Mary’s Blog – Extremadura

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11th May

Today we did one of my favourite trips and we weren’t disappointed. We set off from Torrejon el Rubio with the local White Stork being our first bird. Black Kite, Azure-winged Magpie, House Sparrow and Hoopoe were soon added.

We headed towards Trujillo but, after about 8km we turned right onto the EX385 towards Monroy. Crested Larks were all along the road and we soon came to a very interesting field which held 2 Turtle Dove, 6 Song Thrush, Magpies and Spotless Starlings. A little further along we found our first Bee-eaters of the trip, perched on fencing and flying over the fields. A White Stork was by a pool and the first of many Corn Buntings was singing from a wire. A Black Kite was being mobbed by a Swallow.

After our coffee stop in Monroy we headed for the Río Almonte where Nightingales were singing, many House Martins and Crag Martins were nesting under the bridge and a Spanish Sparrow was ticked off my wish list for today, also nesting under the bridge. John saw a Kingfisher as it sped along the river.

Continuing on we entered the moorland area where Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Iberian Grey Shrike and a Woodchat Shrike were soon seen. Crested and Calandra Larks were everywhere, and possibly other larks which we weren’t able to identify.

Higher up on the moors there were Griffon Vultures, Black Kite, Common Swifts, Buzzard and a fantastic Short-toed Eagle. Brilliant views of a Brilliant bird!

We had our lunch at the picnic area near Santa Marta before heading down towards the Caceres to Trujillo road. We took the old road towards Caceres then entered what we like to call ‘the Roller road’, whuch goes back to Santa Marta. There used to be Rollers in the nest boxes on every post here but they were a lot more scarce the last time we were here in 2017. After not seeing any for a while we eventually found a Roller on the wire near a nest box. After taking lots of photos we continued on this road, finding a total of just four Rollers.

As we continued on this road we saw Red Kite, White Stork, Griffon Vultures, Black Kites, several Woodchat Shrikes and another Spanish Sparrow by the river Tamuja.

Next we turned towards Aldea de Trujillo on another road across moors where we spotted two raptors in the air which we were happy to identify as Montagu’s Harriers. Another Short-toed Eagle turned up later along with a Buzzard and a Booted Eagle. What a road! But it wasn’t over yet. Further along there must have been around 20 Black Kites perched on fence posts and another 30+ in the air. So many raptors!

We were heading back to our apartment now but passed through some dehesa habitat where numerous Azure-winged Magpies and Woodchat Shrikes were seen.

All in all another excellent day. I am using previous photos for now but will add new ones after we return home.

Species list – White Stork, Buzzard, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Red Kite, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Common Swift, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Crag Martin, Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Nightingale (HO), Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.