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! 

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