Monfrague National Park and the old road to Monroy

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We spent Monday and Tuesday this week in the National Park. On Monday we started by driving up to the castle where a large raptor flew along just above us, it was a Spanish Imperial Eagle, a bird we had been hoping to see so a good start to the day. We watched a Blue Rock Thrush being mobbed by Crag Martins here before heading down to the Salto de Gitano viewpoint where Griffon Vultures were the most numerous bird but with good numbers of Black Vulture to add interest. John could hear a small bird calling in a nearby tree and after much searching we finally got a view of it. I was pleased to find it was a Rock Bunting, a bird I haven’t managed to see for the last few years. On our way around the park we saw plenty of Azure Winged Magpies and also quite a few Deer were nice to see. At the far end of the park where there is a viewpoint and hide we watched a couple of Wrens flying around and could hear a Cetti’s Warbler calling from below us near to the water line.

On Tuesday we set off along the old road to Monroy where we may have encountered Spanish Sparrows but annoyingly the large flocks of small birds we saw flew away from us as soon as we got close to them. We were quite pleased, however, to see our first Cranes of the winter with a small group of them standing under some trees, a lovely sight. The area was quite quiet due to the time of the year, but we were expecting that as we normally visit here in the spring when a lot more summer birds are around and are more active and visible.

On our second visit  to Monfrague we had a large group of Vultures flying overhead near the La Tajadilla picnic area, including Griffon and Black Vulture, an amazing sight if a little spooky and not ideal for anyone who has a bird phobia!