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WILD SPAIN

Sunday 5th May - Thursday 16th May 2013

Simon Harrap

Little Bustard (Simon Harrap)

Little Bustard (Simon Harrap)

2013 saw yet another great Birdquest to Spain. We were blessed with good weather right up until the last afternoon, which was cold and wet, but the tour itself was overshadowed by the deluge of rain that Spain had experienced in the late winter and early spring. In Extremadura the grass was long, long, long and in the Pyrenees there was still masses of snow at higher altitudes. Some of the stars of the show in Extremadura included Black Stork, a range of raptors including Spanish and Bonelli’s Eagles, Black Vulture and Lesser Kestrel, and both Great and Little Bustards, which showed very well (the very low numbers of Little Bustards that we saw reflected not only the long grass, but a sudden decline in the region). We managed to find Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and seen it well, and similarly Great Spotted Cuckoo. Theckla Larks performed to perfection, we saw Western Orphean Warbler and Black Wheatears, while a Rufous Bush-Robin was a surprise write-in, as was Eurasian Penduline Tit. Finally, a little night birding produced a smart European Scops Owl and good views of Red-necked Nightjar. Moving up to the Gredos, Iberian Green Woodpeckers led us a dance for a while before showing reasonably well, but we had superb looks at Bluethroat and Ortolan Bunting. Near Zaragoza Dupont’s Lark was elusive but seen by all. Finally, in the Pyrenees, we had magnificent views of Wallcreeper, as well as Lammergeier, Black Woodpecker and Citril Finch, while at higher altitudes Alpine Accentor, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and Ring Ouzel were all bonuses.

Spanish Eagle (Simon Harrap)

Spanish Eagle (Simon Harrap)