Friday, 12 November 2010

Extremadura 25th-30th October part 2

Just to get all this Extremadura business over (I've got some great photos of black headed Gulls and Teal to get on here...) I'll finish posting a couple of photos and describing the highlights.

On the road to Campo Lugar driving slowly along on the second morning a Marsh Harrier went low over a field to the right, sending 3 big birds up right at the back of the field, Little Bustard! They flew right over the car and landed in a field to the left a long way off which once I got my bins on showed a big flock of c80 birds. The whole group went up twice and I managed to get a couple of OK shots when they landed a little closer.

Most of the flock (possibly all of it) in flight. MEGA!
 In flight with 2 Raven below.

I'll admit, I'm really milking these bustard now but its not every day you see a flock of 80 Little Bustard!

I am forever indebted to this Red Kite (with Buzzard in the Background) Red Kites were absolutely everywhere.

The rest of that day didn't produce too much exciting bird wise other than lots of commoner birds like Hoopoes, Thekla Larks, Millions of Black Redstarts and all that dross. This trip was also the first time I've ever seen such numbers of Corn Buntings, so difficult to see in much of the UK now but there were big groups of them all over the place.

 For birds which were everywhere and usually showed very well, this was the best photo I got of a Hoopoe.

 Quasi-Artsy shot of the Corn Bunts.

Black Redstart at Merida Roman Ruins.

Over the next few days saw lots more good birds, including good views of a Black Kite at Sierra Brava Reservoir, thousands of Cranes everywhere and a couple of Great Bustard. I had, however, managed to go a full three days looking in the right habitat, looking pretty darn hard and not seeing any Sandgrouse other than a flock of unIDable, very distant birds from a busy road on which stopping would have meant almost certain death! Martin was very helpful in suggesting where to go and on the morning of our last day the absolute legend that is Peter Walton who was also staying at the Casa was able to give us directions to where he'd seen a flock of c100 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse towards Santa Marta De Magasca. We went up there that morning and sure enough they were all there! If you ever get to read this I owe you one Peter!

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse coming in to Land.

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Showing off.

Later that day I also managed to get flight views of Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, I was so pleased to have seen both species of Sandgrouse, they're pretty unique looking birds that I was desperate to see.

We also visited the Paddyfields around Madrigalejo which provided good views of loads of Marsh Harriers, 1000s Common Cranes and some Snipe and also Common Kingfisher.

All in all a very good trip and I'm sure there's loads I've failed to mention but this has taken way too long as it is.

 One of many Chiffies seen on the trip.

One of many very confiding deer.

A slightly jaunty typical Extremaduran view.

 Part of the cave Drawings at Monfrague, well worth a visit.

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