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John Muddeman reports from Spain:

May 17: John Muddeman reports from Spain:

We have just finished a 14-day, cross-Spain tour, traversing a wealth of bird and wildlife rich habitats and landscapes. This diversity guarantees excellent opportunities to see a fine selection of the most iconic birds in Iberia as well as sampling a little of its cuisine and even a couple of historic sites on the way. Indeed, over 230 bird species were recorded by the group, plus an unusually diverse number of mammals. The weather was just about perfect, if a touch hot at times, but following on the heels of an unusually cold and quite wet spring, this worked very much in our favor, especially in the lush north. We started in the Strait of Gibraltar, where European Honey Buzzards were arriving in droves and two of Europe's rarest birds, a Common bulbul and a small flourishing colony of Northern Bald Ibis were top of the bill. Moving westwards, the coastal salinas and wetlands came up trumps with dapper Slender-billed Gulls and a wealth of shorebirds, plus a few very special 'Iberian specials' in the form of displaying White-headed Ducks, discrete Marbled Ducks and feisty Red-knobbed Coots. The steppic birds in the huge plains of Extremadura delighted with European Roller, Great and Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse amongst others, while two Eagle Owl chicks on their nest were a terrific sight! The central Gredos mountains didn't disappoint, with a gorgeous displaying male Bluethroat, plus (now sadly not so) Common Rock Thrush and our first smart male Red-backed Shrike, with the cities of Ávila and Segovia enjoyed briefly en route to fascinating paramo habitat. The weather in the Picos de Europa couldn't have been better for birding the high tops, with Alpine Choughs, Alpine Accentors, White-winged Snowfinches and two Wallcreepers to round-off a fabulous tour!

 Tawny Owl

European Honey Buzzard

Northern Bald Ibis

Curlew Sandpipers

White-headed Duck

Black-winged Stilt

Red-knobbed Coots

Short-toed Snake Eagle

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

European Bee-eater

European Roller

Cinereous Vulture

Ortolan Bunting

Group birding

Middle Spotted Woodpecker  

European Wildcat

Southern Chamois

White-winged Snowfinch

Alpine Accentor

Alpine Chough


Posted: May 17, 2022