Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Spain 2009 - the final chapter.

Close encounter with a Great Bustard

A group of Great Bustards
Little Bustard

White headed Duck

Pale Shoulder

Lesser Kestrel

Great reed Warbler again

Whiskered Tern

Woodchat Shrike

Friday 15th May 2009

Fatigue was definitely setting in on day four, the early mornings, late nights (for some), travelling, and temperature took their toll. Tom was amazing, driving as he did hundreds of kilometres. I dont know whether it was his Churchillian sized cigars which kept him going but he never wavered in his quest to find all the birds he possibly could for us. Even though in our semi asphyxiated state some of us had ceased to care. We travelled back north to try and find some of the birds we had missed, there were not many but Tom enlisted the help of a local warden/keeper to find Black bellied Sandgrouse. We drew straws to see who would would act as lookout as the Landcruiser bounced over the fields but eventually we found a small group of Black bellied Sandgrouse and got reasonable views as they flew around us.

We had another go at finding Lesser Flamingo but again had no luck. At lunchtime we met up with the next group just beginning their tour. We swapped drivers and headed north for Madrid, stopping en route to get another look at Great Bustards. In fact we found a large group. I had a great opportunity to take photographs at one point but only through the insect splattered windscreen of the vehicle. Time moved on and we needed to get to the airport but not before we visited one more wetland site. In fact it turned out to be the best in terms of waders seen. There were Ruff, Dunlin, Black winged Stilt, Knot, Redshank, Greenshank, Little Stint, Black tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Avocet, by far the biggest haul of wader species on the trip. So that was it. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish. A huge thankyou goes to the two Steves and Pauline for their good humour and knowledge. I think everyone contributed in their own way. A thankyou to Tom Gullick who enabled us to see so many great birds and who showed us excellent hospitality throughout our stay in Spain.

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