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!

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