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Caceres-Trujillo Steppes

From Opus

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Photo by WintibirdThe Steppes near Trujillo
Photo by Wintibird
The Steppes near Trujillo


[edit] Overview

This part of Extremadura in west-central Spain is famous as one of the best areas for Great Bustard and Little Bustard in Western Europe but there is also a good range of other interesting species present including a healthy population of Lesser Kestrel in Caceres and Trujillo. Montagu's Harriers are slowly increasing, due to the Government paying farmers to leave their crops uncut until later in the year where breeding sites are established, and communes of up to 15 breeding pairs are now well protected.

Much of the once very extensive, undulating plains around and between these two towns have been lost to agriculture but there remains enough to support more bustards and other grassland birds than anywhere else in Spain. The plains consist of dry grassland, dehesa and farmland with patches of scrub and in some parts, small pine woods.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

In addition to the two species of bustard these plains support Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse as well as Stone-curlew and Calandra Lark. In areas of open woodland and scrub there are European Roller, European Bee-eater and Eurasian Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian Magpie and Southern Grey Shrike.

Raptors include Lesser Kestrel and Montagu's Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Kite and Black Kite, Booted Eagle and Short-toed Eagle. Eurasian Black Vulture and Griffon Vulture are regular over the plains and Spanish Imperial Eagle is possible in this area.

In the towns there are breeding White Stork and Pallid Swift and the wetter areas have Cattle Egret, Little Egret and Whiskered Tern. Black Stork is a regular passage visitor and Common Crane winters in the area.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Great Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Common Buzzard, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Red-legged Partridge, Common Quail, Common Crane, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Whiskered Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Hawfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting

[edit] Other Wildlife

The steppes hold wild Boar, Weasel, Stoat, Badger, Genet and Mongoose, but mainly in the close poximity of permanent water supplies as the area is extremaly dry. Otters are fairly common on the large water tracts to be found here. There are also may species of Lizard, including the huge Ocellated Lizard growing to nearly a metre., and quite a variety of snakes, including the large Horseshoe Whip snake, and the tiny poisonous Vipers.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] Areas of Interest

Both Caceres and the smaller Trujillo have good areas of steppe within easy reach and the N521 road between the two towns can produce sightings of Great Bustard. However, the grasslands are best explored from minor roads and farm tracks.

North of the village of Torreorgaz on the C520, to the southeast of Caceres, is a particularly good area. The area crossed by the Trujillo-La Cumbre road to the southeast of Trujillo has now been largely covered with a huge solar farm of over 400 hectares, making it quite sterile for Bustards.

About 7km east of Caceres is a small reservoir, Embalse de Guadiloba, holding breeding Whiskered Tern, Sandgrouse, Collared Pratincole, Purple Heron, Bustards on the surrounds, and a huge winter Gull roost.

Running southeastwards from Caceres is Sierra de Fuentes, a range of hills with breeding Black Stork and a range of raptors. Rocky outcrops in this area may still hold a few pairs of Eurasian Eagle Owl.

[edit] Access and Facilities

The area is easily reached by road from Madrid on the NV. Both Caceres and Trujillo have hotel accomodation and there are motels along many of the major roads in the region. Although many of the steppe specialities are present all year a spring visit is generally most productive.

[edit] Contact Details

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[edit] External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve


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