With 20 fellow members of the Andalucia Bird Society, led by local guide and ABS member, William Haworth accompanied by his assistant Neil Renwick, we spent a most enjoyable days birding in glorious weather on the eastern border of Badajoz province in Extremadura in search of some of the most iconic species of the area's steppe and rice field habitat. And what a start to the day it was. Nevermind the calling Collared Doves, gathered in the car park of the Hotel Don Juan we looked over the fence and adjoining road and there in the stubble field was a small group of Stone Curlew; a most auspicious start to the day and promise of great sightings to come. Indeed, between the group we managed to record just on 80 species during the day.
|Some of the hapy members looking forward to a great day's birding|
But before reaching our first reservoir we managed two separate sightings of a handful of Great Bustards. The second group of four were a little further away from the road up against a distant fence but, at least, it did mean that every member of the group had recorded the species.
|Distant record shot of Great Bustards Avutarda Hubara Otis tarda|
|Soaring Black Vulture Buitre Negro Aegypius monachus|
|Distant record shot of the male Hen Harrier Aguilcho Palido Circus cyaneus|
Working our way back towards Obando along a country road over the steep territory we added Crag Martin and Linnet along with the first of a few Lesser Kestrel. Not so much the Wood Pigeons but the flocks of Calandra Larks caught our attention followed by the lovely sight of a quartering male Hen Harrier. Then it was a limited number of Golden Plover and the first Red-legged Partridge of the week-end and a number of Meadow Pipits.
|Great White Egret Garceta Grande Egretta alba|
|And in came the Cranes Grulla comun Grus grus|
Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal,Red-legged Partridge. Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Squacco heron, cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Coot, Crane, Great Bustard, Stone Curlew, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, tree Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.