A day of driving, calling in at a bizarre Cathedral on the way North.
Winter break day one.
Jayne and I left the house just after 06:00 and started to make out way towards Madrid, at frist if was quite cloudy but just after dawn things brightened and by the time we reached Mejorada del Campo and parked out side the self build Cathedral called Nuestra Señora del Pilar in the town. Justo Gallego Martínez started to build the Cathedral in 1961 and is still at it ago 90+, it is still very much a project needing lots of work but well worth the visit. Whilst there we saw several White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) which were returning to nest on the building, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and some large flocks of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) which were passing over.
From here we continued North through the Sierra Guadarrama where we picked up a few species flying over the N1 including 2 Black / Cinereous (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus) and quite a few Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and a single Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
About 120KM north of Madrid we turned off the motorways and headed across country towards Palencia where we were stopping for our first night, on the way adding several birds to the list including White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). We also saw a small herd of deer which I think were probably Roe (Capreolus capreolus) and several Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
As we got closer to Palencia the weather took a nose dive and started to throw it down but undetured we had a nice walk around to the Cathedral and had some thing to eat before heading back to the hotel for the evening and an earlish night after a long day.
Photographs from the top: General shots of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar.