Thursday, 2 March 2017

Spain - Sierra de Gredos - A few life birds today!

I set off to the Sierra de Gredos (SdG) area with Dave Gosney’s guide to Extremadura close at hand (SdG is not in Extremadura but is covered in the book!). The guide is excellent providing co-ordinates for use in conjunction with a SatNav.

The scenery en route was once again spectacular and a few stops were made along the way to watch small pockets of birds Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Great Tit, Blackbird and Larks. I passed through the Campsite de Gredos with a view to stopping on the way back from the car park at Sierra de Gredos. I found a group of Crag Martin dive bombing under a bridge too quick for pictures and they did not even take a breather!!

The car-park at Sierra de Gredos was busy with vehicles and hikers. The trail and hillsides were almost completely snowbound therefore I gave the walk a miss. About twenty minutes later a gliding immature Eurasian Black Vulture whizzed over the car park from the direction of the trail and had disappeared as quickly as it arrived! I was not expecting this species today!

The sun was doing its best to thaw the snow creating small waterfalls and streams either side of the car-park. I saw only a handful of birds in the rocks but after a patient wait I managed some pictures only for a Rock Bunting to pop up onto a rock directly in front of me and strike a pose! Nice!

I made my way back to the Campsite in time for an evening Citril Finch watch. This species was not found it winters in Spain and therefore may have already departed. There were Crested, Coal and Great Tit in the pines. The former was very obliging coming down to some rubbish on the soccer field. 

A pair of Black Redstart made up the opposition defending the far goal with White Wagtail taking the post of referee and linesman.

A Griffon Vulture and a couple of Buzzard were noted during my travels. Every village that has a church has breeding White Stork. A group of Red Kite were seen en route back to Avila. I did wonder if the land owner was feeding them as all the birds were circling very low over an enclosure.

I also managed to get a better photograph of a Spotless Starling who had a very serious look on its face! This species gets everywhere but was my first life bird of this adventure!

Last thought of the day goes to a Lark which had me confused it showed a black patch on its neck and behind the eye. The bird definitely did not fit Calandra. My next thought was Woodlark with the above picture indicating a complete white supercilium  but what about the black patches. Time to ask for a second opinion thanks Pete Alfrey. Facebook does have its advantages! The verdict is a feather worn Woodlark. 

Time for a good sleep to dream about tomorrows offerings! 

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