A Bird Filled Day With Our Lovely Friend Martin Wild Spain 29 April 2022




We enjoyed seeing Hoopoes nearly every day on our "Wild Spain" Custom Tour.



This morning we headed south from Trujillo and met up with our friend, and local expert bird guide, Martin Kelsey to enjoy a day exploring some his favourite areas of Extremadura.

Our first stop was only a few minutes from where we met, a narrow track complete with tongue orchids a new species for us led to cliff face. What a surprise Martin had for us, on the cliff were two well grown Eagle Owl chicks! Wow! What a perfect start to the day. We kept a good distance from the ledge where the birds were sunning themselves in the warmth of the early sun. Through the telescopes we had frame filling views of these big owl chicks and their beautiful yellow eyes that blinked slowly in the sunshine. As we watched we realised that there was something on the edge of the nest, a dead hedgehog! We hadn’t considered that owls would eat hedgehogs, but Martin told us that it does occur with Eagle Owls. We crept away leaving these wonderful birds to doze in the sun.

A short trip south and we were out on the steppe again watching one of the birds of this very special region of Spain – Great Bustards. A gang of huge males strutted through the carpets of wildflowers in the sunshine just how we imagined them before the trip. Calandra Larks sang above us, raptors soared above us, Corn Buntings sang from fence posts all around us and “zit, zit” calls of Zitting Cisticolas was almost constant. It was just perfect and uplifting a joy to be out in this gorgeous place with like-minded people celebrating nature.


Calandra Larks showed off on the flower carpeted steppes - best views we have ever enjoyed.



Further across the rolling steppe Martin showed us a displaying male Little Bustard and much closer than our previous encounter and again the telescopes allowed super views. The “Newcastle United fan” of the bird world complete with his black and white “scarf” blew raspberry after raspberry as he threw his back proclaiming this steppe was occupied.

European Bee-eaters whizzed about like tiny rainbow lighting up the grasslands as Hoopoes flit along in front of us and Griffon Vultures soared effortlessly above.

On the very first day of our “Wild Spain” adventure we seen a Black-winged Kite another of “the” birds to see here but the views were distant, we had asked Martin could he help to upgrade our kite experience. Of course, Martin knew just the place and we made that our next stop. An area of open cork oak woodland with flower meadows but sadly no Black-winged Kites. We looked further along the track, enjoying superb views of European Bee-eaters but no kites. Back to the first stop and a Great Spotted Cuckoo flew past but no kites. It was looking like a bust and we were about to leave when Martin called “Got one!” whew! There half hidden in the top of one of the oaks was a beautiful Black-winged Kite. Panic as we got the bird in the scopes and everyone got a good look. Then another of these diminutive raptors flew in, and then another! We now had three Black-winged Kites showing off in the sunshine just fantastic! Thank you again Martin.

Next Martin guided around the maze of dirt tracks across an area of rice fields. These fields, when wet, attract migrant waders, aka shorebirds and today we found a few. Little Ringed and Common Ringed Plovers, a flighty Wood Sandpiper, a Greenshank and a Whimbrel. As we watched the waders they took flight in panic and we realised that we were not the only ones to have spotted these migrant birds. A Peregrine Falcon we stooping at the wet field and “locked-on” to the Whimbrel! Both birds tore across the blue sky and we held our breath as the falcon gained on the wader. Both birds were lost to view before we could see the conclusion of the chase but a few minutes later the Whimbrel returned to the field apparently unharmed.

Lunch was next on the agenda and we enjoyed a wonderful meal at a bar not far from the rice fields where we were met by lovely friendly locals, another joy of this special part of “Wild Spain”.

After a long and delicious lunch, taken during the hottest part of the day we headed north to a reservoir where the trees provided welcome shade. So many birds here and so many wildflowers too stunning in the glorious sunshine. We enjoyed prolonged great views of two Great Reed Warblers having a “sing-off” in the reeds, Common Kingfisher added a splash of colour, Purple Herons, so many Cattle Egrets, singing Nightingales, three Little Stints, more Bee-eaters more raptors just fantastic birding.

All to soon it was time to head back towards Trujillo and drop Martin off back at his place on route. But the day was not over, Trujillo was hosting the National Cheese Festival! The whole of the huge main square was given over to stalls with cheeses from every part of Spain – heaven! We wandered around and took in the sights, smells and tastes before enjoying a wonderful meal at a stunning restaurant that Steve had found on an earlier wander around the town. The food was amazing and what a lovely way to round off such a fantastic day. Huge thanks to Martin for his great company and sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge of Extremadura and its wonderful wildlife.

Another wonderful day on our custom-made Wild Spain tour! We would love to arrange a custom Birdwatching Trips tour for you or you and a small group, maximum of six guests, anywhere you would love to enjoy great birds. Just drop us a line here and we can do the rest…

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We have run our special custom tours to many destinations here in the UK and overseas including Spain, Finland, Borneo, Ecuador, South Africa so just ask us and we can help.





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