Day 38 17.05.2015
Having finished our survey work we began a couple of days birding casually in Monfrague National Park. Even as we drove through the park there were plenty of birds; Griffon, Egyptian and Black Vultures all in abundance, as well as Black Stork. Passerines were also in good numbers; Melodious Warbler, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting plus finally connecting with Cirl Bunting, with a couple of individuals seen during the afternoon including a singing male. In the evening we headed up to the castle to watch White-rumped Swifts and they more than performed, with birds coming into the castle to their nests, providing us with brilliant fly-by. An awesome way to spend the evening!
-Eurasian Griffon Vulture
Monfrague National Park: White Stork, Black Stork, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Feral Pigeon, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, White-rumped Swift, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Iberian Water Frog, Iberian Painted Frog, Mediterranean Pond Terrapin, Large Psammodromus, Small White, Large White, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, False Ilex Hairstreak, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Southern Gatekeeper, Red-veined Darter,
Day 39 18.05.2017
This was our one and only full day in Monfrague, so it was an unfortunate development that the wind picked up overnight. Despite this we made the best of it, and whilst it seemed to have reduced the abundance of Cirl Buntings, other birds were not too badly affected it seemed. We first headed just out the park to a site for the buntings and Crested Tit. The Buntings were nowhere to be seen, but we had a good session with 4 Crested Tits. Sadly they did not really sit for photos, but they were such beautiful birds I can’t say that I really minded. A Subalpine Warbler was also present, but shared the same problem as all the others we have seen in that it remained within the bushes. A stunning male Common Redstart was a surprise, as it was a trip tick, and not something we had expected for the day. A couple of butterfly lifers was also nice; Black-veined White and Spanish Gatekeeper. The former was very nice after I had been unable to clinch one earlier in the trip.
After spending the first half of the morning in the woods, we headed off to a watchpoint for Spanish Imperial Eagle. The birds were not as regular as they had been at this site, as they had failed with their nest, but we hoped for a flyby and after a short wait we struck lucky. Sadly it was very brief and its second appearance was equally as brief so we returned in the evening. In the evening we had much better views of an adult flying near the ridge behind us. It did not fly particularly low but low enough to see detail on the wings and feathers. Obviously brilliant to see, and about time given we have been in Iberia for over 6 weeks.
-Spanish Imperial Eagle
After spending time with the eagle we continued driving slowly up the road in the hope of finding some Cirl Buntings. We initially heard them and then finally saw well a small group of around 10 buntings feeding near the road. They came fairly close and we were finally able to get some good shots. At the same spot Re’a picked out a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, which when we investigated, found a nest hole, and could clearly see the adults bringing in food. That was a pretty cool, and a lifer I did not expect for the trip. After dark we did a slow night drive along the main road, but Red Deer were all that we could manage.
Monfrague National Park: White Stork, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Black Vulture, Black Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Common Swift, House Martin, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Greater-spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Common Redstart, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, Western Subalpine Warbler, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Small White, Large White, Black-veined White, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, False Ilex Hairstreak, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Spanish Gatekeeper, Red-veined Darter,
Day 40 19.05.2017
Today is our final full day, and last day of any meaning, in Iberia. We only had the morning birding before heading back to Campo Maior as a half way stop before our trip to Lisbon tomorrow. We called off at Almarez Reservoir on the outskirts of Monfrague for some birding before we began wrapping it up. The site was pretty good, with a number of wetland birds present, especially Purple Heron and Little Bittern which we found in some number. Purple Swamphen was also present although typically skulking, and we had good views of Great Reed Warbler singing and heard several Savi’s Warblers, although we saw none. A nice end to the birding for our trip! On the way back we had a stop off at a petrol station to fill up, and here we had some nice views of Azure-winged Magpie. They were pretty upset with a Black Kite that flew over, and a posse of at least 10 Magpies followed the Kite until it had left.
Almarez Reservoir: Cormorant, Great-white Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Red Kite, Booted Eagle, Great-crested Grebe, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Little Bittern, Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Squacco Heron, Gull-billed Tern, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Greenfinch,