8th May – After a somewhat bumpy flight from Edinburgh to Madrid (caused by crossing the jet stream) we got quickly through the airport to collect our hire car. Leaving the airport was surprisingly straightforward and we were soon on the way to our overnight accommodation in Orepesa.
Soon we were seeing plenty of birds, although most of them were Magpies or Woodpigeons! Crested Larks were on the roadside and we soon saw our first White Storks, in fact plenty of them, on nests, flying or in fields.
Arriving at Orepesa we were met with numerous screaming Common Swifts, along with Swallows and House Martins.
9th May – After a pleasant night in the Parador, we went for breakfast in the town where one building had a whole row of House Martin nests under the eves, maybe 20 or more. Two churches and another building held several White Stork nests.
After breakfast we walked back to the hotel and had a wander around the gardens. Amazingly, we soon heard at least two Golden Orioles calling in the trees, although spotting one proved impossible.
We left Orepesa at about 11am and headed towards our accommodation in Torrejon El Rubio. The route took us through some lovely countryside and we were soon seeing more White Storks and several Black and Red Kites. In a field of cows there were numerous Cattle Egrets and eventually we saw our first Azure-winged Magpie as it flew across the road. It seemed like there were raptors every few hundred metres and one massive one was clearly a Black Vulture! Groups of Griffon Vultures were also seen in the air as well as a few unidentified raptors. It’s a bit tricky when your travelling at speed on the motorway!
We had a short stop at the Reservoir at Saucedilla where another White Stork nest was close by. A Black Kite flew low overhead as we walked towards the lagoon. Swallows and House Martins were plentiful and a Little Bittern gave good views as it flew over the water. A Little Egret and a Grey Heron flew around and Cetti’s Warbler and Great Reed Warbler were heard but not seen.
We continued on to Torrejon seeing more Kites, other raptors and a few more Azure-winged Magpies. We arrived at our apartment for the next few days and I was pleased to find another White Stork nest which could be seen from my seat on the sofa! Altogether a good start to our trip.