Friday 4 May 2018

Rio Tozo, Rio Almonte, Castilla de Monfragüe, Peña Falcón / Salto del Gitano, Fuente del Francés bridge, Salto de Torrejón in Monfragüe PN. Extremadura.

A great day in the Natural Park.
Day Seven: Doñana and Extremadura tour. 

Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) male with a Bush Cricket.
Again we had a great breakfast before we headed out to the bullring down in the town and after parking up we searched the area again and found Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and eventually a couple of pairs of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) female.
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) male.
After getting some shots of the Lesser Kestrels we headed North making our way back up to the Monfragüe park, our first stop was at the bridge over the Rio Tozo where we parked and scanned up and down stream picking up Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling and the first of many Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) male.
In the river hiding amongst the carpets of Water Crowsfoot were dozens of very noisy Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Water Crowsfoot.
We moved on North and made a second stop at the Rio Almonte where we first of all went up on to the bridge and watched a soaring Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a pair of Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), more Black Kites and on a nearby ridge a good numbers of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) along with a couple of European Blacks (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus). 
Watching the Vultures.
After a while we took the track down to the river and found a Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops) on grass at the track side as well as several Small Whites (Pieris rapae). 
Rio Almonte.
Birds included a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
A verge by the Rio Almonte.
We drove further along the road and reached the Castillo where I drove up to the top and dropped the group off and then dropped back down to the car park at the bottom where I parked before walking back up to the top. 
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops).
On the way I met Teresa Farino who I had heard a lot about but never met, so it was good to have a chat and catch my breath. The bus came up as we were chatting and Teresa flagged him down so I hopped on for the last steep bit. 
Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche Melanops).
On the walk up I had seen Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Branched Asphodel (Asphodelus ramosus), Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum), Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer), Shrubby Jasmine (Jasminum fruticans), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata).
The amazing views from the Monfragüe castle.
I caught up with the others and from the top of the castle we saw European Black, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti), Black Kites, House Sparrows, House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow, Serin and on the way back down to the van at the bottom of the hill we added Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Stork (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra) and two singing Western Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) which showed very well for us.
The amazing views from the Monfragüe castle.
Once we made it to the van we dropped down to the parking at Peña Falcón where we saw more Griffon and European Black Vultures, a couple more male Blue-rock Thrushes, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), a Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) which showed well in the lower car park and on the rocks opposite, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and stunning male Western Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) which sang in some willows along the roadside giving us good views.
Branched Asphodel (Asphodelus ramosus) on the walk up to the castle.
The next stop was at the Fuente del Francés bridge over the Rio Tajo where we saw a couple of Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) in amonsts the masses of House and Crag Matins, Griffon Vultures and Black Kite
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) from the castle.
We walked a short way along the side of the lake amongst the picnic tables where we found several Chapman's Green Hairstreak (Callophrys avis) and a couple of Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria).
Shrubby Jasmine (Jasminum fruticans).

Birds included Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Moth species.
Next came lunch at Villareal de San Carlos and then our last stop of the day was in the pine woods at Salto de Torrejón where we soon found a Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) which was entering a nest hole in a dead tree, Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), a fine male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which showed brilliantly, Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and a calling but secritive Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
More Vulture watching at Peña Falcón.
We drove back down to Trujillo and after a quick sort out we went out into the main square for our evening meal.
At Peña Falcón.
Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) male.
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Western Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) male.
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Chapman's Green Hairstreak (Callophrys avis).

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