Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spain - Pyrenees to Barcelona - Another Adventure Over!

Sunday turned out to be a very pleasant day with much of the snow in Jaca and surrounding lowlands disappearing overnight. The plan for the day was to visit the areas that were previously snowbound and if conditions had improved then a second visit was on the cards.

The raptors were definitely taking advantage of the conditions and had us with eyes about between two Pyrenees peaks. Lammergeier were to be the days prize with a couple of adults making infrequent but spectacular appearances. I never tire of seeing this species and Ed was very excited to add this species to his life list. Short Toed Eagle, Migrating Kites, Egyptian Vulture, corvids including Chough kept us busy during a very impressive vigil!

Amongst our other stops we made two visits to the Astun Ski resort first thing and last thing before returning to Jaca . The conditions had bought out every skier this side of the Pyrenees with coaches and cars stacked everywhere there was space. There were a few more birds and an Alpine Accentor was spied by Ed but sadly I did not pick it up as it flew across the car-park only getting a rear end view of the bird as it flew up the slopes. Fortunately the place was almost deserted when we returned and another Alpine Accentor obliged with a fly past! Whew!
Water Pipit and Dipper were added to my trip list and a small group of Chamois deer that had been forced down from the top of the slopes to graze. There was certainly more available grazing area at the end of the day.
The Monastery produced a quite surprising the number of birds that were foraging in the pines. Crossbill, Coal Tit, Firecrest and a host of other woodland species were busy as the snow fell from the trees. There was also a steady flow of Vultures with a Goshawk the pick of the raptors that joined then. Another site for Citril Finch was checked but amongst regular species Marsh Warbler was seen and a Black Woodpecker heard. A Garden Warbler was also very vocal further down the slopes.

Monday was essentially a travel day back to Barcelona but any chance of a birding stop before the city was thwarted by sometimes torrential rain. We did however make a stop at a known site for  Red Billed Leiothrix which were heard and then seen in flight over a small pond.

My Spanish journey is now complete with approximately seven thousand kilometres covered of this spectacular country. Ed continues his Spanish adventure before flying to Morocco. I think we will both be sleeping well tonight enabling me to dream of my next adventure! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Spain - Pyrenees - Chuffed!

Having witness a snowfall in Madrid the night before I flew to Barcelona I wondered if the weather would be favourable in the Pyrenees for my short stay. I was meeting fellow Surrey Birder Ed Stubbs in Barcelona prior to his birthday celebrations with his girlfriend. My flight to Barcelona was trouble free which unfortunately for Ed was not the case with a couple of hours delay. A supply run, bite to eat and shop in Huesca en route to Jaca had us set for the days ahead.

We made good time to our accommodation in Jaca and the lower slopes were clear of snow. However when we woke this morning there had been about an inch of snow. Our first stop was to be at the Astun Ski Centre with the prospect of Snowfich, Alpine Accentor and Alpine Chough.
The slopes were covered in snow and the snowploughs were busy clearing the roads for the avalanche of skiers that were to later descend onto the slopes! Alpine Chough was the only species of the targeted three to fall this morning but conditions were hardly ideal.
The rest of the day was used to check other sites some of which were inaccessible due to the inclement weather ranging from full on blizzard like snow to rain in the Hecho Valley. We did however see Cirl Bunting along a track to an aerodrome a few Black Redstart, Stonechat, and a tree that contained several Black Kite and a lone Red Kite.

An Egyptian Vulture and a group of Griffon Vulture were seen at an old Eagle Owl site. But the sighting of the day was not a bird but a Wild Cat that was making its way along the road as we approached the aforementioned site.

The day was a tough one but the snow appears to be melting at a rate of knots. We will be out again tomorrow and hope to hit a few more targets!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Spain - Sierra de Andujar - Rolling Hills!

I have spent the last couple of days exploring Sierra de Andujar which is probably the best place to see the Iberian Lynx. I did not see one myself but there were a few people out looking. My focus was getting photos of the Iberian Green Woodpecker which has won the award of being the most difficult bird to photograph.

I have seen plenty of this species and attempted stake outs in a couple of spots I have regularly heard and/or seen them. But have failed to capture the moment on camera which is a pity as this is considered a separate species from Green Woodpecker and a new bird for me.

During my travels other species have been a bit more obliging Hoopoe being a bird I never tire of seeing. They are fairly regular in the area but tend to spook easily at an approaching car.

A couple of Woodchat Shrike were using a fence stake bordering a grazing field to hunt from. They were periodically joined by other passerines during my vigil.

There is a short trail at Embalse de Jandula where I saw Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Siskin and House Sparrow but no Rock Sparrow. The latter I have not seen in the area despite checking all flocks of Sparrow.

There are plenty of deer roaming around the hills which seem to roll on forever. A very picturesque setting in which Griffon and Cinereous Vulture are regular and the odd Eagle that passes through the hills.

Tomorrow I have a long drive back to Madrid where I will catch a flight to Barcelona after a nights rest!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Spain - Donana National Park - Savi's gives itself up!

I spent the day closer to my base looking around the Madre de Las Marismas which includes El Rocio reserve. The weather was calm and sunny with a breeze later on in the day. This was perfect conditions for Savi’s Warbler who was heard in every patch of reed on El Rocio. The difficult part was going to be photographing one!

The hides at El Rocio are well placed and I methodically visited each one to see if any new migrants had arrived since my last visit. The first of which was a Woodchat Shrike perched on top of a small tree.

Next up from the same hide were some Long tailed Tit that were playing a game with a feather taking turns to catch it in their beaks then letting it fall for the next bird to catch. Many of the birds on this part of Donana have rings including the White Stork and Glossy Ibis.

I placed myself in the hide with the closest clump of reed and set my stall up for a stake out. This would take several hours to achieve my objective. This species was a life bird for me and was therefore worth the time spent on it. The only down side was the pics of the bird reeling its heart out were blurred. I was obviously still shaking from having seen a bird so close.

During this time I added Common Waxbill to my tally which I was not expecting but was grateful for the brief appearance of a couple of birds in the reeds.

I spent the afternoon having firstly jet washed the car for two euro (very reasonable!!) watching the flooded area in front of my hotel. This gave the car time to dry off before it was subjected to sandsville and the mass of people that had arrived for the weekend madness. 

There were numerous ducks, Greylag Goose that had successfully bred with eight tiny goslings. Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret and Spoonbill were also well represented. The Greater Flamingo had moved but were still within scope range. Hirundines were not so prevalent but there were Red Rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Pallid Swift.

Tomorrow is my last day in Donana and I have yet to decide where I will venture to. I have not found Marbled Duck or Red Knobbed Coot and from speaking to other birders they have not been seen outside the rehabilitation area. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Spain - Donana and Everywhere - WIld Duck Chase!

I have spent the last couple of days on a wild duck hunt Marbled Teal to be exact with Red-Knobbed Coot as a fall back. I have not been successful on either front despite visiting several sites and caking the car in dust and all sorts!

At Brazo del Este today I added Collared Pratincole, Caspian Tern (a favourite of mine), Great Reed Warbler and Ruff. I have heard Savi’s Warbler but have failed to see one despite a stake out. Life birds need to be seen to go on my list!

Along the way I have seen thousands of ducks and a host of other species including two Owls Tawny and Short Eared (That’s how late I’m staying out). Yesterday evening was very calm which gave me a good opportunity to sift through the ducks and coots. I took advantage of the Herons that had put themselves on sentry duty on fence posts. The Squacco at Donana was a favourite. I saw Common Crane on the move and a chirpy and visual Reed Warbler. Shame the Savi’s does not oblige in the same way!

I then bumped into a group of Black Crowned Night Heron further down the track. Black Kites are everywhere not sight or sound of Red unlike earlier in the week. The number of birds never ceases to fail to amaze me. I am glad I don’t have to survey this lot!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Spain - Donana National Park - White Headed Duck

I set out at ridiculous o clock this morning with one species in mind the White Headed Duck. I particularly wanted to see this species not only because it was a duck, but it is at the centre of a highly controversial subject which has resulted in the Ruddy Duck being almost eradicated from the UK (some males still exist). Fears of hybridisation with the White Headed Duck threatening its existence is the heart of the matter!

I had a few places to visit but my initial drive was over two hours away south of Seville and I definitely wanted to miss the crazy rush hour through Seville. There were Black kites along the later parts of the route in groups of up to forty birds flying low and then thermalling!

The first site I visited was a group of pits Complejo Endorreico de Espera which were well signposted from Espera. The track down to Laguna Hondilla was a bit tricky but from then on it was a 1000m walk to the two other lagoons Salada and Dulce de la Zorrilla. The walk was very pleasant with a couple of hides which had not been maintained for a while. There were plenty of ducks on the lagoons but sadly no White Headed.

My next stop was at the Salinas de Bonanza between Sanlucar and Algaida. I met a couple from the UK and spent some time birding along the vast complex of salt pans. The hi-light were two Osprey one who more successful at catching lunch than the other! 

Mind you the Yellow Legged Gulls had something to say about their presence chasing one Osprey off the salt pans! Black Headed and Slender Billed Gull were also represented.

There were very few duck on the pans Shelduck, Shoveler and Mallard were seen in double figures but no White Headed who winter in the area. There were also plenty of shorebirds Redshank, Dunlin, Sanderling, Black Winged Stilt and Avocet There was an abandoned gravel pit at the far end of La Algaida which was within Donana National Park that may appeal more to this species. The afternoon was moving on so I decided to take a look before I made my journey back to El Rocio which is only some 50k away as the crow flies!

The hide was 100m from the car-park and straight away amongst some fifteen or so Garganey was a couple of male White-Headed Duck flanked by females. Fantastic! I snapped away although the birds were a fair distance away and then scanned the pit for Ferruginous Duck amongst the Pochard and maybe a Marbled Duck. I was not successful on either but did spy some Black Crowned Night Heron in a tree overhanging the lagoon.

Not a bad end to another day. I am half way through my trip already!!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Spain - Donana El Rocio - Creeping around!

Showers were forecast for today so I opted for the stay close to home option where I could bird from my hotel room window if the weather got too bad. I took a walk to El Rocio visitor centre and took their boardwalk trail via a series of hides.

My target species for the day was Short-toed Treecreeper that are known to frequent the pines throughout this part of the reserve. This species was not that easy to find probably due to the gloomy wet weather.

I had reached a clearing in the pines where younger trees were more scattered I checked the hide which overlooked the marsh and then as I was walking back along the boardwalk I heard its clear note piping call. Bingo! The bird was not that difficult to locate flying from the mid-point of one pine landing near the bottom of another. The camera was put to work before I moved on and had a second bird.

The two were communicating but did not join forces or squabble over territory. The song was right for Short-toed The first bird had the white tips to the primaries and I know there is alot of variation between this and the E and W races of Treecreeper but having photographed the second bird it appeared to have a longer hind-claw (below). 
I took as many pictures as I could before both birds drifted off into more dense cover so that I could look at the features more closely on my laptop. The Eurasian Treecreeper is not supposed to be this far south and the call for both was perfect for Short-toed but it had me puzzled all the same!!

The rain started to fall and I realized I had dropped my rain poncho. I retraced my steps and asked a school group if they had seen it. This caused amusement within this group as they had sussed I was not Spanish and it was a guessing game as to where I came from. The teachers were helpful but weren’t too impressed with the disruption I had caused! I found the poncho where I had crossed the road and ducked under a barrier! A relief as this goes everywhere with me!

Spain - Donana National Park - Birds everywhere!

Sunday was a travel day although it did not take too long to get to El Rocio Donana. I arrived at the hotel which is situated in an old style American Western setting including sand but instead of horses tied up outside the saloon there were cars and people everywhere. The place was rocking with local people and this happens every Sunday! The rest of the week the village is almost a ghost town with fabulous views overlooking a lagoon filled with birds including Flamingo and Black Winged Stilt.

Monday I set out early making my way through Donana National Park to Jose Antonio Valverde visitor centre where I could get hold of maps and information on the best places to see birds! In 1957 Jose Valverde brothers were responsible for convincing the Spanish government to protect the area “For the sake of mankind” as the area was a vital stop off point for migrating birds. The rest speaks for itself there were birds everywhere.

Hirundines filled the skies wherever I went and at this rate it won’t be long before they reach the shores of the UK. The afternoon saw a non-stop procession of Swift filling the skies. They were clearly on a mission to get somewhere! What an incredible sight!

I have never seen so many ducks, the majority were Shoveler with pockets of Teal, Red Crested Pochard were present in groups of forty plus. I found a few Pintail and Mallard were under every clump of reed!

Glossy Ibis were also a common sight moving between each feeding area in small groups. White stork were nesting on every pylon and a couple of Black Stork were found in a field.

 There must have been around ten thousand Greater Flamingos. I sat and admired the activity of a small group of birds head waving whilst performing a huddled procession which was totally ignored by the remaining thousands of birds most of whom were resting!

There were a few gulls I happened upon a Whiskered Tern which happily did a fly past for the camera!

A Yellow Wagtail race iberia chirped away during short flights between the fence and the submerged foliage.

Shorebirds filled the channels with over two hundred Green Sandpipers in one place, small groups of Greenshank, Redshank and an abundance of Black Winged Stilt. I’m certain I missed some species as my telescope was at full range with a head on wind to contend with at times. Avocet were the last on this list.

Finding my two target birds Marbled Duck and Red Knobbed Coot proved to be beyond my grasp for today anyway! What an amazing place and migration has not got up to full speed yet! Roll on tomorrow and the return of Wifi woo hoo!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Spain - Extremadura - Saludo a las aves de Extremadura!

Today I took on the Thekla challenge so I took myself off to an area which had hills ploughed fields, rocks, orchards and anything else the books say is Thekla country. The road to Campo Lugar looked a good prospect and was about a twenty min drive from Trujillo.
I stopped in every area where there were larks present and all potential candidates were photographed. I happened across a male Wheatear in the process. Both Crested (below) and Thekla (above) were present in some places which meant I had to be on my game in the photo department.

The result after several hours searching was I photographed both species and finally nailed Thekla Lark which is smaller and has thicker clearer black striping on the breast. The bill is shorter with no curve in the upper mandible.

Having achieved my goal I decided to find a nice spot on a side road and have lunch and chillax for a couple of hours. I picked a spot near a cattle watering hole which had White Stork, Cuckoo, Zitting Cisticola and the larks to keep me company. Overhead I was entertained by Red and Black Kite, and Raven.

My journey in Extremadura has come to an end having recorded just short of one hunded and ten species. Tomorrow I head for Seville and Donana where I hope to continue this amazing journey and see a few birds along the way!

Thanks Extremadura this has been a wonderful experience!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Spain - Caceres Plains To Las Villuercas - Black Bellied Sandgrouse!!

I was out on the plains at first light with a mission to complete. I will leave no road unturned until I find Black-bellied Sandgrouse! I sat in a hide for the first hour where I had company in Barn Swallow that were prospecting for a nest site. It will get busier in here as the months roll on guys!
This area is on the Trujillo Caceres plain border and an area I had not spent a great deal of time in. I saw a group of Little Bustard a pair of Hen Harrier and a stack of gulls that were beyond scope range. I then moved further up the plain on the rough road in the hope of connecting with Sandgrouse.

True to form the Pin-tailed were the first to give themselves up so I decided to set my stall up to see if other Sandgrouse joined them. There was a lot of movement of single birds above the feeding area and after about twenty minutes I thought I heard a bubbling call and two birds were circling. I could not get a good view and the birds set down on the plain. The next five minutes were spent questioning what had happened but one thing was for sure I was staying put!

Forty minutes later the Pin-tailed were moving about again but there were four birds that were not calling flying in low from behind me. Binos, camera, action, in a very quick order. Yes at last Black-bellied Sandgrouse! Woo Hoo!
After a celebratory breakfast I moved on to Delietosa and Las Villuercas areas to look for Thekla Lark. This species breeds at higher levels than Crested Lark and the habitat of mountain ridges with valleys and mid level fields and orchards fitted the bill nicely. 

I drove a route described in Where to Watch Birds in Spain. The 100 Best Sites by Montero, Juana and Barrio. This is a very useful guide with route maps and lists of expected species for all seasons. I don’t think Thekla Lark have read it! I recorded Mistle Thrush and Short-toed Eagle en route.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Extremadura and Thekla Lark I’m coming after you!!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Spain - Monfrague NP - Monfrague strikes again!

I think at times one can try too hard to see certain species. You have to put yourself in the right habitat and at the right time of year to maximise the opportunity of connecting. Prior knowledge of a species presence also narrows the field down and Spain is a massive playing field!!

I have failed in the past to see Black-bellied Sandgrouse on Lanzarote and with two more days in Extremadura, Spain is heading the same way. I have seen large groups of Pin Tailed Sandgrouse and I thought this would be the trickier species to find. I must add that two hotspots for Black-bellied have been put out of bounds due to road closures! Perhaps I am trying too hard!!

I have also been seeking out Bonelli’s Eagle working on the same principles and it took a moment of luck or skill which had me turning into the car park at Monfrague Castle to seek refuge out of the piping hot sun. I saw an Egyptian Vulture and then the first of two Bonelli’s which appeared to be using the rock face as a resting point.

Earlier on in the day I stopped at the Monfrague Picnic site and had lunch whilst keeping an eye out for any eagle that moved. Whilst scanning the rock face for Bonelli’s Eagle I spied a couple of Black Stork on a small ledge. During this vigil I saw a Peregrine Falcon that joined the wheeling Vultures. I think they must have thought I was their lunch!

My other sightings of note on the Trujillo Plains were Great Spotted Cuckoo whom I flushed from the roadside as I approached in the car. A pool further along produced a couple of male Garganey, Teal and an adult Yellow Legged Gull.

The signs are that some of the summer visitors are arriving which makes me wonder if I should return to Madrid via Extremadura towards the end of the month!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Spain - Saucedilla - Being Savi in the Swamp!

I spent the day at Saucedilla which is a large area of wetland NE of Trujillo. The reserve has six hides overlooking the area all you have to do is register at the information centre and a key for the hides is issued. A key drop box is provided for people who remain on the reserve after the centre closes (It was still open at 6pm tonight).

I arrived at first light 0730hrs and the whole area was fog bound. I took a walk down to hide one noting a Black-winged Stilt that had been forced down by the fog. I used the fog as cover to skulk about to watch the Purple Swamphen moving between the reeds. I heard several Savi’s Warblers reeling away but could not see any of the birds. I moved down the track and saw Red-rumped Swallow sat on the top of a fence.

More Swamphen were seen along with Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Robin, larks and hirundines. I walked beyond hide two before I made my way back to the beginning of the route.

The information centre opened around 0900hrs and I obtained a key for the hides. Ths Savi’s had stopped reeling at around 1000hrs this coincided with the sun completing its work clearing the fog. I hoped to get better pictures of the birds but of course they were not so keen to walk out in the open.

Post fog I recorded Water Rail, Reed bunting, Gadwall and Snipe. Great White Egret at hide two and five. Black Redstart and Marsh Harrier at hide four. If I had not been such an elephant exiting the hide I would surely have got pictures of the redstart which was perched on top of the gate to the hide.

I spent the last couple of hours listening out for Savi’s but they were not heard again. A life bird that has slipped the net for now!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Spain - La Serena to Vegas Altas - I've never Avadavat!!

Monday I drove into Caceres and bought supplies and then I went in search of Bonelli’s Eagle and Black Shouldered Kite. I went to known sites and had no luck with either. My afternoon’s efforts added Marsh Harrier to the trip list and I checked out some ridges for raptors watching when the temperature rises at the end of the week!

Today I was out at stupid o clock so that I could spend the morning in La Serena and the afternoon in Vegas Altas searching the rice fields.

I had not driven far from Hotel Peru when I hit thick fog. I considered turning back but thought I may be able to get above it and pressed on. I made it to Benquerencia de Serena which was clear and sunny. Below the village was the pea soup like fog which kept shifting along the valley. Benquerencia is a good spot for Black Wheatear. I had failed to connect with this species thus far so picked my spot above the soup line and began scanning the ridge above the houses.

There were plenty of Hirundines obviously with the same idea as I had Swallow, House Martin which nest under the ledges of houses and a group of Alpine Swift who passed through. Down below Blackcap, Robin tits and finches were busy feeding. The bird pictured above looked like a pigeon with a huge pouch for a breast. There were several perched on the rooftops but I guess they are not popular with the local people as one guy shood it off his roof with a broom!

The first bird noted on the rocks was a male Blue Rock Thrush and then a Black Wheatear flew onto a rock but did not remain for long. The white tail with a black wedge and tips made a plain looking bird quite spectacular. I had three telescope views of the bird and took some poor dot shots but a new species for me was in the bag!

After an hour or so the fog decided to climb to new levels and it was time to set off (hopefully out of it!) for my next stop on the La Serena Plains. I was relieved to see the plains were devoid of fog and began checking the fields for Bustards and Sandgrouse. There is a recommended area along the Cabeza Road between 12 and 15km posts. True to description a group of Great Bustard were feeding but there were two smaller bustards further back from the group I put the telescope on them and confirmed Little Bustard. One was throwing its head back and probably (I could not hear it) making its phantom raspberry blower call that it is famous for!

Further along this road I saw a smaller group of Great Bustard in flight and managed to get some better shots of this species. I did not see or hear any Sandgrouse on the plains all morning. Black-bellied seems to be eluding me again (I also failed in Lanzarote). But there are still a few days left!

After lunch I ventured to Vegas Altas and the rice fields. My target species would be Black Shouldered Kite and Red Avadavat (introduced Indian species) and maybe some Cranes. The Kite was no-where to be seen and I found a single Crane suggesting both species may have left! There were plenty of Golden Plover, a Green Sandpiper, Lapwing, Cattle and Little Egret feeding on the semi flooded rice fields!

This only left the Avadavat so I began checking all the ditches with reeds and took pictures of everything that moved which turned up a surprise in a Bluethroat! There were plenty of Zitting Cisticola, Goldfinch and my first group of Spanish Sparrow! I flushed a Quail which called in defiance as it scuttled into the long grass.

I then moved back to the main road where there is a line of concrete arches which look totally out of place but there are reeds directly in front. I heard a strange call which somehow matched the book version of Avadavat and surely enough there were three birds moving in the reeds two perched up on the reeds giving me a good view of them. There were more birds lower down in the reeds and when they flew I counted ten in all. A Cetti’s Warbler then announced itself as if to applaud my days work.

Three new birds today presuming that the Avadavat now counts in this neck of the woods!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Spain - Trujillo Plains - Bird Crazee but Otter steals the show!

Today was spent traversing the Trujillo Plains which included a river valley where the star of the day was found. An otter was busy fishing below and then it climbed onto a rock and realised it was being scrutinized from above!! I could have watched it all day but I had places to go birds to find!

The weather was overcast with a 50% chance of rain but there was hardly any worth mentioning. The plains were alive with birds making for another productive day. I was amazed at how apparently tame the larks, buntings and in particular the Iberian Grey Shrike was.
There were 2 – 3 Spanish Imperial Eagle present, Crested, Calandra and Corn Bunting everywhere. Jackdaw was seen in flight. Shorebirds were represented by Lapwing and Golden Plover.

I spent some time in a hide which overlooks the plains when I spied a flock of Greater Bustard moving in the same direction. I snuck into the hide and then realised they had landed further away that I had anticipated. My camera though so too! The best I could manage was a single bird which was not part of the flock. A Male Hen Harrier was a nice bonus!

The long grass had Zitting Cisticola which announced their presence during flight with a loud sharp ziit before diving back into the grass. I set myself the task of photographing one which took a while longer than expected but was worth the vigil.

The pylons held Lesser Kestrel which was another addition to my life list. Trujillo was cloud / mist bound this morning therefore I did not make it to the bullring!

In the river valley I stopped for a late lunch and came across the otter and further along the pass I heard a Hoopoe which was not difficult to find.

As I was driving out of the pass onto higher ground with scattered shrubs and trees I noticed a Grey Shrike perched on top of a bush. I parked up and began walking slowly back but could not find the bird. I returned to the car and it was perched up again. I must have got within five metres of it and it didn’t even flinch! Can’t see that ever happening on Thursley Common!

The afternoon was progressing without sight or sound of and Sandgrouse so I stopped at the lay-by with the stone cross and heard Pin-tailed Sandgrouse almost immediately. The problem was finding them! I decided to sit it out which was a great decision as a juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagle drifted by after about an hour!

It had been quiet for just over an hour when the Sandgrouse were heard and this time I saw a flock making its way back to the fields surrounding the car. The birds landed behind me and I set off to find them. A gate between two stone pillars gave me enough cover to approach without flushing the flock and my phone was used digi style to capture some of the group.

What a fantastic start to Extremadura!