Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Central Spain - Day 3

Spanish Imperial Eagle
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vultures
Griffon Vulture
Monk Parakeet
Great Reed Warbler
Rock Sparrow
Red necked Nightjar
Red necked Nightjar

Thursday 14th May 2009
As usual we had quite a long drive to our first target species. We arrived at first light and drove to a vantage point on a private estate from which to look for Spanish Imperial Eagle. Almost immediately a male Spanish Imperial Eagle drifted over us to see what was going on. Tom pointed out the nest some distance away but with scopes we could make out the female on the nest. The huge bill, white crown and shoulders standing out in the improving light. A memorable start to the day. We moved on to search for our next target White rumped Swift a bird with limited range and only found in a few locations in Southern Spain. We parked in a gorge overlooking a river which we scanned for some time. Steve Cawthray had a glimpse of the bird but the rest of us were out of luck. We did see Subalpine warbler and Dartford warbler though. Tom drove us down to river level picking up our only Black eared Wheatear of the trip on the way. We then walked along the river but despite finding two groups of hirundines with Swallows, Red rumped Swallows, Crag and House Martins there was no further sign. Pauline though following behind the men, for some reason I'm too much of a gentleman to say, had a huge stroke of luck and saw the bird briefly. I saw Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Golden Oriole but it was little consolation for missing the White rumped Swift. I was a bit quiet for a while not that Im particularly noisey any time. Our next stop involved scanning mountain ridges for raptors, vultures and Black Storks. The raptors tested our ID skills at first but as the birds got a bit closer we could pick out two Bonelli's Eagles, a Booted Eagle and a few Short toed Eagles as well as Griffon and Black Vultures and a Black Stork.

It was getting near lunchtime and I contemplated sneaking a bite of the Pork pie I'd bought with me me from home. My companions were horrified that I'd still got the pie festering in my camera bag so I decided to keep it for another time.

Tom picked out a lovely picnic spot for lunch though, right next to a pig processing factory, we ate our ham sandwiches to to sounds of squealing pigs in the slaughterhouse. Still when you're hungry...

The factory though was a magnet for Vultures who were fed on the left overs, there were over 300 Griffons, a good number of Black Vultures and 4 Egyptian Vultures. An amazing sight when thay circled round together. There were still a number of species we hadn't connected with so much of the afternoon was spent looking for Orphean warbler in particular. In an area of Cork oak we thought we heard an Orphean but it was very reluctant to show itself. We saw Azure winged Magpies, Woodchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Hawfinch and finally a male Orphean warbler complete with white Iris.
We returned to Tom's place for an evening meal but the day was not over. After our meal we were back on the bus for what turned out to be quite a memorable experience.


  1. Cheers Max, its nice to know somebody out there is interested. I've been burning the midnight oil to get this stuff out.Take care now.

  2. If you ever want to come back, please don't hesitate to look us up, Oretani Wildlife, we give guided birding, wildlife and butterfly tours in La Mancha, central Spain.