Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Iberia: Merida & Trujillo 14 - 17 May

Day 35 14.05.2017
It’s crazy to think that we are now into the last week of working. So many birds have been seen, but there’s still so much more to see, and that was demonstrated today. We headed off La Albuera, a small town, quite close to Badajoz. Despite birding in an area of endless agriculture, I had a really sweet mornings birding. Without a doubt the highlight was a small colony of Collard Pratincoles next to the track I was walking. They showed really well, such class birds. Also showing crazy well were the areas abundant Montagu’s Harriers. I stumbled across a 2 pairs of Rollers, as well as a single Great Bustard. Perhaps the real surprise were four Lapwings in the fields, not a species I was expecting for the morning.
-Montagu's Harrier
-Lapwing
-Collard Pratincole

Species List:
La Albuera: Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, White Stork, Montagu’s Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Black Kite, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Collard Dove, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Blackbird, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Small White, Large White, Green-striped White, False Ilex Hairstreak,


Day 36 15.05.2017
Today was our final day in Merida, although we were actually working in an area of Steppe half way between Merida and Trujillo, near Campo Lugar. Despite the habitat looking good there was a very limited array of birdlife. A few Little Bustards were a highlight, but apart from them it was a small assortment of common steppe birds. The only birds that were really different were three Roller, but sadly they were more distant than I would have liked. We also called off at a couple of the nearby reservoirs. The birdlife here was also limited, with a Red-crested Pochard probably being the best of it.
In the evening we started working near Trujillo. There was very little improvement it has to be said, although my first Red Kite for some time was nice, as was a very brief Great-spotted Cuckoo. Holly Blue was a nice butterfly trip tick, and I found an enormous Ocellated Lizard, with the individual being about 50cm long. An absolute beast!

Species List:
Campo Lugar: Little Bustard, Roller, Bee-eater, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Lesser Kestrel, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Linnet, Goldfinch, White Stork, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, Mallard, Gull-billed Tern, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Spotless Starling, Serin, Goldfinch, Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher, White Wagtail,
Trujillo: Red Kite, Great-spotted Cuckoo, Corn Bunting, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Black Kite, Mallard, White Stork, House Sparrow, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Thekla Lark, Western Dappled White, Holly Blue, Small Copper,

Day 37 16.05.2017
We continued working in the same area that we started the previous evening. I had a fairly pleasant morning, with double figures of both Great and Little Bustard, although seeing the latter was a completely different challenge. Distant views of Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Stone-curlew were also nice. Great-spotted Cuckoo and Red Kite were also still around, plus I had a Northern Wheatear, which is always awesome to see. There was a good selection of insects on offer, with many species of Butterfly and Dragonfly, with a lifer of Knapweed Fritillary, plus I had an Ant-lion which is only my second ever.
-Thekla Lark
-Scarlet Darter
-Knapweed Fritillary
In the evening I worked in an area of very small, very well grazed fields. Sadly this meant there were not too many birds. The highlight was a pair of young Great-spotted Cuckoo, which were being ferociously mobbed by a Magpie. Upon our return to the accommodation I found a Turkish Gecko hanging from the roof of our porch.

Species List:
Trujillo: Mallard, Great-crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, White Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Red Kite, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black-headed Gull, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Great-spotted Cuckoo, European Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern Wheatear, Stonechat, Iberian Grey Shrike, Jackdaw, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Serin, Corn Bunting, Spanish Psammodromus, Spanish Pond Terrapin, Western Dappled White, Green Striped White, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Southern Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Knapweed Fritillary, Scarlet Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser, Red-veined Darter, Dainty Damselfly,

Day 38 17.05.2017
Today was our final working day. Unbelievable to think but our time in Iberia is almost over. It was nice to end our work with a few Great Bustards, but sadly only one Little Bustard was heard. There were good numbers of Bee-eater around, and a Booted Eagle was nice. Overall though it was a fairly steady morning! The reptiles were much better. I had a really nice Montpellier Snake slither into a wall when it saw me, plus a few Wall Lizards, Psammodromus and Ocellated Lizard. There were quite a few butterflies on the wing, but nothing really different from previous days.
-Bee-eater

Species List:
Trujillo: Trujillo: Mallard, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, White Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Great Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Great-spotted Cuckoo, European Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Stonechat, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Spanish Psammodromus, Western Montpellier Snake Ocellated Lizard, Western Dappled White, Green Striped White, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Southern Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Black-tailed Skimmer, Western Clubtail, Dainty Damselfly, Southern Emerald Damselfly, 

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