Thursday, March 26, 2015

Muchas avutardas y dowitcher!

Quick update from Spain - limited internet access here. 
I want to begin with warm congratulations to the winning teams of the Champions of the Flyway race that took place yesterday in Eilat: Cape May Dippers and the JBO Orioles. Well done! I enjoy Spain very much but during the last few days my heart was in Eilat. Next year.

Yesterday I joined the census team working in the northern part of La Serena, near Orellana and Talarrubia. 
We met at Puebla de Alcocer. The old monastery there is an amazing bird hotel, or maybe better described these days as bird brothel. Everyone was having a good time there - huge rooftop orgy of Lesser Kestrels, White Storks and Spotless Starlings.

A spotless kind of love 

The census itself was rather slow with few Great Bustards (about 50) and no Little Bustards at all. I was impressed though by good density of Montagu's Harriers - up to 30 pairs were seen.

Montagu's Harrier - female

After we were done I headed north to Caceres, towards Sierra de Fuentes. Thanks to info from Rare Birds in Spain, I went to look for the Long-billed Dowitcher that had been present at Embalse de Guadiloba, near Caceres for some days. Took me some time to relocate it, but eventually had good scope views of it. Unfortunately, while I was trying to reposition myself all the flock it was in was spooked by a Marsh Harrier. They all came back (Dunlins, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Redshanks, Greenshanks and a Blackwit) but the dowitcher. I searched for it for some more time but with no success. Anyway, what a cool bird! Certainly not a WP tick I was expecting to encounter here in Extremadura - I was hopimg to see it in Cley or Eilat.

Long-billed Dowitcher, Embalse de Guadiloba

Today I censused in the beautiful plains of Sierra de Fuentes. This is probably the densest site in Extremadura - we had over 550 Great Bustards today, including some impressive flocks. Still very cold and windy today so display is minimal. Little Bustards are doing pretty bad apparently - only about 50 today.

Quite a few vultures feeding on dead cows and sheep scattered on the plains:

Black Vulture

Sierra de Fuentes


  1. Great to see you saw so many different birds and the rare sighting of the Long-billed Dowitcher. A bit off course.