Spring 2023 reports 2: Imperial Eagles, bustards and Bluethroats

Walking with the lavender in Monfragüe National Park, Extremadura

A quick look at Kath and Mick’s Easy Extremadura Tour

Dates: 10th to 25th April

  • 8 nights Hospedería de Monfragüe, Torrejón el Rubio
  • 6 nights Trocha de Hoyorredondo

This was the UK couple’s third tour with Birding In Spain. We enjoy each other’s company!

The good points of Hospedería de Monfragüe include:

  • The Monfragüe National Park on the doorstep
  • Great Spotted Cuckoo on the edge of Torrejón el Rubio on one morning’s pre-breakfast walk
  • Local birds include Spanish Sparrow, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Bee-eater, Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle, Iberian Magpie and more
  • Large, spacious hotel with bar and places to enjoy your beer, good service, reasonable food in the restaurant
  • The possibility to meet up with other birders and birding groups

The good points of the Trocha del Hoyorredondo are quite distinct

  • Small, delightful, secluded rural hotel
  • Personal service by the owner, and excellent food
  • Easy access to great birding areas around the Sierra de Gredos and the plains to the north
  • Local birds include Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, Iberian Magpie, Golden Oriole, Red-rumped Swallow, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Rock Sparrow

Birding hotel for the Sierra de Gredos: Trocha de Hoyorredondo

Extremadura sites visited:

Arrocampo – Well-known wetland area with reedbeds and hides. Highlight birds for us here were Savi’s Warbler (6+), Little Bittern (6), Purple Swamphen, Penduline Tit, Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Gull-billed Tern and Iberian Grey Shrike.

Monfragüe National Park – Two visits here enabled us to see birds such as Eagle Owl (adult and chicks), Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Stork, Cinereous (Black) Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Alpine Swift, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Western Orphean Warbler, Western Subalpine Warbler, Rock Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Egyptian Goose and Peregrine Falcon.

Alcollarín, Sierra Brava and nearby plains – Two visits to this area gave us a small selection of waders including Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank, a beautiful male Pied Flycatcher, Spoonbill, Eurasian Wigeon, Collared Pratincole, a melanistic Montagu’s Harrier, Greater Short-toed Lark and an Otter.

The Cáceres-Trujillo plains – excellent views of Great Bustards and Little Bustards on both visits, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Little Owl, Lesser Kestrel, European Roller. Pallid Swift in Trujillo.

Other sites: Sierra San Pedro, Villuercas, Almonte river, N-IV

Oh yes! We stumbled across a Great Snipe on the Almonte River on 13th April

Gredos was the second leg of our tour

Bluethroat (oh, delightful Bluethroats!), Common Rock Thrush, Water Pipit, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, White-throated Dipper, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck …

Little Bittern: we saw about 6 of these one morning at Arrocampo reservoir. Photo by Dave Bassey

The plains to the north treated us to Great Bustards, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, and more. Well worth the visit!

There were mammals and butterflies too – quite a few!-  but maybe we can keep that until later.

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