A group of 20 Norwegians, all members of the local ornithological society in the Oslo area, have been on an intensive birding-trip to "inland-Spain". We started in Alicante, went through Castillia-La Mancha to Extremadura. Then down to the northern parts of Andalucia, and back to Alicante via the region of Murcia. As one can imagine, a very intensive week. But this is almost a necessity, when a main goal is to see as many species as possible over a short time-period. The result:185 species!
Not so good, really, but gave the first sightings of Avocets (R. avosetta), Black-winged Stilts (H. Himantopus) and Red-crested Pochards (N. Rufina)
A lovely White-headed Duck (O. leucocephala), male, was seen. Also lots of Black-necked Grebes (P. nigricollis) and Pochards (A. ferina)
A Barn Owl (T. alba) was seen, and heard, during the evening and night. Some Quails (C. coturnix) also.
Lots of raptors! About 20 Black-Kites (M. migrans),a few Red Kites (M. milvus), 2 Black Vultures (A. monachus), 2 Black-winged Kites (E. caeruleus), 5 Booted Eagles (H. pennatus), 2 Short-Toed Eagles(C. gallicus) etc. Also the first observations of species like White Stork (C. ciconia), Azure-winged Magpie (C. cyana) and Great Spotted Cuckoo C. glandarius).
Again, lots of raptors. Over 60 Griffon Vultures (G. fulvus), 5 Short-toed Eagles, and an a pair of Imperial Eagle (A. heliaca) on the nest! Salto de Gitano, the famous cliff, gave both vultures and other raptors soaring together with 5-7 Black Storks. Monfrague was really impressive.
A beautiful town with lots of Lesser Kestrel (F. naumanni) and stork-nests. Both Scops Owl (O. scops) and Little Owls (A. notua) were heard from the castle. The numbers of owls, which were seen and heard during the week, were much more than expected.
Lots of storks (over 50), the first observations of Spanish Sparrow (P. hispaniolensis), lots of Cattle Egrets (B. ibis). 4 Little Bustards (T. tetrax) and 3 Great Bustards (O. tarda). 1 Spoonbill (P. leucorodia) was unexpected here.
A lovely steppe-area. The wet winter has almost made a garden out of it. No, bustards though, but amongst lots of larks we saw 6 Montagu's Harriers (C. pygargus) soaring together with a Booted Eagle.
The first two Bonelli's Eagles (H. fasciatus) were seen. Also a Golden Eagle (A. chrysaetos). Among Griffon- and Black Vulture an Egyptian Vulture (N. percnopterus)
7 Montagu's Harriers, again lots of Storks and Azure-winged Magpies. The first Roller (C. garrulus)- a bit early. This area also gave the best views of Great Bustards- 15 altogether.
Famous for its Purple Gallinules (P. porphyrio). We saw two, but not much more in the lagoon.
On the the way up, 4 Purple Gallinules at the dam of Guadalqvir. Lots of raptors not far from the town of Cazorla. A movement of 20-30 Booted Eagles, and Bonelli's, Booted- and Golden Eagles soaring together. 2 Peregrines tried to scare them away.
On the way through the mountains, some Rock Thrushes (M. saxatilis) were observed. Warblers like Subalpine (S. cantillans) made it further interesting.
A spot for Dupont's lark. Early up, and 2-3 were singing.
Lots of larks. About 20 Calandras (M. calandra),- 10 Short-toed (C. brachydactyla)- and 10 Lesser Short-toed Larks (C. rufescens). 6 Stone Curlews, a nice singing Spectacled Warbler (S. conspicillata), an above all 6 Black-bellied Sandgrouses (P. orientalis).
A lovely wetland-site. 5-7 Marbled Teals (M. angustirostris), 2 Little Bittern (I. minutus), lots of Flamingos, Whiskered terns (C. hybridus) etc.
2 Purple Herons, 1 Squacco Heron, 1 Black Tern, lots of Slender-billed Gulls and a variety of migrating waders.
In the evening some Audouin's Gulls on the way to roost at Tabarca.
As mentioned earlier, the week gave 185 species altogether. The only important species missed was Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. On the other hand, this gives an opportunity to visit inland-Spain again. I must agree with those who created the slogan "Spain- everything under the sun".
1353 Baerums Verk
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