Saturday, June 6, 2009

Extremadura, Spain - 26th May - 4th June 2009

A long time coming after many weeks embedded behind Hackney lines (with memorable results this spring), late May and early June was spent in the avian and meteorological nirvana of Extremadura and its neighbouring regions, in central-western Spain.
Full trip report to follow; in the meantime, some of the photographic highlights, roughly in chronological order.

Black-shouldered Kite, western Toledo province. Just out of the car after the drive from Madrid, and the first bird photographed.

Marsh Harrier, same area

Short-toed Eagle and Griffon Vulture, Rio Almonte bridge (just south of Monfrague)

juvenile and adult Rock Buntings, Monfrague castle

Blue Rock Thrush, Monfrague castle

Hoopoe, Three Bridges, near Monfrague

Avocet, small roadside pool a few km from our first base (Aldeacentenera) on the Belen Plains

Monty's, near Aldeacentenera

Bee-eaters, near Aldeacentenera

White Storks, near Aldeacentenera

Woodchat Shrike, near Aldeacentenera

juvenile Subalpine Warbler, near Aldeacentenera

Booted Eagle, Trujillo fish ponds

Little Ringed Plover, Trujillo fish ponds

Black Kite, Trujillo fish ponds

Lesser Kestrels, Trujillo bull-ring

Black Kites, near Aldeacentenera

Hoopoe, near Aldeacentenera

Monty's, near Aldeacentenera

Lesser Kestrel, Raven, Cattle Egret, Spotless Starlings, Great Bustards and Jackdaw - Belen Plains, near aldeacentenera

Great Bustards, Belen Plains, near Aldeacentenera

Cattle Egrets, Belen Plains, near aldeacentenera

Red-rumped Swallows, near Aldeacentenera

Egyptian (& Black) Vultures, Belen Plains, near Aldeacentenera

Black and Griffon Vultures, near aldeacentenera

singing male Spanish Sparrow, Rio Almonte bridge (c8km NE of Aldeacentenera)

Crag Martins, Rio Almonte bridge (c8km NE of Aldeacentenera)

Black Kite, near Aldeacentenera

Bee-eater, near Aldeacentenera

sub-adult Spanish Imperial Eagle, south of Monfrague

adult male Black Redstart, Monfrague

Azure-winged Magpie, everywhere

Rock Sparrow, Monfrague

juvenile Hawfinch, Monfrague

Eagle Owl, Monfrague

Black Stork, Monfrague

adult male Golden Oriole, by the villa, Valle Del Jerte

Dipper, by the villa

Bonelli's Eagle, Monfrague

Red Deer, Monfrague

Spanish Wagtails, Sierra Del Gredos

Rock Bunting on territory, Sierra Del Gredos

about a kilometre from the peak of the Sierras - breeding Bluethroats, Spanish Wagtails, Ortolan and Rock Buntings in the scrub, Black Redstarts and Crag Martins under the bridge, and Bonelli's Warblers in the pine plantation - hence very satisfied Pearsons senior and junior

Ortolan Bunting on Territory, Sierra Del Gredos

Ortolan & Rock Buntings on the same boulder near the peak of the Sierras

Photographing the above little beauties, guerrilla-style

just-fledged Black Redstart, Sierra Del Gredos

Common Whitethroat and Northern Wheatear, both trans-Saharan singers with territories overlooking snow cover in the Sierra Del Gredos

the ubiquitous and always accommodating Golden Orioles around the villa

Nightingale and White Wagtail, ditto

Short-toed Treecreeper and Nuthatch, Valle Del Jerte

Black-eared Wheatear, Wood- and Thekla Larks, Valle Del Jerte

Western Bonelli's Warbler, Valle Del Jerte - taken shortly after being dive-bombed to within inches after a short blast of an MP3

Altitudinal delirium from the female contingent

Booted Eagles, everywhere

Birders Wives June 2009 cover shoot, Valle Del Jerte

the dirty photographer

Cirl Bunting

Melodious Warbler, outcompeting the iPod impressively

Yet more BE's

male Marsh Harrier, somewhere on the way back to Madrid