The sun was shining and a clear day promised albeit the temperature outside the car was not scheduled to exceed about 14C. The usual birds, including both Red and Black Kites along with (common) Magpie and Azure-winged Magpie were recorded on the way to the Monfrague National Park as well as upon arrival. Indeed, Elena won the "bet" as the time taken from departure to record our first Buzzard of the day at 10 minutes. By the time we arrived at the river bend to watch the Griffon Vultures we had already seen our first soaring kettle and recorded Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Barn Swallow and House Martin.
|Black Kite Milano Negro Milvus migrans
Working our way down to the long bridge over the Tajo we explore the nearby car park and tracks and added Coal and Long-tailed, as well as both Great and Blue Tits, to the list. Also present were a number of Blackcap and a Robin in addition to the local population of Chaffinches.
|Long-tailed Tit Mito Aegithalos caudatus
|Griffon Vultures Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus at nest site
Rather than head off to our hotel for the night we stopped for a coffee break then drove over to the Arrocampo Reservoir and upon arrival were soon looking at Great White Egrets and Purple Swamphens. Lots of Chiffchaffs about and then a Little Bittern made a very brief appearance as it changed feeding sites in the reeds. Drifting over the water we had first a Red Kite then a handsome male Marsh Harrier followed by a second and a female. Even a male Hen Harrier put in an appearance. On the far bank a Little Egret and a pair of Great White Egrets.
Changing sites to the hide on the opposite side of the road we then saw more Purple Swamphens and hirundines along with both Cattle Egret and Cetti's Warbler whilst a single Zitting Cisticola put in a brief appearance and was quickly followed by a couple of Greenfinch on the track. Lots of Cormorants to be seen on the deeper water and a handful of Coot nearer to us.
|White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia
|Tree Pipit Bisbita Arboreo Anthus trivialis
|Red Kite Milano Real Milvus migrans over one of the Arrocampo hides
Leaving the House and Spanish Sparrows along with a few Jackdaw to feed near the resting animals, we finally started out to return the hide key back to the Information Centre and start our journey to the new hotel for the evening in Tejeda de Tietar.
|A snowy backdrop as we visited the Arrocampo Reservoir
|One way to make use of a birding hide!
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information