April 12 – Spain Highlights Part II

The second half of our trip to Spain was spent in Andalucia in southernmost Spain. Much of the trip was near and around the off-limits central portion of Donana National Park. This area is much flatter and lower than the Extremadura portion of our trip, with many wetlands with a wide variety of waterfowl and other water-loving birds.

A major highlight of this portion of the trip was the flamingos. A small selection of my flamingo photos follows.

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Other long-legged wading birds included Black-winged Stilts, Eurasian Spoonbills, Pied Avocets, Glossy Ibises, Black-crowned Night-Herons and a Squacco Heron. Not shown are photos of the Gray and Purple Herons.

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Ducks seen include Common Pochard, Crested Pochard, Northern Shovelers, Garganey, Ferruginous Ducks, White-headed Ducks, and Common Shelducks.

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Also seen were Great Crested Grebes, Eurasian Coots and Red-knobbed Coots, and Purple Swamphens.

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While we saw Hoopoes many days and heard them even more often, only rarely did they allow more than a rapid, fly-by view.

On three different days a bit farther away from the water we saw Little Owls, and on one day got to see two Barn Owls in a next box.

Some of the best sightings, however, were the members of our birding group. A selection of photos of some of them follows taken in both portions of the trip.

I also took many photos of scenes, plus more bird pictures of course, and will try for one more post about the trip.


April 8 – Spain Highlights, Part I

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. IMG_0002.JPG

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.

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Three vulture species, (Eurasian) Black (Cinereous), (Eurasian) Griffon (most common) and Egyptian (not many) were seen.

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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.

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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.


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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.