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WILD SPAIN

Sunday 30th April - Sunday 7th May 2017

Dani López-Velasco

White-headed Duck (Dani López-Velasco)

White-headed Duck (Dani López-Velasco)

2017 saw yet another highly successful Birdquest tour to Spain, and luckily we were blessed with excellent weather during most of the trip. Great scenery, fantastic food and many exciting birds all on offer, so what else can you ask for in a trip? Our birding began right after leaving Madrid airport, starting with great views of a nesting Eurasian Eagle Owl. Afterwards we headed to Alcazar lagoons in Castilla-La Mancha, where highlights included several smart White-headed Ducks, lots of Greater Flamingos and a vagrant Audouin´s Gull, amongst others. Extremadura lived up to its reputation as being one of the best birding destinations in the world, with excellent views of nesting Black Storks, an overwhelming range of raptors including wonderful views of Spanish Imperial Eagle, as well as Booted, Golden, Short-toed Snake and Bonelli´s Eagles, lots of Cinereous Vultures and Lesser Kestrels and a family of Black-winged Kites. Both Great and Little Bustards showed very well in the steppes too (the very small numbers of Little Bustards that we saw reflected a sudden very steep decline in the whole country), where we also managed to find both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, in flight and on the ground, as well as an obliging Great Spotted Cuckoo. Thekla, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Larks performed to perfection, and warblers were everywhere, with Western Orphean, (Western) Subalpine, Sardinian, Dartford and Western Bonelli´s Warblers all on offer. Black and Western Black-eared Wheatears obliged, while Spectacled Warbler was a good write-in. A nearby wetland gave us amazing views of Savi´s Warbler, as well as Western Swamphen, Little Bittern and Great Reed Warbler, together with many colorful European Bee-eaters. Moving up to the Gredos mountains, Iberian Green Woodpecker eventually showed well for everybody, and we had superb looks at Common Rock Thrush, (Iberian) Pied Flycatcher, Bluethroat and Ortolan Bunting. Next on the agenda was the highly sought-after Dupont´s Lark near Sepulveda, and we weren´t dissapointed, as the larks put on a fantastic show for us, even doing song-flight display. A carcass with over 300 vultures of 3 species was a truly unforgettable, and wild, sight, and on our last day we finished off the trip with unbeatable views of several Citril Finches and smart Common Firecrests.

Citril Finch (Dani López-Velasco)

Citril Finch (Dani López-Velasco)