Saturday, 13 May 2017

Iberia: Extremadura Ebird big day 13 May

Day 34 13.05.2017
It’s crazy but this will be our last day off before we head for a couple of chilled out days in Monfrague. Today was the Ebird big day, so we set ourselves a target of trying to see as many species as possible throughout Extremadura. Ebird is a website for recording bird sightings all across the world, and this is an annual event. We had a local birder, Fergus, with us to help us out, plus he was a friend of Yoav’s.
First we went to Montijo Dam where we had our Herons and a few other waterbirds. Squacco Heron was the obvious highlight here, with a couple of nice birds showing fairly well. Black-crowned Night Heron was also a nice addition to the day list, and I finally trip-ticked Tree Sparrow.
Next we drove on to a vineyard near Almendralejo for Rufous Bush Robin. It took some time before we located this beautiful and charismatic bird, but we did connect with a singing male. Sadly it did not show its tail while we were watching it. Obviously a cracking lifer and a superb bird! Following our time here we continued driving towards Hornachos, and area of cork oak woodland and mountains. Along the way we picked up a few raptors; Booted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture etc. An Imperial Eagle was seen but I can’t justify ticking it on the views that I got, so I’ll wait for that one.
-Rufous Bush Robin
Once in Hornachos we searched the woodland picking up a steady trickle of species. Black Stork was nice and we also got 2 Little Terns, dunno what they were doing in a small pond in the middle of a wood but whatever. Rock Sparrow was also common here, and we had a few Waxbills too. Subalpine Warblers were fairly abundant but continued their trend of being a nightmare to photograph. Once we had scoured the woodland we continued to the mountains where we had a couple of distant Black Wheatear. I also added a butterfly lifer in the form of Marsh Fritillary, although the views were far from ideal.
-Marsh Fritillary
After lunch we continued on our way, heading towards La Serena for the steppe birds. We connected with all our targets, including both Sandgrouse, both Bustards, plus all the Larks. We finally had a Calandra Lark that decided to show well, finally allowing me to get some photos of this species that I’m pleased with.
-Calandra Lark
Once we wrapped up on the steppes we moved on to a stretch of river north of Merida. Here we hoped to wrap up the day with a few final river species. It was a really nice evening with good numbers of warblers singing, including hearing my first ever Savi’s Warbler. A Kingfisher was a nice addition to our trip list, a long overdue addition it has to be said. A couple more Little Terns, plus Little Bittern and Purple Heron made it a really nice end to our day.
-Azure-winged Magpie
For the last few hours of the day we tried to wrap up our owls and nightjars. Sadly we failed with owls, but we had a great performance from Red-necked Nightjar, including a single bird sat on the track right in front of the car, finally allowing us to get a good view of one. There was also a steady stream of herons and egrets going to roost, including Glossy Ibis and Black-crowned Night Heron.
-Red-necked Nightjar

Species List:

Extremadura, Ebird Big Day: Mallard, Gadwall, Red-legged Partridge, Quail, Great-crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Little Bittern, White Stork, Black Stork, Spoonbill, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Black-winged Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Collard Pratincole, Black-headed Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove, Feral Pigeon, Collard Dove, European Cuckoo, Red-necked Nightjar, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Sand Martin, House Martin, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Wren, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Stonechat, Rufous Bush Robin, Nightingale, Blue Rock Thrush, Subalpine Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Penduline Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Jay, Chough, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, Golden Oriole, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Serin, Linnet, Hawfinch, Common Waxbill, Corn Bunting, Rock Bunting, 

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