As part of a Birdwatcher’s Digest Readers Rendezvous trip, I arrived in Madrid on March 15th and met my roommate Laura with whom I birded before the trip began.
On March 17th our group of about 20 birders, led by Ben Lizdas (US), Catherine Hamilton (US), João Jara (Portugal) and Fernando Navarate (Spain) departed by bus for its first main destination, Monfragüe National Park in Extremadura in southwest Spain. We birded there and in the surrounding area for the next 5 days.
Following are some of the highlight birds of that portion of the trip.
White Storks and their nests were perched on many buildings and poles and were flying to and fro.
In the fields we looked for and eventually found Great Bustards, most of which were too distant for photos, but eventually some were a bit nearer to the roads, and others flew over the road.
There also were a few sightings of Little Bustards.
Three vulture species, (Eurasian) Black (Cinereous), (Eurasian) Griffon (most common) and Egyptian (not many) were seen.
In the rocky mountain areas we had a couple of sightings of Black Storks, as well as Blue Rock Thrushes, Black Redstarts, Rock Buntings, Serins, Linnets, and Hawfinches.
Birds seen out in the fields and more open areas included the ever-present Corn Buntings, as well as many Crested and Thekla Larks (very similar in appearance) and Calandra Larks (not shown), Stonechats, and Woodchat Shrikes.
I will continue to wade through my thousands of photos with the hope of writing a Part II soon.
Note: I believe my identification of the photographed birds is correct, but would welcome corrections, of course.