Extremadura – Darren Wilson

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Been a few years since I’ve visited Extremadura but I’m so happy to get reacquainted with this extraordinary birding area. For lovers of Birds of Prey like myself this is as good as it gets. Certainly in Europe anyway. And it did not disappoint. From the Mirador del Salto probably treble figures of Griffon, 2 Black and 3 Egyptian Vulture were evident and gave great views. Other raptors seen here were a handful of Black Kite, a Booted Eagle, a Short-toed Eagle, a Bonelli’s Eagle, a Kestrel and a Peregrine on the cliff face behind the viewpoint. Both species of Stork were on nests and the fluting song of Golden Oriole echoed around the valley. But the bird of the day for me strangely was a brace of White-rumped Swift which showed really well, a first for me having missed this species last time I came here.

The bird of prey fest continued on Wednesday with a few hours spent at the Mirador Tietar that, if anything, is even better than Peñafalcon. The star attraction here is the Spanish Imperial Eagle and this adult was showing all morning. It was also joined by another later on. Apart from the ever present Griffon Vultures and Black Kites, 2 Black Vulture, an Egyptian Vulture and a Peregrine were also seen. A Beech Marten briefly appeared along the shoreline.

Lesser Kestrels and great coffee. The perfect way to start any Thursday. The old part of the Plasencía is great for a touch of urban birding with at least 4 Lesser Kestrels seen, over a thousand Swifts screaming overhead, Crag Martins, Black Redstart and of course the wonderful White Storks all seen on or around the old medieval walls.

Back at the Peñafalcon viewpoint for Friday. Plenty of raptors around. Daily maxima were 70 Griffon, 3 Black and 2 Egyptian Vultures, 5 Black Kite, 2 Booted Eagle and a pair of acrobatic Peregrine. Black Stork were present as usual and I saw half a dozen White-rumped Swift for good measure.

My last day here for now anyway, so I thought of something a little different. I visited the Arrocampo Reservoir. Beautiful spot with lots of birdlife. Great White Egret, Squacco, Little and Cattle Egret were present with very good numbers of Purple Heron. I had at least six at one point. Spanish Sparrow, Common Waxbill and Gull-billed Tern were added to my weekly list. If you visit this place my advice is you have to drop in at the centre to pick up the key for the hides. Through my keenness to start birding I just headed straight for the reserve!

Anyway on to the Picos next!