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Marian's bird "illustrated diary" 2010 (Spain, mainly) (1 Viewer)

madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Here starts the adventures from a long weekend spent in the lagoons of La Mancha, the dry area of Cervantes's "Don Quixote". ;) As it rained so much during this winter in the area, the lagoons were full of water, which made a very interesting moment to visit them.

I met up with my birding team in Toledo in the evening. While waiting for the bunch to gather, I visited the river with the binoculars and the Leica (much more discreet than the other gear to be walking in urban areas, ;)). The river was full of life, plenty of birds moving around with several newbies to add to the year list:

23 April 2010: Toledo City, Toledo Province, C Spain

176. Common Swift (Apus apus)
177. Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
178. Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Plenty of Swallows but no Red-rumped ones (a pity, I hoped to see it here, :-C) but I don't complain, I spent a couple of fantastic hours doing relaxed birding… except for the moments I tried flight shots, :-O. But thanks to the efforts I got the flying Black-crowned Night Heron of the picture. I got some House Martins and Swifts as well but decided to try again later in the year, as the results were not very satisfying.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
The first place to be visited in La Mancha was obviously the famous Las Tablas de Daimiel N. P. We had been there two years ago and it was a wonderful place, even in August when it was almost dry. This time, after all the rains of the last months, it was simply amazing, WOW, in the early morning Reed and Great Reed Warblers were singing madly everywhere... we even had a close encounter with a male wild boar :)eek!:) but the best of all was a Savi's Warbler singing in the open!!! A fantastic way to see this lifer!!! :bounce:

24 April 2010: Las Tablas de Daimiel N. P., Ciudad Real Province, C Spain

179. Stone-Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
180. Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides) :cool:
181. Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata)

The pics are:
a) One of the numerous singing Reed Warblers.
b) A passing-by Purple Heron, right before the wild boar gave us the flight of our lifes.
c) The spectacular singing Savi's Warbler… what a sight, and the monotonous sound it makes is amazing!!!

We saw more birds and I photographed more species but as I don't have space for all the pics I'll show the rest in a next post.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And in the afternoon of this brilliant day spent in Daimiel, we still had some great encounters that made my year list grow nicely!!! :bounce:

24 April 2010: Las Tablas de Daimiel N. P., Ciudad Real Province, C Spain

182. White-whiskered Tern (Chidonias hybrida)
183. Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
184. European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
185. Collared Pratincole (Glareola prantincola)
186. Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

These are the pics that I've decided to show now, only very clearly shown species (as for the others, I prefer to wait until new opportunities)
a) Managed to capture the Whiskered Tern while passing by from one of the hides… hard task, it's the only way to have them a bit closer but the windows are too small to do a decent panning (I don't complain though, |=)|)
b) Great Crested Grebes were everywhere but far away, still this happy couple come close enough for a better pic.
c) You can't imagine my joy when 4 Pratincoles flew over our heads… I'm chuffed I could get a pic of one in flight!!! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
In the late afternoon of that same day and before going to our Hotel in Alcazar de San Juan, we visited another popular Lagoon, specially for its population of breeding White-headed Ducks and Black-necked Grebes. And there they were! |=)| Sadly, too far away for pictures but still I got one of the Duck where it's recognizable (pic a). And a Spotted Flycatcher was an unexpected addition to the list:

24 April 2010: Laguna de Pedro Muñoz, Ciudad Real Province, C Spain

187. White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)
188. Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
189. Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Next day, we started the tour with a quick visit in the early morning to the lagoons around Alcazar de San Juan, where somebody was waiting to be ticked for the year list (;)):

25 April 2010: Lagunas de Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real Province, C Spain

190. Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

But too far away for pictures again. White-whiskered Terns and Marsh Harriers were the main inhabitants of the lagoons, along with some ducks (mainly Common and Red-crested Pochards).

But our main target place was the Laguna Chica, where we had been several years ago and had a great day then. This time we didn't see so many birds, still the typical Marsh Harriers, Red-crested Pochards, Great Crested Grebes… but something else very special appeared that, after many attempts in several places, never showed up for me until this day!!!

25 April 2010: Laguna Chica, Toledo Province, C Spain

191. Bearded Tit (Panurus biarmicus) :cool:

But no way to immortalize one of the bunch in a picture, :-C. But I don't complain, other species were more willing to pose for the camera, as the Common Sandpiper of pic b. I managed a Bee-eater too (pic c) and the best of all, my first picture of a Great Spotted Cuckoo (pic d)!!! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
After leaving the Laguna Chica we started our way back home, but still did another stop in a lagoon we had never visited before, Peñahueca. To stop here was a good decision, added another bird to the list:

25 April 2010: Laguna de Peñahueca, Toledo Province, C Spain

192. Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)

and got pictures of a couple of species, the Gull-billed Tern speaking up a storm (o:D, pic a) and finally an Avocet after several encounters during the year in different places (pic b).
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
During the first weekend of May, my birding team met our friend and BF member Allen S. Moore for a couple of days, who was doing a tour in Northern Spain. We caught up with him in Burgos, and in the morning before his arrival we paid another visit to the Park of Fuentesblancas, to look for more migrants. Quite rewarding, not only we saw some of them:

1 May 2010: Fuentesblancas, outskirts of Burgos, N Spain

193. Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)
194. Booted Eagle (Hieraetus pennatus)
195. Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

but I was able to photograph some of these new birds for the year list and catch up with other residents that had "dodged" my clicking persistently! ;) Here you have, as selected pics of this successful morning:

a) The Tree Pipit, caught during an old nice scratch.
b) This scruffy looking thing is a wet Coal Tit after a bath… at least in this pic it's recognizable, if you could see the others in the series… :-O)
c) The Garden Garbler did all it could to avoid being photographed but I beat it!!! o:D
d) Over the Moon getting a Cirl Bunting after many attempts… my best pic of one so far! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Our main aim during Allen's visit was to find Great Bustards and Lesser Kestrels for him… so Villafáfila was the place to go! ;) And we got them, it's the most reliable place I know for both species! I had already seen them and photographed them before in the year, but this time, when migration was still going on, I got other cracking birds in this fantastic place:

2 May 2010: Villafáfila, Zamora Province, W Spain

196. Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
197. Garganey (Anas querquedula)
198. Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
199. Quail (Coturnix coturnix)

The Quail was only the third one of my life! :bounce: Took off right from my feet by a track! :eek!: In the group of Ruffs, there was a male in breeding plumage, wow, a first for me! :t: Sadly, too far away for pics; the same can be say of the beautiful male Garganey! :-C But I don't complain, because I photographed other birds and several new species for my year list. This is what I've selected this time:

a) A Tree Sparrow.
b) One of the many Black Kites in the area… this in particular was being chased away by a Lapwing. Couldn't capture well the action, so preferred to upload a more conventional view. ;)
c) To get this Black Tern was a nightmare, it wasn't close and was extremely difficult to do the panning too… this is the best I managed.
d) I did a bit better with this Sand Martin though. |=)| Not brilliant but my best pic of one ever. o:)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
First of all, sorry to be so late updating this but "real life" is overwhelming at this moment and I hardly find time to prepare the stuff to post!

And continuing with the adventures in the visit of Allen to Burgos area, the last day was very dull and menacing rain, so we just stayed in the outskirts of the city. Our main aim was finding the Iberian Chiffchaff for him (which we did) and then just enjoyed what we could find of the typical birds present in the area; we heard the Wryneck but couldn't see it :)-C) but had great close views of other species like Bullfinch, Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, varied Tits, Spotted Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chaffinch… and first sights this year of:

3 May 2010: Fuentesblancas, Outskirts of Burgos, N Spain

200. Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)

In spite of the low light I could get pics of these new birds to illustrate this post:
a) A Nuthatch feeding on the ground… not precisely the way I was expecting to catch it! :eek!: But it's nice to get the unexpected! ;)
b) My first pic ever of a male Pied Flycatcher! o:)
c) One of the Spotted Flycatchers seen… the nicest, this was kind enough to let me take its photo! ;)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
My next birding outing was on May the 8th, when I went again to Zeluán hoping to see the waders migration at its best and to try to catch up with some of the species I still hadn't photographed this year. I didn't see anything new (in fact, I've already seen almost all the regular waders found in my area, :eek!:) but the place looked great packed with Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Red Knot,…

As I've mentioned before, in this place the birds are too far to take pictures from the hide but when they fly can pass by closer, and so I managed these waders in flight not previously uploaded to this thread: Whimbrel (pic a), Dunlin (pic b) and Grey Plover (pic c) in this case in the company of Red Knots.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Middle June and some fairly common migrants still lacking in my year list!!! :eek!:

So, I went to one of my local patches were I know Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike and Melodious Warbler are found, to try to catch up. Sadly I couldn't go until quite late in the morning when birding was already a bit slow. No traces of Golden Oriole, not even heard (alarming fact, aren't they here this year? :-C). I couldn't spot the Shrike either, but that's scarce there so I wasn't surprised. But on the contrary, Melodious Warblers were singing in several territories, and even if it did its best to avoid to be snapped, I did it in the end (;), pic a). So:

16 May 2010: Las Caldas, outskirts of Oviedo, Asturias, N Spain

201. Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)

A very interesting fact was hearing for the first time in this patch the Grasshopper Warbler… and found it!!! :bounce: Just can't believe it was a lifer a month ago, and I find it again now and so close to my home!!! o:) And I have the proof I've not dreamt! ;) (pic b)

It was a super afternoon Butterflying and taking pictures of them while the birds were no active, but I'll not bore you with those stories! :-O
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Well, folks, here starts another super birding adventure. Once more, my buddy and BF member Scottishdude visited my country for birding and I joined him to try to find some goodies for him. Our aim this time was the area of Sierra de Gredos, in Avila Province, with some extra plans to find other target birds out of this range.

We met in Valladollid and headed to Gredos through the Valle de Iruelas, the best spot in Spain for Cinerous Vulture. Birding was quite slow at first, as we got there in middle afternoon but in the evening things changed and plenty of birds started to show up: Cinerous Vulture (pic a, the first bird spotted as we got out the car, wow), Bee-eater, Wood Lark, Melodious Warbler, Azure-winged Magpie, Rock Bunting, Black Redstart, Golden Oriole (only heard, plus a frustrating glimpse that I'm not counting),… just to mention some exotic-looking ones. ;) And I had some additions to the year list too:

20 May 2010: Valle de Iruelas, Avila Province, C Spain

202. Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) (pic b)
203. Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia) (pic c, but looking more like a "Pole Sparrow", :-O)
204. Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo dauurica)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Our main aims in Gredos area were the Bluethroat (which we missed), the Rock Thrush (which we saw but it was impossible to photograph) and the Ortolan Bunting (which we saw and it gave us marvellous chances for pictures). To look for them, we went in the morning to the Plataforma de Gredos. Even if we missed the Bluethroat, the list of birds found was great and the opportunities for pictures excellent. My buddy did an exceptional job (you can see in his gallery)… y didn't do it so well but I'm happy anyway! ;) We photographed Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Booted Eagle (pic a), Rock Bunting, Dunnock, Northern Wheatear, Whitethroat (pic b), Ortolan Bunting (pic c) and Black Redstart, to mention the main subjects for you to know what kind of stuff can be spotted in the area. A really spanking morning!!! o:)

21 May 2010: Plataforma de Gredos, Avila Province, C Spain

205. Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
206. Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
After the visit to the Plataforma de Gredos, that same day we went to the Puerto de la Peña Negra in the afternoon, still trying to find the Bluethroat. This should be another good place for them, but we missed it again. :-C But we spotted two different species of Pipits, something we didn't expect at all:

21 Mayo 2010: Puerto de la Peña Negra, Avila province, C Spain

207. Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) (pic a)
208. Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) (pic b)

Water Pipits and the Skylarks were the most showy birds. Even if it was the afternoon and supposedly slow for birding, they were singing in poles by the road giving fantastic views for photography. :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Next day things didn’t turn out very well, we felt we weren't going to find the Bluethroat after another early morning attempt so we changed completely the plans to look for more lifers for my buddy. We headed towards the Sierra de Madrid, to the mountain pass of Navacerrada, a very reliable place for Citril Finch. Fortunately we got this one, but it didn't cooperate well for photographs. A Crested Tit showed up too… very welcome one! :bounce:

22 May 2010: Navacerrada, Madrid Province, C Spain

209. Citril Finch (Serinus citrinella)
210. Crested Tit (Parus cristatus)

And the following day, we visited the famous Villafáfila, looking for Lesser Kestrel and Great Bustard mainly. My buddy got them both and the Calandra Lark was another lifer for him. As this was my third visit this year I thought I wouldn't get any new bird, but I was wrong! ;)

23 May 2010: Villafáfila, Zamora Province, W Spain

211. Little Owl (Athene noctua)

Silly me, I had it close but it was so well camouflaged that I didn't recognize it until it flew away! :storm: Oh, well, at least I caught up with two common species that I still couldn't photograph by then, el Northern Wheatear (pic a) and the Crested lark (pic b).
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And in this day, the last of Scottishdude's visit, I had one of the most remarkable birding days I remember!!! :bounce: We went to Sepulveda, for him to locate several lifer Larks, as this place is, as I call it, "Larks Paradise". The amazing thing was that we managed to see and photograph the 7 species present in the best spot of the area, the rare Dupont's Lark included!!! o:) I regret to have added the pics of post #33, I have better photographs of those Larks now!!! :storm: Oh, well, it's in my own rules not to repeat species in the pics of this thread this year, so I'll upload the best pictures in my gallery.

But we saw many other birds along with the Larks: both Rock-Thrushes, Tawny Pipit, Hoppoe, Griffon Vulture, Corn Bunting, Black-eared Wheatear (pic a), Woodchat Shrike, Linnet, Red-billed Chough, Crag Martin... and new birds for my list were:

24 May 2010: Near Sepulveda, Segovia Province, C Spain

212. Thekla Lark (Galeridae theklae) (pic b)
213. Dupont's Lark (Chersophilus duponti) (pic c)
214. Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata)
215. Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis) (pic d)
216. Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)

And for cracking pictures of the Dupont's Lark singing taken by my buddy, please click here and here. |=)|
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Well, folks, June arrived and as usual birding starts to be a bit slow in my area, while the Butterflies season starts to be very exciting. Besides, I've seen almost all the birds I could see by this time of the year, so I've concentrate my efforts (when work and the weather allowed, which was not very often, sadly, :-C) in Butterflies and helping the guys of my local Birding Club in different surveys. These surveys have been quite interesting though.

The most exciting one for me was to try to locate territories of Nightjars around my city. We managed to locate three territories, the birds were singing from quite obvious perches and then flyed over our heads!!! Absolutely wonderful experience!!! :bounce: I utterly love them and the sound they make!!!

In a desperate attempt to go back home with a souvenir of these super encounters I took the pic attached in the darkness of the night… it could be worst! :-O

26 June 2010: Salinas, near Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

217. Common Nightjar (Caprimulgus europeaus)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
After the Nightjars survey I joined the guys of the local birding club again to do the monthly survey of Seabirds in Faro Vidio. July was not expected to have much to see but surprisingly we saw quite a few interesting things. First surprise was to see the local Peregrines raised one kid, which was flying with their parents and learning to manoeuvre in the air!!! :bounce: As for the seawatching, it produced: good numbers of early migrating Gannets, one Great Skua (quite out of season) and new for the year list were:

3 July 2010: Faro Vidio, Asturias, N Spain

218. Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)
219. Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
220. Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectis diomedea)

This time I didn't even try to take pictures, it's a total waste of time and energy!

And next day, we all did a survey of urban birds in Avilés, focused in House Sparrow, Barn Swallow, House Martin and Common Swift. No new birds seen, of course (;)) but I took advantage to photograph the House Martin (pic a) and the common Swift (pic b), which I still had not added to this thread.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
One of the places I visit at least once a year for birding and butterflying is the Canyon of Rio Lobos, a paradise for wildlife that I long for going to since every year starts. Finally I managed to arrange a visit with my birding team and there we had an impressive day for Butterflies, with around 40 different species seen and photographed. Birding was a bit slower than usual but still very good, with some good birds seen: Azure-winged Magpie, Corn Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Black Redstart, Rock Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Crag Martin, Sparrowhawk (pic a), Common Nightingale, Hoopoe,... and new ticks for my year list too, o:):

10 July 2010: Canyon of Rio Lobos, Soria Province, N Spain

221. Alpine Swift (Apus melva) (pic b, harsh task to snap this feathered dart!)
222. Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
223. Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) (pic c, I would have expected to get close to this one, but this time it wasn’t willing to collaborate, :storm:)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Well, folks, here I am after my August holiday! o:) I've been first to Madrid, then about 12 days in England and then back to my area for a few days before starting work. All quite interesting with a few superb surprises!

In the time available in Madrid before taking the plane to England, I did a few visits to my favourite spots in the area with the main aim of looking for Butterflies and/or Dragonflies… but never took my eyes away from birds, just in case something interesting appeared! ;)

So, in Rivas-Vaciamadrid I caught up with something that my year list was painfully lacking:

7 August 2010: Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Madrid, C Spain

224. Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

Impossible to take a picture though! :-C And next day, a visit to the mountains of Madrid provided me with an unexpected surprise:

8 August 2010: Puerto de Navacerrada, Madrid, C Spain

225. Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

There were many of them, but never before had seen them there, probably because they are hard to spot on the tree tops. And Citril Finches were around as well in very good numbers, I even had the chance to photograph a juvie at very close range, and here it is:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And the day before leaving for England, I paid a quick visit to El Pardo, because the Spanish Sparrow and the Spanish Imperial Eagle (two specialties there) were still shamefully absent from my year list! :C But still no traces of the Imperial Eagle (starting to get really worried about it, :eek!:)… fortunately, a few Spanish Sparrows showed in a flock of House Sparrows (pics too cringe-worthy to show them here). And a couple of amazing surprises showed up too:

9 August 2010: El Pardo, outskirts of Madrid, C Spain

226. Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
227. Lesser-spotted Woopecker (Dendrocopus minor) (pic a)
228. Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) (pic b)

Only my second Lesser Spotted Woodpecker ever, yippieeeee!!!! :bounce: I'm over the Moon getting a picture of it too!!! And the Ruddy Shelduck is another rarity, only saw it once before in this spot... and this time no less than 10 birds passed by in a flock, wow!!! Really these three birds made my day!!! o:)
 

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