First birding out side of Andalucía in a long while.
We made an early start and drove the three and a bit hours up to Tablas de Daimiel, a large area of wetlands with good board walks and trails which get you out and amongst the birds. On the way we had the briefest of views of a Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) which flashed across the road and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) which was sat on a roadside pylon. We arrived at the visitor centre and after sorting out a small orange juice leak we headed out on the yellow trail.
We started to see birds straight away with Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) being common throughout the visit in the Tamarisk trees which lined the route in many places, in the air we picked up Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). After a couple of hundred metres we came off the board walk and on to the first of a few raised islands which gave us views out over some open water areas, here we added Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) and heard the first of many frustratingly elusive Water Rails (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus). We moved on across a board walk to another island getting a quick view of a Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) as it can in from behind us and dropped into the reedy pool away to our left. From the next island we had nice views over a large pool in the reeds and picked up three Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), two Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and a fine female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). A little further on we turned on to another boardwalk out to a hide, on the way Stephanie pointed out a group of birds sat up on the reeds and when I got the bins on them I was delighted to see a flock of Bearded Tits (Reedling) (Bigotudo / Panurus biarmicus) containing at least 3 superb males and several females / juveniles, a Spanish lifer for me. We continued on out to the hide and as Ken had predicted it was not worth while so we retraced our way out to the nearby obsavation point which we equally not worth it as it was so far from every thing. We returned to the board walk and continued on around passing the hide again picking up a migrating Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), a Water Rail which showed well for Stephanie and myself but eludide Ken as he was just a few paces ahead of us, a juvenile Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), an immature Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) and on the fields on the far side of the pool there was a flock of Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser). On the last pool along this board walk we had a female Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and then find of the day a cracking Marbled Duck (Cerceta Pardilla / Marmaronetta angustirostris) which showed very nicely before swimming off into the vegetation. On the way back to the car we saw Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
Once we reached the car we drove a short way along the road before we turned off on to a track which we stayed on for a few KM picking up Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Southern Grey (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Marsh Harrier and another Osprey perched on a pylon.
Once back on the roads we started to make our way over towards Trujillo in Extremadura stopping on the way for lunch on a road side lay-by, here we picked up a nice Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus). A little later at Sierra de Puerto Pena where we had good views of Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We completed the journey and before we went to the hotel we had a look at Belen plains but things were quite quiet, however we did see Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Common Kestrel, Common Stonechat and Spotless Starling.After this visit we headed for the hotel and collapsed into our rooms after a very long day, the night ended with a view of a fantastic fireworks display over Trujillo castle which both Stephanie and Ken slept through.
Photographs from the top: 3x Marbled Duck (Cerceta Pardilla / Marmaronetta angustirostris), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).