Tuesday 1 May 2018

Hinojos, Doñana and travelling North, Embalse de Cornalvo, Merida and Belen Plain, Trujillo, Extremadura.

Lane near Hinojos with a lifer for Bob, a drive North dodging the storms, a nice stroll in amongst the Cistis shrubs and a quick look at the Belen Plain.
Day Four: Doñana and Extremadura tour.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
Before Breakfast I had a walk around the pool near my room and heard a calling Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) in the trees just the far side, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and a couple of Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus).
Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla).
Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla).

After breakfast we packed the van and then headed out to a country road near to Hinojos seeing Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We parked on a wide drive way just after starting up the road and searched the trees and Olive groves, we started off with several European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) in some poplars along the river, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) in the olives, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) which had a nest right in the roadside brambles so it was scolding us as we passed, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We walked further along the road to a junction and then down to the stream / river, on the verges we found Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea) in various shades, Borage (Borago officinalis), Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), Borage (Borago officinalis), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) and Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas). 
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
As we walked we heard a calling Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) which we eventually located it in a large poplar tree, we watched it for a while before it flew over us and called again from an Olive tree grove and then back into the poplar.
Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea).

The bird gave us good views which Bob was particularly pleased to see as it was a life he had wanted to see for a while.
Black Kite being mobbed a pair of Iberian Magpies.
Around one of the small holding buildings we found a couple of Tree Sparrows along with the common House Sparrows and down by the river we had views of a singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), both male and female Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and in the air above us a Black Kite being mobbed a pair of Iberian Magpies
The Oak Woods.
We moved along the road a short way and scanned an area of Vines and a hay meadow where we found Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and a pair of Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) which flew passed us and landed briefly on the road giving us good views. 
Cork Oaks (Quercus suber).
The verges here were full of the stunning Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) looking stunning with their large spiky flower heads and white veined green leaves.
In amongst the wild flowers.
Again we drove futher along the road to a different habitat amongst the Cork Oaks (Quercus suber) where we walked listening for woodland species, we soon heard calling Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax) passing over head, picked out a couple of Crested Lark out on a ploughed field, heard and saw Nightingale, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Common Swift and more singing Blackcaps.
Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer).

After a while I walked back to the van but left the group to walk on, as I got back to the start point a male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (Pico Menor / Dryobates minor) called and then flew out of a roadside tree. 
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
I reached the van and stood for a while to see if I could get another view of the Woodpecker but I did not see any but I could hear at least two calling males before I drove up and Passed the group before returning to them a few minutes later. As I met them we heard a third male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker calling, not bad as it was a Spanish lifer yesterday. We also had a few butterfly species once it had warmed up including Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice) and a few Clouded Yellows (Colias corcea). 
Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata).
We all jumped back on the van and we made our way off the site along several rather tight lanes which the satnav picked to get us out on to the motorway, on the way north before lunch we had Common Buzzard, Black Kites, White Storks and a couple of Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Walking back to the Van.
We stopped for lunch just off the motorway and the continued North picking up a nice male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and a few Linnets on the way to our next stop which was just above the Embalse de Cornalvo.
Wild flower fields.
We parked and walked down towards the lake through a wall of Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer), in the lower vegetation we found Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata), Small Pink Cistus (Cistus crispus), Branched Asphodel (Asphodelus ramosus), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) and Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus).
Branched Asphodel (Asphodelus ramosus).
Birds included a couple of Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and down by the lake a small flock of Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), a pair of Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a fly passed Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
We walked back up the hill to van and headed to Trujillo and then out on to the Belen Plain for a short while before booking in at the Palacio de Santa Marta in Trujillo. Out on the plain we saw loads of Corn Buntings, Crested and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) sat on a rock pile, several White Storks and a single reluctant to show it's self Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda).
Locals out on Belen Plain, near Trujillo in Extremadura.
On our way to the hotel Pierre spotted a good number of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) coming down on to a dead cow in a field, we sat and watched these birds and counted a total of 170 birds on the ground and in the air.
We made our way into the town, I knew there had been a fiesta on in the town but getting to the hotel was a bit of a pain and after not turning where Mike had said (sorry) it took a while longer but it was worth the effort as we managed to park just out side. We later had a good meal in the hotel restaurant. which was very nice and saved a search of a very busy main square for somewhere else.

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