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DONANA EXtremadura and Caen

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Offline Jonathan1

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« on: June 04, 2010, 15:14 PM »
Hey all,  A report from my Spring trip to Donana and then due to the Volcano a bit of an extention in Extremadura and a long drive from Trujillo to Caen.

Landed at Madrid midmorning and spotted a male montagues harrier before our connection flight to Seville. At Seville air port we picked up at  griffon vulture overhead, many swallows, swifts and pallid swifts and also a 99% positive S.imperial Eagle, a first for me, and a beautiful sight.  The Drive to el rocio gave both red and black kite, kestrel, beeate hoopoe, woodchat shrike and a few other more common sightings such as white stork and cattle egrets.
At el Rocio I picked up many lifers including greater flamingo. gull billed ternand azure winged magpie-embarrassingly late after havign visited Spain so many times.

Day1) The weather was surprisingly nice despite a dreadful forecast and we started by searching the nearby stonepine/umbrella pine woodland for a few passerine species. Here I picked up Short toed treecreeper, melodious (a first) and wester bonelli's warbler as well as many more  warbler spp. A great white Egret was a nice surprise amongst many grey heron and glossy ibis.  Savi's warbler was seen by all except me.... Other birds of the day included P,Swamphen, booted eagle aplenty, spanish,tree and house sparrow, Corn Bunting, RR swallow, common waders and ducks and a superb dartford warbler to end the day.

Day2)  Windy and wet today so not optimal raptor weather. Went into Donana today and apparently missed a Lynx eating a rabbit by about 30secs as we stopped for Golden oriel and Souther GG Shrike. On our "safari" through donana we added Calandra, s toed and lesser s toed lark, crested lark, corn and a beautiful male ortolan bunting, tawny pippit pratincole gargany, raven a beautiful pair of purple herons lit up fantastically swapping roles on their nest, several gulls and waders, a peregrine, a pair of stonecurlew and 5 pin tailed sandgrouse flushed by a black kite.  Little Owls, Lapwings and sardinian warbler all added to the fun.

Day3)   Weather was mal but then became sunnier in the afternoon. marismas del odiel (sp?) was where we headed to.  New birds included zitting cisticola, willow warbler, whimbrel and osprey, as well as curlew sandpiper, greenshank, turnstone and little stint.Beautiful views of monties all day and the first of this years swallows fledged in a tree.

Day4) We were meant to head back to London via seville but thanks to that Volcano we were stranded ..... :dancing: i couldnt have been happier.    Abysmal weather today- Olivaceous...sorry..now isabelline warbler was spotted, wryneck, black shouldered kite and a million or so (small exacgeration) nightengales were seen.

AS we were stuck we decided to get out and see some more of Spain's birds instead of staying in a hotel- and despite my looming exams and lack of revision i was more than up for our proposed plan of going to Extremadura.

5) the Drive there gave black stork on a nest- A large aquilla spp. eagle, cuckoo, short toed eagle and a beautiful booty diving on prey near the roadside. We arrived at a beautiful private hotel, (I shall link it later) and it really was perfect for the birder-I cannot reccomend it enough!!  An afternoon stroll gave beeater, cuckoo, hoopoe, woodchat shrike, cornbunting linnit goldfinch blue titgreenfinch and chaffinch all in the garden! with booted, short toed, and griffons sailing endlessly above the hotel. The view from our room streched across the plains with the medieval town of trujillo present on one side and the Gredos mountains on the other....perfect.

more common birds were seen outside the hotel, and a quick check on what I thought was a lark..became a HAWFINCH- my most wanted bird in the world- and one that has escaped me so far. It was a perfect sighting and i was over the moon! bird of the year so far!

6) We now had a plan to drive to Caen-I wasnt too happy-but it would be nice to go home- unfortunatly we didnt have time to see Monfrague- I was so tantalisingly close to this raptor Mecca- but we birded the plains which produve Great bustard, little bustard many larks and buntings and black and pintailed sandgrouse, so awesome nonetheless. Midday gave us huge flocks of house and spanish sparrows, kestrel and lesser kestrel and a pos. black vulture, another favourite of mine and a bird i have missed seeing.

7) the Drive to Caen gave a few more birds- Quail, yellowhammer, honey buzzard,skylark and as we drove through the pyreneese I thought I spotted a lammergeiere but moving so fast and it being so high im not going to count it.

I hope you enjoyed reading my report  both areas are so superb I cant think of many places ive been in the world to rival them.


Offline nick

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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 22:58 PM »
Many thanks for sharing this Jonathan
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A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
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And also now The Natural History of Britain