Extremadura Round Up Part 2



A different world awaited us in Extremadura the next day though: blue sky, bright sunshine and warm temperatures. Now this was more like it! There was only one place to go on a day like this: Monfragüe National Park. We hoped that all those soaring birds that had been kept grounded for the past few days would be making up for lost time today, and we weren’t disappointed.

Pena Falcon Rock both sides

Iconic Pena Falcon Rock



We screeched to a halt and jumped out the minibus as a Spanish Imperial Eagle flew overhead and perched up on a rock in full scope view, Griffon and Black Vultures poured off the famous Peña Falcon rock, while a pair of Peregrine Falcons screamed as they chased over the cliffs. Crag Martins flew to and fro across the cliff face while Red-rumped Swallows, Barn Swallows and House Martins hawked for insects. Two pairs of Egyptian Vultures really showed off to their best advantage against the bright blue sky while a pair of Black Storks circled right over our heads.

Egyptian Vulture Mar 2013

Great looks at Egyptian Vulture



Numerous Southern Grey and Woodchat Shrikes perched on the tops of bushes, Serins serenaded us with their tinkling song, Iberian Magpies swooped and scattered amongst the cork oaks, Hoopoes hoop-hooped from trees, and Corn Buntings kept up a continuous soundtrack of jangling keys all day long. Spring really had sprung!

Walking in wildflowers

A walk on the wild side!



It was even warm enough to sit outside the bar and enjoy a delicious tapas lunch while we watched Booted Eagles soar overhead and a Woodlark sang ‘tweedle-deedle-deedle’ as it performed its descending display flight. This was more like it!

Tapas lunch in the sunshine

You can't beat a tapas lunch in the sunshine!



We returned to our base by driving across the plains once more and were amazed to see another dark Montagu’s Harrier, surely the same bird? We also watched a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Black Kite, which looked tiny in comparison.

Montagus Harrier dark

Dark Montagu's Harrier



Our final day dawned, and we said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts, Martin and Claudia Kelsey. It was hard to leave their lovely hotel, Casa Rural El Recuerdo, where we’d been made so welcome, but all good things come to an end and we had to drive back to the airport. We stopped on the way to do some birding at an area of wetlands.

Hoopoe 1 April 2015

You can't go wrong with a good Hoopoe!



Savi’s Warbler was sitting high on a reed and reeling away without pausing for breath, Purple Herons lurked amongst the reeds, just their heads and necks visible. A pair of Western Swamphens played tug-of-war with a reed shoot and a male Little Bittern flew across the tops of the reeds before plunging out of sight into the depths of the reedbeds. Even on the drive back to the airport we continued to see birds – Black Kites, Red Kites, Griffon Vultures, Black Vultures, Booted Eagles, Short-toed Snake Eagles, White Storks on nests, and a flock of Common Starlings performing a mini-murmuration just off the Madrid ring-road.

Serin

Serin tinkling away, such a happy sound!



We totted up the bird list as we sat in the departure lounge waiting for our flight home – 136 species in just six days, and two of those were travel days! It just goes to prove how wonderful a birdwatching destination Spain is, and how even when the weather doesn’t perform according to plan, the exciting birding doesn’t stop.

Casa Rural Martins house 2

El Recuerdo, our base during our Birdwatching Trip



Thanks very much for Martin and Claudia Kelsey of Casa Rural El Recuerdo http://www.birdingextremadura.com/web/inicio.htm for looking after us so well and for sharing great birds with us and our group. A huge thanks to Adrian and Ruth S, Barbara, Yvonne, Noreen and Chris for being such troupers by continuing birdwatching so cheerfully despite the ‘exceptional’ weather conditions and for making the trip such fun. We hope we can share more great birding moments with you in the future.

Birding coffee stop

Enjoying a coffee stop, and birds of course!



If you'd like to join us as we look for exciting birds in the UK and further afield, please take a look at our daytrips and longer tours on our Tours page. We look forward to sharing great birds with you soon!

All photographs taken by us on our tours with a bridge camera!





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