Day 27 06.05.2017
For our first day based in Merida we drove an hour north to Sierra de Fuentes near Cacares. We will be working here for the best part of the week, but this is somewhat unfortunate as the birdlife was very limited today. I had a single Great Bustard fly past, but that aside the best I could manage was a flyover Bonelli’s Eagle. On the other hand, the reptile life was buzzing. I finally got a chance to spend some time with Moorish Geckos, which were showing very well along the walls of the roads. We also got a new species of wall lizard Guadarrama Wall Lizard, which was also quite abundant. A new species of damselfly was also a welcome addition to the day; Goblet-marked Damselfly. It was also crazy cool to find a massive centipede (20cm) under one of the rocks. Apparently it’s a Mediterranean Tiger Centipede, which has a ‘rarely fatal’ bite… Still it was pretty awesome to see!
-Mediterranean Tiger Centipede
-Guadarrama Wall Lizard
Sierra de Fuentes: Lesser Kestrel, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, European Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Raven, Jackdaw, Grey Heron, White Stork, Cattle Egret, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Serin, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Great Bustard, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Black Kite, Red Kite, Corn Bunting, Mallard, Gadwall, Moorhen, Common Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Moorish Gecko, Guadarrama Wall Lizard, Spanish Terrapin, Iberian Water Frog, Black-tailed Skimmer, Iberian Bluetail Damselfly, Goblet marked Damselfly, Meadow Brown, Western Dappled White, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Small Skipper, Brown Argus,
Day 28 07.08.2017
The morning walk included some pretty cool habitat and as I result I got decent views of Great Bustards, but frustratingly little besides. A few Griffon Vultures and European Black Vultures overhead were also quite nice. The evening transect was equally as poor, but with good numbers of Calandra and Short-toed Larks. A quite showy Tawny Pipit was probably the highlight of the day.
In between transects I was left in the area to explore the wooded hillsides near out transect squares. They were frustratingly disappointing, with only a few birds in them. A Spotted Flycatcher was a new bird for the trip for me, and a Black Stork that flew over was only the second of the trip. Short-toed Treecreeper was also nice, as were the few Woodlark that were singing. Long-tailed Blue and Dainty Damselfly were two nice insect lifers for me, about the best of it.
Sierra de Fuentes: Lesser Kestrel, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, European Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Raven, Jackdaw, Grey Heron, White Stork, Cattle Egret, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Serin, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Black Kite, Red Kite, Corn Bunting, Mallard, Gadwall, Moorhen, Common Swift, Woodlark, Short-toed Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Chaffinch, Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Spanish Sparrow , Iberian Water Frog, Black-tailed Skimmer, Iberian Bluetail Damselfly, Goblet marked Damselfly, Meadow Brown, Western Dappled White, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Small Skipper, Brown Argus,
Day 29 08.05.2017
For our day off we intended to try and catch up with a few of the species that we would not encounter on our transects. So we headed off to a small wooded valley in the hunt for cirl bunting and orphean warbler. We were not successful! We had no sign of cirl buntings and our orphean warblers were limited to distant heard only birds. Not an ideal way to spend the morning, especially given that there was not a great deal of other birdlife. I did have a butterfly lifer though; Queen of Spain Fritillary, a super looking butterfly.
-Queen of Spain Fritillary
In the afternoon, once the heat of the day had worn off, we headed back out hoping for a bit more luck. We met up with a Spanish birder that Yoav knew and he helped us with a few locations. We started by dipping pectoral sandpiper but did get nice views of Gull-billed Tern and added Black-tailed Godwit to my ‘birds I’ve seen in every country list’. After we climber the castle at Alange to watch the Swifts. We were finally in luck as we got distant views of two White-rumped Swifts. Not ideal views but we have finally seen them. The Alpine Swifts were amazing once again, and we had more Blue Rock Thrush and Crag Martin showing well. So a nice end to what had been a disappointing day up to that point.
Merida: Corn Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Griffon Vulture, Black Kite, Thekla Lark, Crested Lark, Melodious Warbler, Crag Martin, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Clouded Yellow, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Large White, Small White, Western Dappled White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Painted Lady,
Alange: Alpine Swift, Common Swift, White-rumped Swift, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Short-toed Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Kite, Cormorant, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Black-winged Stilt, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Gull-billed Tern, Black-headed Gull, Egyptian Vulture, Blue Rock Thrush, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret,