Today we ventured into the Sierra De Espuna's, Murcia for Matt Owen's seconed full day trip, targeting some of our favoured area's in this vast landscape. The day started well at our first stop when a female Goshawk circled above us at close range sending the many Crossbill and Chaffinch into whatever cover they could find! Our seconed stop was an area of mature pine forest with large clearings where we recorded; Short-toed Treecreeper (2), Firecrest (10+), Crested Tit (5), Crossbill (numerous), Mistle Thrush (6), Cirl Bunting (9), Rock Bunting (3 including the beautiful male pictured below) and arguably the highlight of this area - 3 extremley confiding Woodlark.
Having had lunch in the pine forest whilst watching many of the aforementioned species we headed to the lower elevations of the area which during the three hours birding here proved very productive. Species recorded included; Iberian Grey Shrike (12), Lesser Short-toed Lark (20+), Iberian Green Woodpecker (3), Hen Harrier (1 male), Little Owl (1), Crag Martin (20+), Marsh Harrier (1 adult female), Rock Sparrow (4), Green Sandpiper (1), Black-bellied Sandgrouse (17), Little Bustard (7) and a sub adult Golden Eagle. By far and away the best part of the day was finding a flock of 36 Dotterel (see below), some of which were still in breeding plumage. These beautiful birds showed well until we were ready to leave and at times came within 30 feet of our position. As a new bird for our guest Matt, this impressive flock will be a memorable moment for a long time to come!