I hadn't birded much of the Iberian
region before, apart from a family holiday to the Algarve in 1986 and a
day in the Spanish Pyrenees in 1991. Gill had been to Spain on a couple
of family holidays and a conference in Barcelona, but also had only seen
a small part of the region, so we agreed that Spain would be a good
choice this year to provide plenty of birding excitement and also loads
of places of cultural interest at a reasonable cost. Camping for 8
nights also helped to bring costs down. We didn't make too many
arrangements for accommodation before we left the UK, although I had
booked the first night near Madrid and four nights at the Hotel Toruno
in El Rocio in advance. I'd also made contact in January with Claudio
Manetti to arrange a day's birding with him in Donana on June 7th. Other
than that we were able to turn up at the campsites and get a pitch
without any bother, and there were very few other guests at the hotel in
El Garraf near Barcelona. Late May/early June would appear to be an
excellent time to visit Spain as the hordes of tourists weren't in
evidence, and temperatures were pleasantly warm rather than oppressively
hot (although it was baking in Monfrague!).
I can thoroughly recommend Spain as a
birding destination; in addition to the Iberian specialities the quality
of the birding was excellent throughout, with many of the classic
Mediterranean species (Bee-eater, Hoopoe, shrikes etc.) being fairly
common. Spain has an excellent road network, making it easy to travel
fairly long distances, and there seemed to be plenty of places to stay
I'd set out with a target list of world
and Western Palearctic lifers, and in the end only Wallcreeper and Red
Avadavat eluded us:
Potential World Lifers: Marbled Duck,
White-headed Duck, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse,
White-rumped Swift, Monk Parakeet, Dupont's Lark, Red-necked Nightjar,
Black Wheatear, Wallcreeper, Red Avadavat.
Potential WP Lifers: Crested Coot,
Also I was particularly keen to see the
two bustards and Eagle Owl again, as well as some of the other Iberian
specialities (Purple Gallinule, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless Starling
Most of the sites mentioned in this
report are described in Dave Gosney's "Finding Birds Inů.." books for
Northern and Southern Spain, which were very useful throughout. I also
took Garcia and Patterson's "Where to Watch Birds in Southern Spain" and
"A Birdwatching Guide to the Pyrenees" by Jacquie Crozier, both of which
were useful sources of information. I also took the Collins Bird Guide
by Mullarney et al., which proved to be sufficient for i.d. purposes.
Numerous trip reports to the region can
be found at www.birdtours.co.uk,
and www.surfbirds.com, the report
by Joakim Djaef and his family is very comprehensive. Possibly the most
useful book we took was the Rough Guide to Spain - absolutely essential!
Flights to and from Madrid were booked via EasyJet (www.easyjet.com)
and car hire through
Please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
regarding any aspect of the trip.
Claudio Manetti (Discovering Donana):
Hotel Toruno: Tel. (00 34) 959 442 323 Situated on the northern edge of
the lagoon, c.2 blocks east of the main church.
Camping Monfrague: (00 34) 927 59 233
Situated c.14km north of Villareal de San Carlos on the Plasencia road.
Camping Valle de Hecho: (00 34) 974 375 388 Situated 0.5km south of
Hotel Garraf (Garraf, nr. Barcelona): Tel. (00 34) 93 632 00 07.
Situated right on the beach at Garraf, c.25km south of Barcelona.
Best Western Hotel Avion, Madrid: (00 34) 91 747 62 22
www.hotelavion.com. Situated on
the Zaragoza/Barcelona road at Km.14.
25 May: EasyJet Aberdeen - Luton; Luton
- Madrid Barajas. Night at Madrid Best Western Hotel Avion.
26 May: Picked up hire car, north to Aragon. Castillo de Loarre, Mallos
de Riglos. Night at Valle de Hecho Camping.
27 May: Boca de Infierno, Gabardito. Night at Valle de Hecho.
28 May: Boca de Infierno, St Juan de la Pena. Night at Valle de Hecho.
29 May: Valle de Hecho, Jaca, south east to Belchite in Los Monegros.
Night in car at Belchite.
30 May: Belchite, Laguna de la Playa, east to El Garraf nr Barcelona.
Night at Hotel Garraf.
31 May: Train to Barcelona. Night in El Garraf.
1 June: El Garraf - Monfrague. Night at Camping Monfrague.
2 June: Sanctuario y Castillo de Monfrague, Mirador de la Bascula,
Portilla del Tietar, Monroy, dusk at Portilla del Tietar. Night at
3 June: Caceres/Trujillo Plains; Trujillo town centre. Night at Camping
4 June: Caceres old city and museum; Caceres/Trujillo plains. Night at
5 June: Monfrague - Merida - Coto de Donana. La Rocina lagoon. Night in
Hotel Toruno, El Rocio.
6 June: Laguna Primera de Palos, Matalascanas, Monasterio de la Rabida
nr Huelva, El Acebuche. Night in El Rocio.
7 June: Day with Claudio Manetti in Donana. Night in El Rocio.
8 June: Matalascanas, Laguna de Medina, Jerez de la Frontera. Night in
9 June: El Rocio - Madrid. Night Hotel Avion.
10 June: Madrid Barajas - Luton; Luton - Aberdeen.
Arrived late evening Madrid Barajas
Airport and transferred to the Best Western Hotel Avion (10 minutes by
Took the courtesy bus back to the
airport to pick up the hire car, a Citroen Xsara. Drove north via
Zaragoza and Huesca; a flyover Green Woodpecker of the Iberian
race sharpei was the main highlight en route c. 20km south of
Zaragoza. Other roadside birds included Spotless Starlings,
Griffon Vultures and 2 White Storks. First main point of call
was north-west of Huesca, the spectacular 11th century Castillo de
Loarre with its panoramic views. Birds in the area included Rock
Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Bee-eater, Griffon Vulture,
Booted Eagle, Red-billed Chough. We carried on to the
vertiginous pillars of Riglos, and soon found a Black Wheatear
behind the church at the top of the village - the first lifer of the
trip! Numerous Griffon Vultures circled the cliffs, and an adult
Lammergeier also drifted across the pillars. Red Kites
were numerous in the valley as we approached the campsite just south of
the village of Hecho. Overnight at least 2 Tawny Owls and several
Nightingales could be heard from the tent, plus a cacophony of
Made an early start and headed for the
famous Wallcreeper site at Boca de Infierno. Sadly this was to be our
main birding disappointment of the trip, as we found out later that
there had been only a couple of sightings earlier in the spring and that
they were not nesting in the gorge this year. A couple of Lammergeier
sightings over the gorge were scant compensation for our disappointment!
We went for a walk from the mountain refuge of Gabardito in the
afternoon, and had good views of two Lammergeiers, plus Citril
Finch near the refuge. In the forests we heard two Black
Woodpeckers but didn't see either. Further up we had a Rock
Thrush, Crested Tit and a few Firecrest. We returned
later to the Boca on the off chance that a WC might cross our path but
no luck. Overnight a European Nightjar was heard from the tent,
churring away, and another Black Woodpecker was heard at dawn.
Another early visit to the Boca, where I
had another Lammergeier. Back at the campsite, I videoed a couple
of Rock Sparrows and an Egyptian Vulture, and then we
headed to the monasteries at San Juan de la Pena. The older Lower
Monastery is built into the base of a towering cliff, and is well worth
a visit - absolutely stunning. We spent the day wandering around both
monasteries and the surrounding woodland, and saw several Citril
Finches (especially near the car park by the larger Upper
monastery), Western Bonelli's Warbler and Firecrest. We
walked along the ridge to a communications post (having a close
encounter with a Wild Boar en route) where we got great views of
Egyptian and Griffon Vultures. This is described as site 3 in
the Gosney guide and is said to be good for Lammergeiers; however we
spent most of the afternoon around here without seeing one. After
returning to Hecho, we went for our evening meal and were greeted as we
left the restaurant by the "poop" call of a Scops Owl from the
nearby rooftops. It (and another) were easily audible from the tent
later on, as was a Quail.
Checked out of the campsite and headed
to Jaca. We spent the morning around the star-shaped Ciudadela, a
16th-century fort complete with a large colony of Rock Sparrows
in the walls - surely the easiest place to see Rock Sparrow in the
Pyrenees. Tree Sparrows were also common here, and we had great
views of Booted Eagle and Red Kite low over the fort.
After a picnic on the lawns outside the fort we drove south-east to the
Zaragoza plains, and arrived at the Lomazas Steppe reserve near Belchite
in the late afternoon. En route we had seen several Bee-eaters, a
Little Owl, Marsh Harrier and a few Black-winged Stilts
at a roadside scrape. At Belchite, several larks were singing including
Crested, numerous Short-toed and at least a couple of
displaying Calandras. A Stone Curlew was heard calling in
the distance. Two Black-bellied Sandgrouse flew across the road,
and then I picked up a flock of c.8 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse flying
over fields to the south of the car-park. Another couple of distant
sandgrouse (probably Black-bellied) were also seen. At least 3-4
Dupont's Larks started singing (tu-luweeeeeih) from about 8.30pm
onwards, although I had heard the occasional call before then. Seeing
them however was a different matter, and apart from the briefest of
views it gradually became to dark to see anything, although the birds
still continued to sing well after the sun went down. We spent the night
in the car, on the promise that we would find something more comfortable
The Dupont's Larks (6+) were
singing all around the car park at 5am, and continued until at least 8am
although the singing tailed off after sunrise. Some sounded incredibly
close, but the most intense singing activity took place when it was too
dark to see anything. However, the birds were still singing as the sun
was coming up, and a walk along the track provided a view of a bird on
the deck before a Short-toed Lark came along and chased it off.
One of my favourite memories of the holiday was here, as a pair of
Calandras in song-flight were silhouetted against the full moon,
just as the sun was starting to come up. A Southern Grey Shrike
hunted amongst the scattered bushes, and a Scops Owl called
sporadically. After the Dupont's Larks stopped singing, we headed
off and soon bumped into one of the best birds of the holiday near
Escatron, a stunning roadside Roller which unfortunately flew off
as I made for the camera. We had a brief look at the fields near Laguna
de la Playa, which were excellent for Black-bellied Sandgrouse
and Calandras, and I found a Hobby sat in the middle of a
ploughed field. We then headed east towards Barcelona, and found a hotel
in the village of El Garraf, just south of Barcelona, in a room with a
balcony that opened right out onto the beach.
We took the train from El Garraf into
Barcelona city centre, and made straight for Gaudi's sprawling
masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. Work is ongoing in this amazing
cathedral, with a projected finish date of 2035! We took an open top bus
tour of the city in the afternoon, which was quite long at 4 hours but
showed us the major sights, and also gave us cracking views of the
Monk Parakeets that have become well established in the city. Any
area with palm trees seemed good for them, in particular the roads
around Barcelona FC, Port Vell, and Parc Guell. Alpine Swifts
were also a feature of the birdlife, with several sightings including
two over the Nou Camp. After a long day in Barcelona we took the train
back to El Garraf for another relaxing evening.
The day of the long drive! We set out
from El Garraf at about 8.30, and successfully negotiated the Barcelona
toll-road system before heading west towards Zaragoza then Madrid. The
aim was to arrive at Camping Monfrague (between Plasencia and Villareal
San Carlos, 15 minutes drive from the Monfrague park boundary) in the
late afternoon/early evening, and fortunately everything went to plan,
even to the point of a Black-shouldered Kite obligingly flying in
front of the car west of Navalmoral on the 108. The campsite facilities
were excellent, although the swimming pool wasn't open, and it was
rather busy. However, the flocks of Azure-winged Magpies didn't
seem to mind! After pitching the tent I couldn't resist a quick
excursion into the park, and pretty soon I was at the Mirador de la
Bascula, enjoying views of several Black, Griffon and
Egyptian Vultures. A group of Spanish birders showed me a Black
Kite nest with 3 young from the pull-in just west of the dam, and a
pair of Egyptian Vultures were also nesting on the cliffs here
amongst the more numerous Griffons. Along the road, a few
hispanica Black-eared Wheatears were seen, favouring the more
barren areas that have been cleared of Eucalyptus to make way for the
replanting of native trees. We had a meal in the campsite restaurant,
and overnight heard another Scops Owl from the tent.
Arguably the best birding day of the
trip started at the Sanctuario y Castillo de Monfrague. As this involved
a steep climb up to the castle I thought that this site would be best
tackled earlier in the day, which proved to be a good call as
temperatures were to rise into the 30's by the afternoon. On the walk up
I heard an Iberian Chiffchaff, the only one of the trip - these
birds are surprisingly local and sporadic in their distribution in
Spain. We also had brief views of a Hawfinch, and several Crag
Martins and Red-rumped Swallows zoomed around. At the top we
didn't have to wait too long before two White-rumped Swifts flew
past, and over the next 40 minutes or so we had several excellent views
of at least four, possibly 5 individuals, some engaging in what looked
like a display flight. The birds seemed to work their way along the
ridge towards the Castillo, and then circle round with the other swifts
and martins looking towards Penafalcon, before heading back along the
ridge. Crag and House Martins were numerous, as were
Red-rumped Swallows and Alpine Swifts, along with a few
Common Swifts. Inside the Castillo itself we found 3 Red-billed
Chough chicks, whilst a Blue Rock Thrush sang from the top of
the Castillo. On the way back down we had excellent views of a
Hawfinch on the path, and also managed more views of White-rumped
Swifts from the upper car park. A good start got better after 40
minutes at the Mirador de la Bascula, where patient scanning with a
group of 4 other British birders paid off when an adult Spanish
Imperial Eagle joined the circling Griffons for a few
minutes, its white forearms clearly visible. We were told that a nest
here was in use this year, but we were unable to locate it although we
did find the old nest. We then headed to the cliffs at Portilla del
Tietar (where other British birders we met also saw Spanish Imperial
Eagle later in the day) and enjoyed wonderful views of a pair of
Black Storks with two chicks. Again raptors were much in evidence
with the ubiquitous vultures, Short-toed Eagle and a single
dark-phase Booted Eagle. After such a successful morning we had a
picnic in the park then drove back to the camp to sweat out the hottest
part of the day. In the late afternoon we drove south and stopped off at
Penafalcon for fabulous views of the vultures, Black Stork,
Peregrine, Rock Bunting and Blue Rock Thrush. This is
also listed as a possible Black Wheatear site although no-one we spoke
to had seen one here. We continued south through the park towards the
famous site for Black-shouldered Kite near Monroy, encountering a
4ft Montpelier Snake en route. The site is easily recognisable as there
is a large colony of White Storks in the pines around a small
rise, from which tracks lead off to the north and south. The Gosney
guide describes the track heading south as being the best for the kites,
but others have had more success in recent years by looking north
towards the row of pylons, and we didn't have to wait long before 2
kites started performing in this area, hovering frequently and
displaying their distinctive almost tail-less shape. Common Kestrels
and Common Buzzards here also added to the daily raptor tally,
and a small party of Bee-eaters lined the wires. Early morning or
early to mid-evening appears to be the best time of day for the kites; a
party of British birders told me that they'd been unsuccessful here but
had scored nearby at a farm called Finca Sotillo, which is on the road
between Torrejon el Rubio and Monroy. We drove back to the park and
joined an international group of birders at Portilla del Tietar, a
renowned Eagle Owl site. The aforementioned British birders had
described to me the point on the cliff where they'd seen two juveniles
emerge at 21.50 the previous night, so I lined up my scope on the
poop-splattered rock in question. While we were waiting, we were
entertained by the vultures, Black Storks, Rock Bunting,
Blue Rock Thrush and a Sparrowhawk (our 13th species of
raptor for the day), a flock of c.40 Bee-eaters, and several
large bats with prominent ear-flaps clearly visible. We could
occasionally hear the begging calls of the young owlets, which increased
in frequency until one appeared, right on time at 21.50 in the middle of
my scope view. Almost immediately another flapped around the cliff onto
a lower ledge, and everyone enjoyed fine views of the fledglings, which
still possessed downy feathers on the crown and wing coverts. Later I
heard an adult calling from the area to the right of the cliff, and an
Eagle Owl then flew along the ridge although whether this was the
adult or one of the juveniles was unclear. Anyway, these were serious
candidates for bird of the trip, and we thought we would quit while we
were ahead and drive back to the campsite rather than try the Mirador de
la Bascula for Red-necked Nightjar. However, as we passed along
the road about 200m past Mirador de la Bascula, the car in front of us
(carrying a British couple we'd met at the Eagle Owl site) flushed a
nightjar from the side of the road. We both screeched to a halt and
watched the bird flying around our heads for ten minutes or so, and
although it didn't call the large size clearly indicated that this was a
Red-necked Nightjar. They had been heard on the previous couple
of nights from Mirador de la Bascula, but no-one we'd spoken to had seen
one here in recent days. Maybe we were using up some of the luck we were
owed after the Hecho WC disappointment.
Today we explored the plains around
Caceres and Trujillo in search of bustards. The main areas we
concentrated on were the plains around St. Marta de Magasca, and we
found our first Great Bustard pretty quickly, in a field near the
farm of La Encinilla. The ploughed field opposite this farm was quite
good for sandgrouse too, with groups of 3 and 2 Black-bellied
Sandgrouse plus a single Pin-tailed Sandgrouse flying around.
Just east of La Encinilla we found a fine group of six Great Bustards
strutting their stuff, and on the road towards St Marta de Magasca we
also had a Golden Eagle and several large flocks of Spanish
Sparrows. Montagu's Harriers, Common Buzzards and
Black Kites were particularly common around these plains. In the
picturesque town square of Trujillo there were several White Stork
nests with young, and at least 20 Lesser Kestrels around the
Plaza Mayor, dominated by the statue of the notorious Conquistador
Francisco Pizarro, who was born here. A couple of Booted Eagles
and a Black Stork also drifted over as we explored the church of
Santa Maria Mayor, and the castle and Moorish fortress. Later on, we
tried some of the plains near Belen for bustards, and managed to find
two more Great Bustards baking in the heat, but Little Bustards
were proving elusive. Back at the campsite at Monfrague I videoed
several Azure-winged Magpies around the tent, and a Short-toed
Treecreeper visited the trees around our pitch. Overnight we heard
another Scops Owl calling around the campsite.
In the morning we drove south to Caceres,
where we explored the old walled city and visited the Caceres museum.
Numerous stork nests lined the rooftops, and Lesser Kestrels were
also in and around the town. In the afternoon we drove back again via St
Marta de Magasca, although we failed to locate any bustards or
sandgrouse, probably because we were there during the hottest part of
the day. However we did find a nest box on a pylon that was occupied by
an adult and juvenile Roller, approx. 1.4km west of the junction
between the minor road to La Encinilla with the St Marta de Magasca -
N521 road. Again we saw large flocks (c.500 birds) of Spanish
Sparrows along these roads.
Another fairly long driving day saw us
leave Camping Monfrague and head south to Merida where we stopped for
lunch by the old Roman bridge in the centre of town. This was listed in
Garcia and Patterson as a site for Red Avadavat (Red Munia), and we
spent about an hour or so walking amongst some of the islands in the
middle of the river. However, apart from a possible glimpse of a distant
Avadavat, all we could find were four Common Waxbills, viewed
from the middle of the Roman Bridge itself. The bridge also afforded
great views of Alpine, Pallid and Common Swift, and
a large colony of Cattle Egrets. After lunch we headed south
again and turned west at Sevilla, and arrived at El Rocio by mid
afternoon. Extreme care is needed when driving around this place as
there are no tarmac roads in the town, and the normal rules of the road
don't seem to apply! It is also very easy to get stuck in the sand, even
in El Rocio itself, although the locals are used to helping tourists out
of trouble. We were staying at the Hotel Toruno, which is right on the
edge of the La Rocina lagoon which fringes the southern edge of the
town. From our hotel room (decorated as a shrine to the Purple
Gallinule!) we could see huge numbers of Greater Flamingos, 1000+
Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets, Whiskered Terns,
Collared Pratincoles and Black-winged Stilts, a tremendous
sight. In the early evening we took a walk around the La Rocina reserve,
and saw at least 5 Purple Gallinules, several Spotted
Flycatchers and Nightingales, Cetti's, Reed,
and Savi's Warblers. Our evening meal in the Toruno restaurant
overlooked the lagoon, allowing us to watch the Whiskered Terns
flying past the window.
In the morning we headed south and along
the coast towards Huelva, where we checked out the Laguna Primera de
Palos, a potential White-headed Duck site. We failed to find any, but
birds seen in the area included Little Bittern, Purple Heron,
Purple Gallinule, Spoonbill, Great Reed Warbler,
Ferruginous Duck and lots of Coots (worth checking here for
Crested?). We spent some of the afternoon on the beach at Matalascanas,
and then headed back towards Huelva to visit the monastery at La Rabida
where Christopher Columbus stayed to gather funds and plan his famous
journey, a fascinating place. Just below the monastery are full sized
replicas of the three boats that made the epic voyage, also worth a
visit to get an idea of the conditions the sailors must have endured. In
the evening we went for a walk around the trails of the visitor centre
at El Acebuche, but apart from cracking views of a Little Bittern
the birds here were few and far between. Even the enclosed part of the
lagoon which is supposed to house pinioned exhibits of Marbled Ducks,
White-headed Ducks and the like was totally empty! Maybe this place is
best visited earlier in the day before all the tourists have scared all
the birds away.
Claudio Manetti met us at the hotel at
7am and we drove into the Parque Nacional in his 4WD. We stopped first
in the Coto del Rey area, where he showed us fresh Iberian Lynx tracks
in the sand, although this was the closest we were to get to this
animal. Whilst walking around this area Gill accidentally flushed a
Red-necked Nightjar from its nest, a really beautiful sight in
daylight, and we retreated hastily to allow it to return. We headed
through the restricted area of the park and from the road we had
wonderful views of c.13 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, a truly stunning
bird when seen on the ground. Claudio informed us that Spanish Imperial
Eagle would be very difficult to see in Donana this year as all but one
of the nests had failed, so we were glad that we had put in the effort
to see this species in Monfrague. He also informed us that he had
recently seen a dark morph egret in the area, and later in the
morning I was amazed to see the creature in question flying across the
marismas. We managed to get some distant views of the bird, which showed
an obvious white chin patch and scattered white feathers in the wings
(primary coverts/bases, left alula, white slightly more extensive in the
left wing), but it then flew much further away and we decided to move on
as there were many other target birds to see. Near the Valverde centre
Claudio showed us a pair of Crested (Red-knobbed) Coots with two
young "knoblets"; one of the adults bore a neck collar (4M) to indicate
that it was one of the c.150 individuals released in southern Spain as
part of a reintroduction project. The other adult was uncollared and was
therefore "countable"! We enjoyed great views of the birds, which showed
a blueish tinge to the bill and the characteristic red knobs above the
frontal shield. At the Valverde centre at Lucio Cerrado Garrido we
enjoyed the fantastic heronry; in the last 5 or 6 years Glossy Ibis
has colonised here, and there are now at least 50 pairs, along with
large numbers of Purple, Grey, Black-crowned Night
and Squacco Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, and
several pairs of Little Bitterns. This tremendous spectacle was
augmented by Great Reed Warblers, Purple Gallinules, the
ubiquitous Greater Flamingos and plenty of wildfowl. After a
coffee we headed back c.200m along the track to the small bridge
overlooking the lagoon where we'd seen the dark morph egret earlier.
Gill had caught a glimpse of a "dark bird with white in the wings"
dropping into a nearby channel, and sure enough it was the egret, this
time showing extremely well and allowing me to get some video footage by
pointing my camera down the telescope. The structure of the bill and all
other features strongly suggested Western Reef Egret of the west
African race gularis. After studying the bird at length we headed
back towards Coto del Rey, where we relocated the Red-necked Nightjar
(which had returned to its nest) and enjoyed stunning views of the bird
almost perfectly camouflaged on the ground. By this time (3pm) the heat
was starting to increase and we drove back to the hotel in El Rocio for
a two-hour siesta, during which we managed to catch up with highlights
of England's victory over Argentina in the World Cup. Claudio returned
at 5pm and we drove south of El Rocio to an area of grassy fields. As
soon as we stopped the car, I heard a farting sound coming from the
field (my ears must be used to it) and I immediately picked out the head
of the culprit, a male Little Bustard, its neck swelling with
each rasp. Apparently we had been quite lucky to pull this one back in
Donana (after dipping in Extremadura), as this was the only one that
Claudio had seen all year - they are declining quite sharply here. From
here we headed back north, and drove around the northern marismas back
to the Valverde centre via Stone Curlews, Spanish Sparrows,
Lesser Short-toed Larks and more Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. By
the time we got to the Valverde centre it was closed, but we scanned the
various lagoons for the main final target, Marbled Duck. Claudio had
warned us that these had become tricky in the last few weeks, so I was
resigning myself to missing out on them until Claudio found a pair on
the lagoon opposite where the dark morph egret was still performing. We
got good binocular views of the Marbled Ducks, but as we were
setting up the telescopes they disappeared, and after a further half
hour of searching we realised we had literally lost our Marbles. All
that remained was to drive back to the Coto del Rey for dusk, where we
had fantastic roadside views of a young Tawny Owl. At dusk, at
least two Red-necked Nightjars were performing their "kutok-kutok-kutoků."
display, and we had up to two birds flying around us. However, Claudio
reckoned that they weren't performing at their best due to the strong
breeze - I don't think we could complain too much though! What a day,
and many thanks to Claudio for his patience and tireless efforts in
showing us the birds.
After such a great day with Claudio we
took it a little easier today, and spent the morning and early afternoon
on the beach at Matalascanas. We then set off at 3pm towards Sevilla,
then south to the Laguna de Medina near Jerez, arriving just after
4.30pm. From the car park I was able to scope our final quarry,
White-headed Duck. By walking along the path that runs along the
southern edge of the lagoon we managed to get good views of at least 3
males and a female, although they could be tricky at times as they kept
close in to the near shore, and spent more time under the water than on
top of it! Across the lagoon, there were two huge flocks of Coot
that spread out like oil slicks across the surface, probably involving
between 1500-2000 birds in total. This is supposed to be a good site for
Crested Coot, but most of the birds were fairly distant and you would
need a slice of luck and considerable patience to pick one out. The
areas of water that did not contain Coots were filled with pairs of
Black-necked Grebes and wildfowl including Red-crested Pochard.
We spent the early evening in Jerez, walking around the Alcanaz fort
with its picturesque gardens, before driving back to El Rocio for our
final night at the Hotel Toruno.
Unfortunately the final morning in El
Rocio was not a pleasant experience for me, as a combination of too much
sun the day before and a particularly nasty stomach bug combined to
spectacular effect. This meant that the 6-hour drive back to Madrid had
to be done by Gill alone, while I curled up on the back seat of the car
in a pretty sorry state. We checked into the Hotel Avion again, which
was slightly expensive at 100 euros per night, but at least it was
convenient for the airport.
Took the hire car back to the airport
for 8.30am, and crawled onto the Easyjet back to Aberdeen via Luton. By
the time we got home both of us were feeling the effects of the bug,
although this unfortunate end to the holiday didn't spoil our enjoyment
of what had been a great trip. Can't wait 'til we go back!
Taxonomy and order of species follows that of the Collins Bird Guide
(Mullarney et al. 1999). Bold indicates a Western Palearctic lifer, bold
and underlined indicates a world lifer.
1. Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis. Several pairs at the
Laguna de Medina 8/6.
2. Little Grebe Tachybaptus podiceps. First noted at a pool in Bujaraloz
29/5; also fairly common in Coto de Donana.
3. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Only noted in Coto de Donana
e.g. Laguna de Rocina.
4. Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus. Singles at Laguna Primera de Palos
and El Acebuche 6/7; c.3 at the Valverde Centre 7/6.
5. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax. Fairly common around
the Valverde Centre 7/6.
6. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. Uncommon in Northern Spain, but common in
Southern Spain with colonies at Merida and the Valverde Centre.
7. Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides. Small numbers at the Valverde
8. Little Egret Egretta garzetta. 2 over Barcelona Playa de Catalunya
31/5; common in south.
9. Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis. A dark morph adult egret
considered to be of this species on the marismas near the Lucio Cerrado
Garrido Valverde Information Centre 7/6. Probably of the west African
race gularis. Many thanks to the birders who have sent their
comments to me on this bird following the photos I posted on
10. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea. First recorded in the Ebro valley 29/5;
common in southern Spain.
11. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea. Singles at Laguna Primera de Palos and
El Acebuche 6/6. Many pairs at the Valverde heronry 7/6 including
12. White Stork Ciconia ciconia. Singles seen over the road between
Madrid and Zaragoza 26/5 and in the Ebro Valley 29/5 were the only birds
seen in the north, but almost every pylon in some regions of Extremadura
had a pair, and the rooftops of Caceres and Trujillo had several pairs
with young. Fairly common in Donana.
13. Black Stork Ciconia nigra. 1 Penafalcon, 3 Portilla del Tietar
including a nesting pair on the cliff + 2 chicks 2/6; 1 over Trujillo
14. Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus. c.50 pairs Valverde heronry 7/6.
15. Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia. Fairly common around Donana.
16. Greater Flamingo Phoenicpterus ruber. On our first night in El Rocio
I counted at least 800 on the lagoon outside the hotel; common and
conspicuous in Donana.
17. Greylag Anser anser. Small numbers in Donana 5-8/6 e.g. 4 Laguna de
18. Shelduck Tadorna tadorna. One on the northern marismas in Donana
7/6, a late date according to Claudio.
19. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Common and widespread.
20. Gadwall Anas strepera. Fairly common in Donana.
21. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata. Small numbers in Donana 7/6.
22. Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris. A pair on the
marismas near Lucio Cerrado Garrido 7/6.
23. Common Pochard Aythya ferina. Small numbers in Donana.
24. Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina. Flocks of c. 100 birds on the
marismas 7/6 and at Laguna de Medina 8/6.
25. Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca. Only seen at Laguna Primera de Palos
and El Acebuche 6/6.
26. White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala. 3 males + 1 female
Laguna de Medina 8/6.
27. Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus. Single adults at Riglos 26/5; Boca de
Infierno (3 sightings of possibly the same bird), 2 together Gabardito
27/5; single adult over Boca de Infierno 28/5.
28. Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus. A few seen en route from Madrid 26/5;
common in the Pyrenees with excellent views at San Juan de la Pena,
especially from the telecom post. Common and conspicuous in Monfrague,
with possibly the best views at Penafalcon in the late afternoon. 2 were
seen distantly in Donana 7/6.
29. Black Vulture Aegypius monachus. Several sightings in Monfrague
1-2/6, with Mirador de la Bascula being probably the best site (4+ on
the evening of 1/6).
30. Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus. Adults seen over Riglos 26/5
and the campsite at Hecho 28/5 and 29/5; 2+1 San Juan de la Pena 28/5;
several sightings in Monfrague including nesting birds on the cliffs
amongst the Griffons.
31. Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. A second calendar year bird near St
Marta de Magasca 3/6.
32. Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti. An adult seen from
the Mirador de la Bascula 2/6.
33. Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus. Singles seen in various
locations, fairly common in Monfrague.
34. Booted Eagle Hiareetus pennatus. Several light morph birds in the
Pyrenees and Monfrague; the only definite dark morph birds we saw were
at Portilla del Tietar 2/6 and in Donana 7/6.
35. Red Kite Milvus milvus. Common in the Pyrenees esp. in the Hecho
Valley, less common in Southern Spain.
36. Black Kite Milvus migrans. Common and widespread.
37. Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus. One flew across the
108 west of Navalmoral 1/6, but better views were had of two birds
hunting near Monroy in the early evening 2/6.
38. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. First seen in the Ebro Valley
29/5; several Coto de Donana 5-8/6.
39. Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus. A male seen from the Castillo de Loarre
40. Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus. Small numbers in the Ebro Valley
and around Belchite 29/5; common around the Caceres/Trujillo plains
3-4/6; also small numbers in Donana.
41. Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. Fairly common and widespread.
42. Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. Singles at San Juan de la Pena 28/5 and
Portilla del Tietar 2/6.
43. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus. Fairly common and widespread.
44. Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni. Hunting parties of up to 12 birds
over the Caceres/Trujillo plains near La Encinilla 3/6; 20+ Trujillo
town centre 3/6; 10+ Caceres town centre 4/6.
45. Hobby Falco subbuteo. One sat in a field near Laguna la Playa 30/5.
46. Peregrine Falco peregrinus. Adult over Penafalcon 2/6.
47. Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa. Singles noted in various
48. Quail Coturnix coturnix. One heard calling from the tent in Hecho
49. Moorhen Gallinula chloropus. Fairly common in southern Spain.
50. Coot Fulica atra. Huge flocks at Laguna de Medina 8/6; large numbers
51. Crested Coot Fulica cristata. Excellent views of a pair plus
two young on the marismas near the Valverde centre 7/6. One of the
adults was from the reintroduction scheme and carried a neck collar
52. Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio. Fairly common in Donana, esp.
at the La Rocina pools, El Acebuche and around the Valverde Centre.
53. Great Bustard Otis tarda. 1+6 near La Encinilla; 2 north of Belen
54. Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax. Excellent views of a calling male
south-west of El Rocio 7/6. They are surprisingly difficult at this time
of the year! Other British birders I spoke to had seen a male near La
55. Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta. Several small parties in Donana.
56. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus. First seen at small
roadside pools near Sarinena 29/5; subsequently seen in various
locations. Common in the south.
57. Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus. Heard at Belchite 29/5; 2 seen
near Villamanrique 7/6.
58. Collared Pratincole Glareola praticola. 2 were seen from the hotel
balcony at El Rocio 5/6; common around the fields and marismas of Donana
7/6; also a few over the road en route to Jerez 8/6.
59. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius. 2 El Acebuche 6/6.
60. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus. 2 Donana 7/6.
61. Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Only seen in and around Donana, where
fairly common around the marismas.
62. Dunlin Calidris alpina. A distant party of small waders in Donana on
7/6 were probably of this species; another was seen at the La Rocina
63. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. 1 on the river at Hecho 27/5
was the only one noted on the trip.
64. Common Redshank Tringa totanus. 2 in Donana 7/6.
65. Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa. Several large flocks in Donana.
Over 1000 were present at the La Rocina lagoon on the afternoon of 5/6
viewable from the hotel balcony.
66. Ruff Philmachus pugnax. A single bird in Donana 7/6.
67. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus. Fairly common and widespread
except in the north.
68. Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans michahellis. Several were seen
at El Garraf and Barcelona 30/5-1/6; also seen at La Rocina lagoon and
along the coast between Matalascanas and Huelva. Also several were
congregating at Laguna de Medina 8/6.
69. Little Tern Sterna albifrons. 1 at Laguna Primera de Palos 6/6;
small numbers in Donana 7/6.
70. Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis. 1 in Donana 7/6.
71. Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica. Several in Donana 7/6 over the
marismas; also a colony of c. 50 pairs on the northern marismas.
72. Common Tern Sterna hirundo. Small numbers in and around Donana.
73. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus. The only species of marsh tern
noted; fairly common in Donana and ever-present outside our hotel
balcony and restaurant at El Rocio.
74. Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis. Several small parties
were noted with excellent flight views, but never seen on the ground: 2
Belchite 29/5, 2+4+8+2 Laguna de la Playa 30/5; 3+2 La Encinilla 3/6.
75. Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata. A party of c.8 birds
were seen flying over Belchite on the evening of 29/5; another single in
flight at La Encinilla 3/6. Excellent views of a party of c.13 birds in
Donana on the morning of 7/6 enjoying dust baths at the roadside,
candidates for birds of the trip; parties of 2+3 birds were seen in
flight over the northern marismas in the afternoon of 7/6.
76. Rock Dove Columba livia. Small numbers of "genuine" birds at Riglos
77. Stock Dove Columba oenas. Occasional flyover birds at various
locations en route.
78. Woodpigeon Columba palumbus. Common and widespread.
79. Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto. Common in the north; also esp.
numerous around the monastery at La Rabida - I don't think I've ever
seen so many!
80. Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur. Fairly common and widespread, more
often heard than seen.
81. Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus. Heard at various locations, also
occasional birds seen flying over the road. Several were seen around La
Encinilla, sadly none had great spots e.g. 1 on 3/6, 4 on 4/6.
82. Tawny Owl Strix aluco. 2-3 birds were heard calling from the tent
every night at Hecho; excellent views of a grey morph bird in Donana
83. Eagle Owl Bubo bubo. 2 recently fledged juveniles on the cliffs at
Portilla del Tietar 2/6; also an adult heard calling there and another
(possibly the adult) seen flying along the ridge.
84. Little Owl Athene noctua. Fairly common; several were seen around
Los Monegros and also Monfrague and Donana. They seem to favour small
piles of rocks in open fields.
85. Scops Owl Otus scops. One, possibly 2 heard from the rooftops at
Hecho 28/5; also heard at Belchite on the morning of 30/5, and heard on
most nights from the tent at Monfrague.
86. European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus. One heard churring from the
tent at Hecho at 4am 28/5.
87. Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis. One flying around
a small clearing c.200m west of the Mirador de la Bascula 2/6; excellent
views of a bird on 2 eggs in the Coto del Rey, Donana 7/6; 2-3 birds
singing and flying around there in the evening.
88. Common Swift Apus apus. Numerous and widespread.
89. Pallid Swift Apus pallidus. Definite sightings near St. Marta de
Magasca 3-4/6 and Merida 5/6.
90. Alpine Swift Apus melba. First recorded over Barcelona city centre
with up to ten birds 31/5; excellent views around Monfrague and esp. at
the Roman bridge in Merida 5/6.
91. White-rumped Swift Apus caffer. 4-5 birds viewed from the
Sanctuario y Castillo de Monfrague 2/6.
92. Hoopoe Upupa epops. Common and widespread.
93. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. 2 at Laguna Primera de Palos 6/6.
94. European Bee-eater Merops apiaster. Seen almost daily (except in
Barcelona area); fairly common and widespread.
95. European Roller Coracias garrulus. A superb adult right beside the
car near Escatron 30/5; 1ad+1juv between La Encinilla and St. Marta de
96. Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus. Over 20 sightings of this
noisy resident of Barcelona at various locations in the city 31/5.
97. Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. Heard only; 2 Gabardito 27/5, 1
heard at dawn from the campsite at Hecho 28/5.
98. (Sharpe's) Green Woodpecker Picus viridis sharpei. One flew over the
road near Zaragoza 26/5.
99. Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major. Singles noted at various
locations e.g. Riglos 26/5, Gabardito 27/5, San Juan de la Pena 28/5,
Sanctuario y Castillo de Monfrague 2/6.
100. Skylark Alauda arvensis. Fairly common and widespread.
101. Crested Lark Galerida cristata. The common lark, esp. abundant in
Extremadura - it is quite difficult to avoid running them over!
102. Thekla Lark Galerida theklae. Only definitely identified in
Monfrague; most Galerida larks had to go down as "Creklas".
103. Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla. Common and
widespread, esp. in Los Monegros.
104. Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens. 15-20 birds were seen
at the roadside amongst the northern marismas in Donana 7/6, including
several singing birds.
105. Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra. Excellent views of c. 4 birds
displaying at Belchite 29-30/5; common around Los Monegros esp. at
Laguna de la Playa, also seen in Donana with 2 on 7/6.
106. Dupont's Lark Chersophilus duponti. 3-4 singing at the
Lomazas steppe reserve, Belchite from 8.30pm onwards; 6+ singing around
the car park the next morning. Very brief views of one bird on the
evening of the 29th; slightly better views of a bird on a track on the
107. Sand Martin Riparia riparia. Strangely, this bird was only recorded
in small numbers in Donana near the Valverde centre 7/6.
108. Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris. Fairly common and widespread;
excellent views in the Pyrenees and in Monfrague.
109. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. Common and widespread.
110. Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica. Seen in various locations, but
absent from the Pyrenees. Excellent views from the Sanctuario y Castillo
de Monfrague 2/6.
111. House Martin Delichon urbica. Common near human habitation.
112. Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris. Gill found a splendid displaying
bird near the telecom post at San Juan de la Pena 28/5.
113. White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba. Fairly common and widespread.
114. (Spanish) Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae. Numerous around
the marismas in Donana 7/6.
115. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea. Pair at Boca de Infierno 27-28/5;
also seen in Monfrague 2/6.
116. Wren Troglodytes troglodytes. Common in the Pyrenees and wooded
117. (Black-bellied) Dipper Cinclus cinclus. A pair were frequenting the
gorge at Boca de Infierno 27-28/5.
118. Dunnock Prunella modularis. Fairly common only in the Pyrenees, not
seen in Extremadura or Donana.
119. European Robin Erithacus rubecula. Fairly common in the Pyrenees
120. Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos. Common in the Pyrenees,
Extremadura and Donana (esp. at La Rocina and El Acebuche); a recent
fledgling was seen at La Rocina 5/6.
121. Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus. Heard only near Hecho
122. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros. Common and widespread.
123. Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe. Fairly common in Los Monegros
124. Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe hispanica. A female near
Castillo de Loarre 26/5; c.4 Monfrague 1-2/6.
125. Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura. A splendid male feeding
young at the base of the cliffs at Riglos 26/5.
126. Stonechat Saxicola torquata. Small numbers seen in various
locations; a family party at Laguna de Medina 8/6.
127. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius. Fairly common in Monfrague,
with birds seen at Portilla del Tietar, Penafalcon and the Sanctuario.
128. Rock Thrush Monticola saxatalis. A single distant bird near
129. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos. Fairly common in the Pyrenees.
130. Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus. Only recorded at Gabardito 27/5.
131. Blackbird Turdus merula. Common and widespread.
132. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla. Numerous in the Pyrenees and Monfrague.
133. Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala. Seen and heard in various
locations e.g. El Garraf 31/5, El Acebuche 6/6.
134. Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis. Seen and heard in various
135. Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans. 2 at Mirador de la Bascula
136. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis. Common and widespread.
137. Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides. Singing birds in Donana at
El Acebuche and La Rocina (2+).
138. Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti. Fairly common, heard at various
139. Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus. Family party of 4 birds at La
140. Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus. One at Laguna Primera
de Palos 6/6; common around the Valverde centre 7/6.
141. Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli. Several singing
birds in the woods around the lower monastery at San Juan de la Pena
142. Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita. Singing birds in the
Pyrenees at Gabardito 27/5 and San Juan de la Pena 28/5.
143. Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus brehmii. A singing bird below the
Sanctuario y Castillo de Monfrague 2/6.
144. Goldcrest Regulus regulus. Fairly common in the Pyrenees.
145. Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus. Small numbers at Gabardito 27/5 and
several in the woods around the lower monastery at San Juan de la Pena
146. Spotted Flycatcher Musciapa striata. Common in the woodlands around
La Rocina 5/6.
147. Great Tit Parus major. Common and widespread.
148. Coal Tit Parus ater. Common in the Pyrenees.
149. Blue Tit Parus caeruleus. Common and widespread.
150. Crested Tit Parus cristatus. 2-3 Gabardito 27/5.
151. Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus. A couple of family parties in
152. Nuthatch Sitta europaea. 2 San Juan de la Pena 28/5.
153. Treecreeper Certhia familiaris. Only certainly identified at San
Juan de la Pena 28/5.
154. Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia familiaris. 2+ San Juan de la Pena;
also a confiding individual at the Monfrague campsite 3/6 giving its
characteristic insistent, accelerating call. 2 heard in the Coto del Rey
155. Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio. Fairly common in the Pyrenees
esp. in the Hecho Valley.
156. Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator. The commonest shrike, encountered
throughout the trip.
157. Southern Grey Shrike Lanius (excubitor) meridionalis. First seen at
Belchite, a single on 30/5; also seen in Monfrague 1-2/6 and 2 along the
road to La Encinilla 4/6.
158. Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus. Common in Extremadura, and
10+ confiding individuals were seen daily around the campsite. Also seen
daily in Donana, esp. at El Acebuche.
159. Black-billed Magpie Pica pica. The first bird seen on the trip in
Madrid, common and widespread.
160. Jay Garrulus glandarius. Small numbers seen in various locations
e.g. Portilla del Tietar 2/6.
161. Jackdaw Corvus monedula. Common throughout.
162. (Red-billed) Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. Fairly common in the
Pyrenees, and a nest with 3 well-developed young was found inside the
walls of the Castillo de Monfrague 2/6.
163. Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus. Only seen at Gabardito 27/5
164. Carrion Crow Corvus corone. Fairly common throughout.
165. Raven Corvus corax. Small numbers seen in various locations
166. Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor. Common throughout; no definite
Common Starlings were identified in Northern Spain.
167. House Sparrow Passer domesticus. The common sparrow, esp. around
168. Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniola. Local, but large flocks (500+)
were seen around La Encinilla and St. Marta de Magasca 3-4/6; also seen
nesting in a White Stork nest in northern Donana near Villamanrique. A
site mentioned in the Gosney guide at a bridge over the Rio Almonte
north of Caceres only had House Sparrows, but there were excellent views
of Alpine Swifts here.
169. Tree Sparrow Passer montanus. Small numbers seen around the
Ciudadela in Jaca 29/5.
170. Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia. Nesting in the walls of the
Castillo de Loarre; 2 at the Hecho Campsite 28/5; large colony (c.100
pairs?) in the walls of the Ciudadela at Jaca 29/5.
171. Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Common and widespread.
172. Linnet Carduelis cannabina. Fairly common, esp. at Merida 5/6.
173. Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis. Common in gardens and parks.
174. Greenfinch Carduelis choris. Common in gardens and parks.
175. Siskin Carduelis spinus. Only recorded in the Pyrenees.
176. Citril Finch Serinus citrinella. Fairly common in the woods around
San Juan de la Pena, esp. near the car park at the Upper Monastery
(sometimes feeding on the gravel at the side of the track), and at the
T-junction where the road leads off to the telecom post.
177. Serin Serinus serinus. Fairly common in gardens and woodland.
178. Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula. 3 near Boca de Infierno 27/5.
179. Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes. 1+1 at Sanctuario y
Castillo de Monfrague 2/6, including excellent views of one on the path.
Another roadside single was seen in Monfrague on 4/6.
180. Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra. Heard only at Gabardito 27/5
and San Juan de la Pena 28/5.
181. Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus. Only seen at Laguna de Medina
182. Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus. Single in Monfrague 2/6.
183. Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra. Fairly common throughout esp. the
plains around Trujillo/Caceres.
184. Rock Bunting Emberiza cia. Singles seen at various locations in the
Pyrenees e.g. Castillo de Loarre 26/5, and Monfrague 1-2/6.
185. Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild. Good views of 4 seen from the
Roman bridge in Merida 5/6.
Montpelier Snake - 1 near Monroy 2/6. A couple of unid'd snakes were
also seen on the road.
Wild Boar - 1 a little too close for our liking on the road up to the
telecom post at San Juan de la Pena 28/5.
Red Squirrel - fairly common in the Pyrenees.