Sunday, 6 February 2011

Tour Day 4 and 5

Day 4

Murcia was again the setting for Day 4 of the tour and in particular the steppe habitat found within the boarder lands of Murcia and Castille le Mancha. Within a few minutes of arrival we had pinned down a large flock of 42 Great Bustard (below) which showed well at close quarters and even gave a few minutes of the enigmatic "foam bath" display. During the following 3 hours the group were treated to superb views of all our target species, totals are as follows - Calandra Lark (20+), Thekla Lark (12), Lesser Short-toed Lark (numerous), Rock Sparrow (3), Black-bellied Sandgrouse (50+, below) and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (27). This great start also provided the group with 5 lifers. Click on any image to see an enlarged version

Great Bustard

Great Bustard
Black-bellied Sandgrouse

The lifers continued to come thick and fast in the afternoon at our next location in the nearby mountains. We spent the remaining 3 hours of the day birding here and managed to record the following superb species; Blue Rock Thrush (7), Black Wheatear (11, below), Griffon Vulture (21, including the wing tagged bird below), Goshawk (1, female), Raven (2) and a single Short-toed Treecreeper. Another great day which was thoroughly enjoyable, today we were treated to very good views of all our target birds ending the day with 9 lifers for each of our group members!

Black Wheatear

Black Wheatear

Griffon Vulture

Day 5

The final day of the tour (also my birthday!) was spent trying to find the groups only remaining "wish list" species, which despite a good search on the first day, we had missed - Moustached Warbler. The group were also keen to have another look at El Hondo so we headed to explore the accessible areas of this site once again. During the course of the day we explored all the areas which are currently open to the public and in the early afternoon sun enjoyed spectacular views of a singing Moustached Warbler. We also recorded a number of noteworthy species, including some early migrants - Greater Spotted Eagle (2), Little Bittern (1), White-headed Duck (37), Barn Swallow (1), Reed Warbler (1, singing), Fan-tailed Warbler (numerous), Wood Sandpiper (2) and 7 Bluethroat.

Many thanks to Diane and Alastair for making this tour so enjoyable, of course the birds also played their part! A total of 142 species were seen in 5 days and a full trip report and species list will be available on the main website within the next few days.

No comments:

Post a Comment