfowl. Water bird counts: Eurasian Coot (hundreds), Black-necked Grebe (87), Great Crested Grebe (9), Little Grebe (8), Red-crested Pochard (22), Common Pochard (22), Gadwall (14), Mallard (18), Greater Flamingo (20), Black-winged Stilt (4), Black Tern (12). Counts of singing warbler species along the track: Zitting Cisticola (12), Sardinian Warbler (8), Melodious Warbler (7), Cetti's Warbler (9), Great Reed Warbler (13), Reed Warbler (common). Good numbers of other species: Turtle Dove (6), Bee-eater (5+), Nightingale (8 singing mm), Stonechat (4), Corn Bunting (7), Goldfinch (12), House Sparrow (5), Crested Lark (3), Tree Sparrow, Marsh Harrier (f at 1010h), Barn Swallow (2), Cuckoo (1), Greenfinch (2), Serins (common), Spotted Flycatcher (1), Linnet (pr+1). Red-legged Partridge calling from the chalky slope above the road at the car park. Pheasant calling near the farmhouse at the end of the trail - heard several times. Spotted Flycatcher 'looping' off a small wire fence. Butterflies noted: Swallowtail, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady. Dragonflies common with several species noted.

    LAGUNA DE MEDINA > TARIFA
    Species noted from the car: Cattle Egret (51), Short-toed Eagle (1), Lesser Kestrel (4), Bee-eater (2), Collared Pratincole (flock of 20-30) and (3) over the road at Km 59 of the N-340, Crested Lark, White Stork, Collared Dove, Zitting Cisticola (singing), Melodious Warbler (singing), Nightingale (singing).

    TarifaTARIFA: PLAYA DE LOS LANCES  Paraje Natural
    Reached the south coast where the wind was typically strong - many windsurfers in the bay. 1410h> Clouded Yellows common in the flat expanse or wildflowers behind the dunes. Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus) found in short grassland. At least three Short-toed Larks heard singing, Zitting Cisticola displaying, Linnet (20+), Crested Lark singing and displaying, Goldfinch singing, Spotless Starling. Small numbers of waders on beach here: Grey Plover (6), Sanderling (3), Ringed Plover (3), Kentish Plover (14). Yellow-legged Gulls common overhead.  
    Seawatch 1450h>1605h: Several Mediterranean Shearwaters on the horizon, Sanderling (3), Great Skua flying west, attacking gulls on the way (1505h>1515h), Arctic Skua (3) flew east at 1547h, Sandwich Tern (15+), Storm Petrel (20+) following a fishing boat with attendant Gannet (imm) and numerous Yellow-legged Gulls. *A very large tern (quite distant) flew right over the orange/red markers in the bay, eventually gaining a bit of height before disappearing out of range. Restaurant across the road from Camping Rio Jara: Turtle Dove (2) and Collared Dove (4).

    CAMPING RIO JARA > PARAJE NATURAL
    The campsite was adjacent to the Paraje Natural where we had been this afternoon. A path exited the campsite to the beach. After dinner we returned to the shore. A few Mediterranean Shearwater flying east. Some Audouin's Gulls (4 ads + 1st-S) found among a group of Yellow-legged Gulls (50+) resting on the beach. Observed down to a range of about 40 metres with excellent views of the red bill, black eyes, dark grey legs and elongated head/beak. Eventually disturbed by a passing jogger. Long thin wings observed in flight. Also one Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Sandwich Tern present. Short-toed and Crested Larks singing. Kentish Plover (30+), Ringed Plover (10+), Grey Plover (8), Sanderling (10+), Common Sandpiper (10) in the tidal creek. An Iberian race Yellow Wagtail in marsh vegetation adjacent to the tidal channel.

     


    Tuesday 14th May 2002
    TARIFA > PARQUE NACIONAL DE DOÑANA, Andalucia

    CAMPING RIO JARA, TARIFA
    Crested Larks and Zitting Cisiticolas singing. Collared Doves notably common here. Serin and Spotless Starling singing. Common Sandpiper heard calling.   

    DRIVE TO THE COTO DE DOÑANA
    Drive to Doñana approximately 200 miles.
    Species noted from the car: Black Kite (14), Cattle Egret (31), Lesser Kestrel (2), more unidentified Kestrels, Collared Pratincole (4), Collared Dove (common Tarifa area), Crested Larks (numerous), Corn Buntings (common), Stonechat, Feral Rock Dove, Collared Pratincole (4 N-IV road), White Stork (common), Spotless Starling (very common), Azure-winged Magpies common from Almonte, Clouded Yellows common, Jackdaw fairly common in the Huelva region.
    Arrived at El Rocio at 1230h> Whiskered Terns everywhere, even low over the main road.

    Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Rocio Lagoon at El Rocio Lagoon at La Rocina

    EL ROCIO, PARQUE NACIONAL DE DOÑANA  
    1240h>1410h  Water level high - much higher than mid-June 2001. Extremely hot.
    Greater Flamingo (385), Black-winged Stilts (450+) constantly seeing off the marauding Black Kites, Spoonbills (26) with several juvenile birds, Little Egret (7), Whiskered Tern (c200), Mallard (numerous broods), Common Pochard (20+), Red-crested Pochard (10+), Grey Heron (21), Black Kite (7), Cattle Egret (12), Black-tailed Godwit (50+), Gadwall (2), Wigeon (f), Greylag Goose (2), Red-rumped Swallow, Bee-eater (2), Whimbrel (7), White Stork (nesting in the town), Barn Swallow, House Martin, Goldfinch, Spotless Starling, Eurasian Coot, Black-headed Gull (3), Clouded Yellow.

    La Rocina Stone Pine WoodsLA ROCINA
    Walk through the Stone Pine woodland:
    Numerous Tree Sparrows breeding in the Stone/Umbrella Pines - mostly in nest boxes. Pair of Woodchat Shrikes with food for offspring. Another male Woodchat Shrike in the crown of a pine in the more open area at the car park. Short-toed Treecreeper singing. Dartford Warbler singing from scrub on an opening. Several Greenfinches in the woodland - one harassing the shrikes. Serins singing.  Melodious Warbler and Nightingale singing. Goldfinches overhead.  
    Hide (hut):
    Purple Swamp-Hen (Purple Gallinule) observed on the second island off to the left of centre. Watched pulling stems of reeds/rushes, grasping them with its foot and stripping the outer layers for the soft tissue inside. Great Reed Warbler, Reed Warbler and Nightingale singing. Whiskered Tern (10+) hawking over the lagoon and surrounding marshland. A male Woodchat shrike flew down into the dry grassland between the hide and bracken for prey before returning to the dead branches of a tree to the right of the hide. Black Kites passing overhead from time to time, mobbed by nesting Black-winged Stilts below. Four White Stork nests on distant pylons and several in the crowns of lagoon-side trees. Little Grebe heard calling. Moorhen (2+). Cattle Egret (20) perched on the thick wooded stumps emerging from the water. Greenfinch singing. Tree Sparrow passing. Spoonbill (13), Grey Heron (6), Little Egret (3), Red-crested Pochard (2 pairs visible), Common Pochard (4), Black-winged Stilt (6+ visible), White Stork (1 feeding), House Martin (4+), Mallard (38), Coot (4+). Clouded Yellows common. Little Grebe observed carrying food into cover. Great Tit singing, Barn Swallow and several large hawker dragonflies.
    Next hide (open thatched screen):
    Squacco Heron to the left, fishing at the edge of the water. Also: Mallard, two Coots and Reed Warbler singing.
    Back on the trail:
    Woodchat Shrike observed pursuing a Great Spotted Cuckoo through a more open area of trees. Reed Warblers singing. Pair of Coots with a brood of two. Nightingale, Blackcap and two Short-toed Treecreepers singing. Also: Serin, Tree Sparrow, Moorhen and three Chaffinches.
    Third Hide:
    Lagoon on the La Rocina Trail Little Bittern perched briefly in reeds to the right before flying off. Another Squacco Heron nearby. Savi's Warbler 'reeling' to the left. Cuckoo singing. Three Cattle Egrets feeding around some horses. Three Gadwall took flight. A second Savi's Warbler heard singing not far in front of the hide. Bee-eaters passed by. Another pair of Little Grebes calling. The same, previous Purple Swamp-Hen also visible from this point. Also noted here: Spoonbill, White Stork, Serin and Greenfinch.
    Back on the trail > Algadia del Melocillo
    Short-toed Treecreeper, Serin, Nightingale and Tree Sparrow the most obvious species on this part of the trail. Cetti's Warbers; three singing males. Three Bee-eaters overhead. Five Long-tailed Tits observed, Distant Brimstone or Cleopatra sighted. Melodious Warbler calling from the top of a pine. Plenty of birdsong in the area: several Chaffinches singing, Blackbird, Nightingale and Serins singing. A pair of Sardinian Warblers and one juvenile watched for several minutes in a young pine tree. Several Large or Spanish Psammodromas lizards basking on the boardwalks. Cleopatra observed at close quarters - a male. Greenfinches displaying in flight overhead. Dartford Warbler and Woodchat Shrike singing in a open are of very dry habitat. Also noted: Cuckoo and Blackbird.
    Observatori 'Pato Cuchara':
    Savi's Warblers; two singing males. One birds observed well, several metres in front of the hide, singing continuously. Purple Heron just in front of the hide before flying off and disappearing into the rushes on the far side. Little Grebes calling.  Black Kite and Whiskered Terns overhead. Savi's Warbler observed well through the 'scope, reeling and turning its head from side-to-side much more often than a Grasshopper Warbler. Spoonbill (2), Moorhen (1), Mallard (10+), Greylag Goose (1), Bee-eater (3), Barn Swallow (30+). Nightingale, Collared Dove, Reed Warbler and Greenfinch all vocal here.

    CAMPING ROCIO PLAYA, MATALASCAÑAS
    2000h. A group of 30 Greater Flamingos observed flying west along the coast. Also noted: Black-billed Magpie, Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, Serin, House Sparrow, Crested Lark.

     


    Wednesday 15th May 2002
    NORTHERN MARISMAS, PARQUE NACIONAL DE DOÑANA, Andalucia

    Superb birding today marred by closure of our ultimate destination in the marismas (Centro de Interpretacion del P.N.D. Jose Antonio Valverde.)

    CAMPING ROCIO PLAYA, MATALASCAÑAS
    Black-billed Magpie (5), Serin, Blackbird, Turtle Dove, Black Kite (2).

    Track into the Northern MarismasDRIVE FROM  EL ROCIO > Centro de Interpretacion del P.N.D. Jose Antonio Valverde.
    Black Kite (29) - many perched on roadside posts, Cattle Egret (12), Spotless Starlings common, Corn Buntings and Crested Larks numerous, Long-tailed Tit (1) flew over the road through the pine woodland, Grey Heron (6), White Stork (8), Common Sandpiper (5), Woodchat Shrike (3), Swift sp., Linnet, Serin, Blackbird, Azure-winged Magpie (10) - most on the Villamanrique road through the pine woodland, Bee-eater (11), Calandra Lark (5) in the dry marismas and ploughed areas, Barn Swallow, House Sparrow (100+).
    End of tarmac/start of gravel tracks (distances measured from this point): Quail heard calling at all stops, e.g. 2.9, 4.1, 13.2 km. Common Buzzard (2), Montagu's Harrier (Imm m) at 5.7 km, Mallard (8). Black-winged Stilts numerous in the areas of wetland. Short-toed Larks common from 5.7 km, particularly between 15 and 17 km. Tawny Pipit on the track at 5.8 km. Little Egrets common in wetlands. Clouded Yellows flying all along the route - hundreds seen along the track but probably thousands flying over the whole area. Painted Lady and Bath White also common. Spoonbill (4), Yellow Wagtail (10), Collared Pratincole (2), Reed Warbler (6), Linnet, Moorhen, Kestrel, Coot. Ocellated (or Eyed) Lizard (Lacerta lepida) observed running across the track into cover. A light phase Booted Eagle overhead at 13.0 km, (37º 06' 47N  006º 18' 47W). First Lesser Short-toed Lark identified on the track at 12.3 km (37º 07' 09N  006º18' 46W) then common between 15 and 17 km. A minimum of 47 singing/displaying male Zitting Cisticolas counted along 25 km of roadside in both dry and wet areas. Two female Whinchats at 16.8 km perched on wire fencing (37º 06' 20N  006º 20' 45W) - not very approachable. A male Whinchat later found further along the road.
    Marismas at 17.7 km from the start of the gravel track:
    Whiskered Tern (200+), Night Heron (1), Red-crested Pochard (8), Purple Heron (5), Little Egret (13), Black-winged Stilt (32), Grey Heron (6), Gadwall (4), Coot (5+b/2, b/5), Moorhen (2), Little Grebe (3), Black Kite (6), Yellow Wagtail (3), Mallard (27), Zitting Cisticola (1), Crested Lark (2), Lesser Short-toed Lark (2), Spoonbill (1), Calandra Lark (1), Common Sandpiper (2), Reed Warblers singing, Gull-billed Tern (2), White Stork (1), Great Crested Grebe (pr), Greater Flamingo (2), Marsh Harrier (f), Squacco Heron (1) in the roadside channel, Quail calling nearby, Corn Buntings singing, Clouded Yellows numerous, loud frog chorus.  A large circling flock of Black Kites about 2 km distant - probably at least 50+ along with two Griffon Vultures present in the air.
    Marismas at 19.4 km from the start of the gravel track:
    Glossy Ibis (2), Grey Plover (min 44), Squacco Heron (1), Greater Flamingo - a few hundred, Redshank (3), Purple Heron (3), Black-winged Stilt - numerous, Spoonbill (2), Mallard (17), Marsh Harrier (2), Eurasian Coot - fairly common, Moorhen - less common or obvious that Coots, Grey Heron, Collared Pratincole - flock of 22 flew south, Avocet (2), Little Egrets - passing regularly, Whiskered Terns common, Yellow Wagtail (1), Crested Lark (2), Spotless Starling (2), Zitting Cisticola (3), Short-toed Lark (1), Black Kite (6), Stone Curlew (1), Grey Plover (8), Red-rumped Swallow (2), Barn Swallow (1), Little Grebe (2). Marbled Duck - a pair found in a lagoon just metres from the roadside (on the right-hand side) at 19.1 km from the start of the gravel tracks. Observed for a few seconds before disappearing into flooded rushes before later reappearing. Coordinates: 37º 05' 53N  006º 22' 06W. Purple Heron reasonably common in the wetland areas. Red-crested Pochard (9), Gadwall (6), Marsh Harrier (2), Common Pochard (5), Sqaucco Heron (1), Glossy Ibis - first of several at 19.0 km, Ferruginuous Duck (pr) by the roadside at 19.2 km (37º 05' 51N  006º 22' 09W), Whinchat (f) at 20.7 km. A second pair of Marbled Ducks in flight at 22.0 km (37º 04' 34N  006º 23' 00W). Obvious pale plumage instantly distinguishable from any other duck species. Many Eurasian Coots with broods.

    CERRADO GARRIDO CENTRE / CENTRO DE VIVTANTES JOSE ANTONIO VALVERDE
    Arrive to find the gates locked - CLOSED! Due to some annual festival or other. This was a bit of a disaster since we were not available to view the large breeding colony herons, egrets, and ibises. Drove the 10 km east to the junction and back. Stopped to view the heron colony at the centre. Drove the other direction for a few kilometres to observed the feeding flamingos, herons and egrets. Two immature Ospreys about 1 km east of the centre, perched on telegraph poles and flying around the area. Also and immature Peregrine.
    Breeding colony at the centre: Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret and Little Egret with Night Herons close by. Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica) on a 'Parque Nacional' sign - photographed. Two more pairs of Marbled Ducks observed in marshes at the junction before the last turnoff for the Valverde centre - gave excellent views - less shy than previous birds (total of 4prs today). Good views of Squacco Herons by the roadside around the centre including a pair together. Close roadside views of singing Great Reed Warblers. Black-necked Grebe (2), Lapwing (2), Yellow Wagtails common, Greater Flamingo - a few hundred. Additional species noted on the drive back to El Rocio: Short-toed Eagle (1), and Melodious Warbler (1). Black Kite observed over the promenade in Matalascañas.

    MATALASCAÑAS: EVENING SEAWATCH FROM CAMPING ROCIO PLAYA
    1950h>2110h
    1955h Yellow-legged Gull (2) flew east.
    1958h Peregrines (pr) flew overhead and out over the sea for a few hundred metres, rising and tumbling in the sky. Yellow-legged Gulls: 48 east, 5 west.
    2050h Audouin's Gull east.
    Noted in the campsite: Serin, Crested Lark, Black-billed Magpie, Barn Swallow and House Martin.

     


    Thursday 16th May 2002
    DOÑANA > LA SERENA (Andalucia > Extremadura)

    DRIVE FROM MATALASCAÑAS > LA SERNA
    Species noted from the car: Greater Flamingo, Whiskered Tern and Little Egret around El Rocio. Crested Larks numerous. Roller (3) - one observed in bright sunlight flying along parallel with the car over a ploughed field - blue plumage striking. Azure-winged Magpie (3) in Doñana and dehesa in north Andalucia. Woodchat shrike (3), Black Kite (9), Cattle Egret (17), Bee-eater (3), Black-billed Magpie (5), Booted Eagle (1), Montagu's Harrier (6), Lesser Kestrel (6), Common Kestrel (4), White Stork (13) (3 nests), Serin (1), House Sparrow, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallows common. Flock of (40+) Feral Rock Doves at La Serena.

    HOSTAL 'LOS NARANJOS'
    Decided on a bit of comfort on the final night of the trip and checked into a hotel on the edge of La Serena. Hoopoe and Serins singing.

    La SerenaLA SERENA
    1615h. 33.5
    ºC. Drove north along the road signposted 'Embalse de Azutan 29 km' from the Castuera to Cabeza del Buey road (EX-104). The right hand side of this road was more productive with better views. After approximately eight kilometres at 38º 48' 53N 005º 20' 42W: Five Great Bustards, all males, picked out while scanning with the bins - good views through the scope at a range of 300 metres.  Also Calandra Lark, Corn Bunting, Spotless Starling, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, Southern Grey Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear, Stonechat, Raven (2), Montagu's Harrier (2) quartering fields beside the road.  Two adult male Little Bustards in flight over the road at 1910h, both showing inflated black throat patches. Calandra Larks numerous - large looking even at a distance. On the drive back: probably the same Great Bustards moved to 38º 48' 26N 005º 12' 13W, joined by a female. One male displaying, showing a mass of white feathers, tail held high, and head and neck flung back across the body - photographed digital camera through the scope. One male less than 100 metres from the road before moving away about 100 metres more. Seven Calandra Larks singing in the sky here.  

    Great Bustard (Otis tarda)EMBALSE DE ZÚJAR
    1725h> At the small road bridge on the Castuera road:
    Single Black Stork overhead, Cattle Egrets (5 + 14) passing, male Common Kestrel flew out from underneath the bridge, Red-rumped Swallow (4), Blackbird singing, House Sparrows numerous. Little Tern (min 2) first observed flying c150 metres distant then settled on sand/mud shoreline with rocks. Common Sandpiper (1) appeared in the same field of view (in the scope) as the Little Terns. Red-legged Partridges calling. Thekla Lark singing. Three Little Terns in view at 1757h - a third flew over carrying food. Grass Snake observed swimming below. Jackdaw with white primary feathers on its left wing. Spanish Sparrow (10+) in dead scrub by the edge of the reservoir. Rock Sparrow calling.

    CAMPINARIO ROAD
    Steppe here more rocky with the landscape covered in characteristic rock formations:
    Two to three Little Bustards calling at 38
    º 52' 35N   005º 32' 28W.
    Hoopoe singing, larks common, White Stork, Cattle Egret, Mallard, Spotless Starling. Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (2) flying over near the Azutan dam. Black-bellied Sandgrouse (4) in flight at the north end of the EX-103 Castuera road near the Campinario/Embalse junction.  

     


    Friday 17th May 2002
    LA SERENA > EMBALSE DE AROOCAMPO-ALMARAZ > MADRID, Extremadura > Castilla-La Mancha

    HOSTAL LOS NARANJOS
    From the room window, a Hoopoe was heard singing and Crag Martins were 'scoped along the Sierra de Castuera. Serins and Crested Larks heard singing.

    LA SERENA:
    CASTUERA > CABEZA DEL BUEY > EMBALSE DE ZÚJAR ROAD (29Km) > CASTUERA

    Azure-winged Magpie (2) along the Ex-104. Three Little Bustards observed in flight from the long straight road through La Serena from Cabeza del Buey to Embalse del Zujar, 5.6 km after the turn off (from the Castuera to Cabeza del Buey) 38
    º 45' 07N  005º 17' 42W. Also three Black-bellied Sandgrouse observed at this point, first flying past distantly then turning and flying right overhead. Another four Black-bellied Sandgrouse in flight after 12 km at 38º48' 05N  005º19' 55W. A further two unidentified Sandgrouse species in flight along this road. Calandra Larks numerous - always in view along the road and birds constantly singing in the air. A large, unidentified and distant eagle species in flight. Crested Larks common along the roadside. Three Collared Pratincoles over the road, 9.2 km from the turn off. Pair of Stone Curlews flying around the junction at the intersection of the EX-349/Ex-103 just as the rain came on - 38º 52' 36N  005º 27' 16W. Counts from the car: Kestrel sp. (12), Raven (2), Jackdaw - common at Embalse del Zujar, Southern Grey Shrike (3), Barn Swallows - several, Montagu's Harrier (3), Hoopoe (1), White Stork (8), Red-legged Partridge (2), Mallard (1), Cattle Egret (5), Spotless Starlings - common, Corn Buntings - common, Goldfinch (3).
    Embalse del Zujar, 1030h: Little Tern (2), Little Egret (1), Bee-eater (2).

    DRIVE: CASTUERA > VILLANUEVA > DON BENITO > MEDELLIN . N-V
    Counts from the car: Black Kite (24), Montagu's Harrier (1), White Stork (20), White Stork nests (6), Southern Grey Shrike (1), Raven (2), Goldfinch (3), Jackdaw (1), Black-billed Magpie (6), Collared Dove (1), Cattle Egret (6), Barn Swallow - common, Kestrel sp. (2), Black-winged Stilt (125+) on rice fields near the Rio Ortega 38
    º57' 39N  005º 55' 50W.

    DRIVE: N-V > MADRID
    Counts from the car: Black Kite (14), White Stork (10), Cattle Egret (33), Black-billed Magpie (14), Red Kite (1) at Km 238, Azure-winged Magpie (1) at Km 239, Hoopoe (1) at Km 236.1, Crag Martin and Red-rumped Swallow over the Rio Tajo, Wood Pigeon (20+), Gull-billed Tern (5) at Km 90, Spotless Starling - common, Cattle Egret (100+) in a single tree at Km 241 along with Grey Heron and White Stork. Unidentified eagles species: large (5), small (2).

    Embalse Arrocampo-AlmarazEMBALSE ARROCAMPO-ALMARAZ
    1425h>1505h
    Male Little Bittern passed over the road. A Purple Swamp-Hen very close to the road. Another Swamp-Hen found nest building. Southern Grey Shrike chasing sparrows. Great Reed Warbler singing, Zitting Cisticolas displaying, Purple Heron in the reeds, Bee-eater (2) overhead, Cetti's Warblers singing, Black Kite (2) overhead, another Purple Heron overhead, Moorhen (1), Grey Heron (3). Two pylons with a minimum of seven White Stork nests on each. Black Kite (3) and Black-billed Magpie (2) at a 'road kill'. Goldfinch overhead, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Great Crested Grebe (2 prs), another three Moorhens seen. A pair of Purple Swamp-Hens on the left-hand side of the causeway (with the partly submerged pylon). Swallowtail (3+), female Marsh Harrier hunting, two Purple Swamp-Hens fighting, Barn Swallows, another two Purple Herons. Dragonflies abundant - one darter-like species with demoiselle-like bands on all four wings - photographed - identified as Brachythemis leucosticta (in Europe, confined to southern Spain).

    CEPSA PETROL STATION 29Km FROM MADRID
    A final stop on the N-V at 1650h: Crested Lark (1), Greenfinch (2), Serin (1), Wood Pigeon (2) overhead, House Sparrow (2), Tree Sparrow (4+), Black Kite (1), Linnet (2), Swift sp. (2) overhead.

    MADRID AIRPORT
    Flight at 2215h cancelled due to UK air traffic control failure - now 2215h tomorrow.
    Outside at 2115h: House Martin (1), Greenfinch (2), Spotless Starling (3), House Sparrow (3), Swift sp. (6).

     


    Saturday 18th May 2002
    MADRID AIRPORT

    MADRID AIRPORT
    1200h: Black-billed Magpie, Blackbird, House Martin, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Swift sp., Pierid sp.
    1440h: Went outside for some fresh air/sun to a grassy bank at the taxi rank at terminal 1. Several Small Whites flying and Brown Argus nectaring on a tiny purple flower in short turf. Departure lounge (B28) 2100h: Pallid Swift (2), House Martin (1), Spotless Starling (4), Black-billed Magpie (1), House Sparrow (5), Common Swift (8) and White Wagtail (1). Last two Swifts at 2150h.  

     

     

     

     


    SPECIES LIST - EXTREMADURA & ANDALUCIA - SPAIN - 2002

    1.        Black-necked Grebe  Podiceps nigricolis
    2.        Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis
    3.        Great Crested Grebe  Podiceps cristatus
    4.        Cory's Shearwater  Calonectris diomedea
    5.        Mediterranean Shearwater  Puffinus yelkouan
    6.        Storm Petrel  Hydrobates pelagicus
    7.        Gannet  Morus bassanus
    8.        Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo
    9.        Squacco Heron  Ardeola ralloides
    10.      Little Bittern  Ixobrychus minutus
    11.      Night Heron  Nycticorax nycticorax
    12.      Little Egret  Egretta garzetta
    13.      Cattle Egret  Bubulcus ibis
    14.      Spoonbill  Platalea leucorodia
    15.      Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea
    16.      Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea
    17.      White Stork  Ciconia ciconia
    18.      Black Stork  Ciconia nigra
    19.      Greater Flamingo  Phoenicopterus ruber
    20.      Glossy Ibis  Plegadis falcinellus
    21.      Greylag Goose  Anser anser
    22.      Wigeon  Anas penelope
    23.      Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos
    24.      Gadwall  Anas strepera
    25.      Marbled Duck  Marmaronetta angustirostris
    26.      Pochard  Aythya ferina
    27.      Red-crested Pochard  Netta rufina
    28.      Ferruginous Duck  Aythya nyroca
    29.      White-headed Duck  Oxyura leucocephala
    30.      Griffon Vulture  Gyps fulvus
    31.      Black Vulture  Aegypius monachus
    32.      Egyptian Vulture  Neophron percnopterus
    33.      Red Kite  Milvus milvus
    34.      Black Kite  Milvus migrans
    35.      Marsh Harrier  Circus aeruginosus
    36.      Montagu's Harrier  Circus pygargus
    37.      Honey Buzzard  Pernis apivorus
    38.      Common Buzzard  Buteo buteo
    39.      Booted Eagle  Hieraaetus pennatus
    40.      Bonelli's Eagle  Hieraaetus fasciatus
    41.      Osprey  Pandion haliaetus
    42.      Short-toed Eagle  Circaetus gallicus
    43.      Spanish Imperial Eagle  Aquila adalberti
    44.      Lesser Kestrel  Falco naumanni
    45.      Kestrel  Falco tinninculus
    46.      Peregrine  Falco peregrinus
    47.      Black-winged Kite  Elanus caeruleus
    48.      Pheasant  Phasianus colchicus
    49.      Red-legged Partridge  Alectoris rufa
    50.      Quail  Coturnix coturnix
    51.      Coot  Fulica atra
    52.      Crested Coot  Fulica cristata
    53.      Purple Swamp-hen  Porphyrio porphyrio
    54.      Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus
    55.      Great Bustard  Otis tarda
    56.      Little Bustard  Tetrax tetrax
    57.      Stone Curlew  Burhinus oedicnemus
    58.      Collared Pratincole  Glareola pratincola
    59.      Black-winged Stilt  Himantopus himantopus
    60.      Avocet  Recurvirostra avosetta
    61.      Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula
    62.      Kentish Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus  
    63.      Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius
    64.      Sanderling  Calidris alba   
    65.      Little Stint  Calidris minuta
    66.      Dunlin  Calidris alpina
    67.      Knot  Calidris canutus
    68.      Common Sandpiper  Actitis hypoleucos
    69.      Green Sandpiper  Tringa ochropus
    70.      Redshank  Tringa totanus
    71.      Greenshank  Tringa nebularia
    72.      Ruff  Philomachus pugnax
    73.      Bar-tailed Godwit  Limosa lapponica
    74.      Black-tailed Godwit  Limosa limosa
    75.      Golden Plover  Pluvialis apricaria
    76.      Grey Plover  Pluvialis squatarola
    77.      Lapwing  Vanellus vanellus
    78.      Whimbrel  Numenius phaeopus
    79.      Great Skua  Stercorarius skua
    80.      Arctic Skua  Stercorarius parasiticus
    81.      Black-headed Gull  Larus ridibundus
    82.      Slender-billed Gull  Larus genei
    83       Audouin's Gull  Larus audouinii
    84.      Yellow-legged Gull  Larus cachinnans
    85.      Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus
    86.      Gull-billed Tern  Sterna nilotica
    87.      Sandwich Tern  Sterna sandvicensis
    88.      Black Tern  Childonias niger
    89.      Whiskered Tern  Childonias hybridus
    90.      Little Tern  Sterna albifrons
    91.      Black-bellied Sandgrouse  Pterocles orientalis
    92.      Pin-tailed Sandgrouse  Ptercles alchata
    93.      (Feral) Rock Dove  Columba livia (domest.)
    94.      Wood Pigeon  Columba palumbus
    95.      Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto
    96.      Turtle Dove  Streptopelia turtur
    97.      Cuckoo  Cuclus canorus
    98.      Great Spotted Cuckoo  Clamator glandarius
    99.      Scops Owl  Otus scops
    100.    Little Owl  Athene noctua
    101.    Eagle Owl  Bubo bubo
    102.    Alpine Swift  Apus melba
    103.    Common Swift  Apus apus
    104.    Pallid Swift  Apus pallidus
    105.    Bee-eater  Merops apiaster
    106.    Roller  Coracius garrulus
    107.    Hoopoe  Upupa epops
    108.    Great Spotted Woodpecker  Dendrocopus major
    109.    Woodlark  Lullula arborea
    110.    Lesser Short-toed Lark  Calandrella rufecens
    111.    Short-toed Lark  Calandrella brachydactyla
    112.    Crested Lark  Galerida cristata
    113.    Thekla Lark  Galerida theklae
    114.    Calandra Lark  Melanocorypha calandra
    115.    Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris
    116.    Sand Martin  Riparia riparia
    117.    Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
    118.    Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
    119.    House Martin  Delichon urbica
    120.    Tawny Pipit  Anthus campestris
    121.    Grey Wagtail  Motacilla cinerea
    122.    Yellow Wagtail  Motacilla flava iberiae
    123.    White Wagtail  Motacilla alba alba
    124.    Dunnock  Prunella modularis
    125.    Wren  Trogllodytes troglodytes
    126.    Robin  Erithacus rubecula
    127.    Nightingale  Luscinia megarhynchos
    128.    Bluethroat  Luscinia svecica
    129.    Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros
    130.    Whinchat  Saxicola rubetra
    131.    Stonechat  Saxicola torquata
    132.    Black-eared Wheatear  Oenanthe hispanica hispanica
    133.    Black Wheatear  Oenanthe leucura
    134.    Rock Thrush  Monticola saxatilis
    135.    Blue Rock Thrush  Monticola soliarius
    136.    Blackbird  Turdus merula
    137.    Mistle Thrush  Turdus pilaris
    138.    Savi's Warbler  Locustella luscinioides
    139.    Cetti's Warbler  Cettia cetti
    140.    Reed Warbler  Acrocehpalus scirpaceus
    141.    Great Reed Warbler  Acrocephalus arundinaceus
    142.    Western Bonelli's Warbler  Phylloscopus bonelli
    143.    Melodious Warbler  Hippolais polyglotta
    144.    Whitethroat  Sylvia communis
    145.    Subalpine Warbler  Sylvia cantillans
    146.    Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala
    147.    Dartford Warbler  Sylvia undata
    148.    Zitting Cisticola  Cisticola juncidis
    149.    Orphean Warbler  Sylvia hortensis
    150.    Blackcap  Sylvia atricapilla
    151.    Firecrest  Regulus ignicapillus
    152.    Spotted Flycatcher  Muscicapa striata
    153.    Pied Flycatcher  Ficedula hypoleuca
    154.    Long-tailed Tit  Aegithalos caudatus
    155.    Crested Tit  Parus cristatus
    156.    Blue Tit  Parus caeruleus
    157.    Great Tit  Parus major
    158.    Short-toed Treecreeper  Certhia brachydactyla
    159.    Nuthatch  Sitta europaea
    160.    Southern Grey Shrike  Lanius meridionalis
    161.    Woodchat Shrike  Lanius senator
    162.    Spotless Starling  Sturnus unicolor
    163.    Golden Oriole  Oriolus oriolus
    164.    Jay  Garrulus glandarius
    165.    Black-billed Magpie  Pica pica
    166.    Azure-winged Magpie  Cyanopica cyanus
    167.    Red-billed Chough  Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
    168.    Jackdaw  Corvus monedula
    169.    Raven  Corvus corax
    170.    Carrion Crow Corvus corone
    171.    House Sparrow  Passer domesticus
    172.    Tree Sparrow  Passer montanus
    173.    Spanish Sparrow  Passer hisaniolensis
    174.    Rock Sparrow  Petronia petronia
    175.    Hawfinch  Coccothraustes coccothraustes
    176.    Chaffinch  Fringilla coelebs
    177.    Greenfinch  Carduelis chloris
    178.    Serin  Serinus serinus
    179.    Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis
    180.    Linnet  Carduelis cannabina
    181.    Corn Bunting  Miliaria calandra
    182.    Ortolan Bunting  Emberiza hortulana
    183.    Cirl Bunting  Emberiza cirlus
    184.    Rock Bunting  Emberiza cia

     

Fraser's Birding Website · fssbirding.org.uk

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