Saturday 29 June 2019

Travelling to Madrid, Via Leon and Fuentes de Nava.

On the road but some good birding on the way.
Somiedo and Travelling South, Day Eight.

Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus).
We started the day by driving South from Someido through the mountains and passed the Pooooo Pile spot where the male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) was sat up on the wires.
At the end of the road we turned to the East, towards Leon, on the way we made a stop on the road side to make use of some bushes but also pick up a few species including the first Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) of the trip which was singing from a nearby Hawthorn hedgerow. In the same area we heard Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) and saw a couple of Red-backed Shrikes (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), over a nearby ridge several Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and during the stop we heard both Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei).
Rooks (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus).
As we again continued on we had our only Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) down on the side of the road but to our horror it flew up as the van in front of us got there and bounced of its windscreen so all that most of the group saw was a cloud of yellow feathers. As we passed over one of the many river bridges on the way I saw a pair of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) did not get anyone on to them and as it was a busy road there was no place to turn around so this species remained a guide only for the trip.
As we continued to drive we also had a single Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), a couple of Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and several Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
We headed on and around the City of Leon until we reached the La Camdamia round about when we spotted a field full of Corvids which I thought looked like the some of the local population of Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus) so we turned into the city and then out to the fields. We soon confirmed that they were mostly Rooks as we thought along with a few Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Carrion Crows (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and a fly over White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
Rooks (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus).
We continued on and made a short stop (as it was dam hot) at a Mazuecos de Valdeginate where on the roadside church of San Migel we had great views of several Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) as well as Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
Just down the road we turned off and parked by the first hide over looking over the pools of La Corralillos and we soon boosted the list with several new species including Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Greater Flamingos (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and around the carpark lots of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) as well as a couple of Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).
We got back into the van and drove just down the road to the next car park and then walked out to the tower hide via the short boardwalk out to the screens over looking a couple of pools. As we walked out we heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a fly over Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
In the trees as we walked up to the tower hide we heard Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) but could not locate any of them but did see lots of finches including Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and out on the fields a couple of feeding Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax). We also found Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and Small Spreadwing (Lestes virens).
We climbed up to the top of the tower hide and quickly started to find even more species, down in the reeds there were a good number of Great Reed Warblers (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) singing loudly as well as a reeling Savi's Warbler (Buscarla Unicolor / Locustella luscinoides) somewhere off in the distant reeds.
On an area of water and on its muddy margins we picked out Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a few more White Storks.
Over the reeds in front of us and amongst the trees we had loads of Marsh Harriers but whilst there we also picked up male and female Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and more surprisingly a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which showed several times between two rows of trees in front of us.
Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis).
On a small pool just to the right of the hide we added several species to the heron list with singles of Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), a couple of Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) and several Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) scattered about.
After a while and as it was stinking hot I walked back to the van to bring it to the hide to save the group the walk back, just as I reached the board walk a single adult Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) flew out of the track side trees and away over the marsh and as I crossed the road to the car park 4 Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) flew up the field in front of me and over the ridge.
I collected the Van and drove up to the parking area and just as I got out of the Van a Short-eared Owl (Buho Campestre / Asio flammeus) flew from the marsh and out over the fields, I hoped the group might have had this bird fly in but unfortunately not so all three of the good species I had seen fetching the van remained as guide Only.
We spent a short while longer scanning from the hide but did not add anything else until we returned to the van when we heard a squealing Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and found several Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis),  so we decided to head for Madrid and the Hotel but just down the road we pulled off and quickly checked the next hide along the road, we added Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and down in the ditch a Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
We drove on and reached the hotel late afternoon and then went out for out last evening meal together in a very nice smart nearby restaurant.

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