Road trip Zamora-Salamanca-Monfrague-Caceres (1 Viewer)


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Route now finalised (changed due to weather)

So I'm heading for Bugros and on the Great Bustard hunt - mainly zigzagging from Burgos to Villamandos, Zotes del Paramo (last 2 added because might be a sniff of something good) but the main target is Zamora and the Lagoons of Villafafila. This I understand is Bustard central...

From there and if there is light onto Salamanca and the Azud de Riolobos...

A night in the car somewhere to get me close to Monfrague and wake up with the Vultures and Eagles. Well that's the plan.

Then the back roads to Caceres-Alcantra

Finally heading off to Lisbon to arrive 21h!

By my calculations 40 hours travelling and birding - will arrive smelly....

My main targets are the Bustards and the Spanish imperial Eagle with added bonus of Black Vulture and maybe some harriers.....

Any advice (apart from don't do it) welcome....


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I must admit I'm pretty worried about travelling across Spain but I have to make the road trip to 'repatriate' the car to Portugal. Because of visa implications my girlfriend can't fetch it and the car soon passes the time limit for being out of the country and it is going to be sold. I can't flower it up any other way than profiting from having to get from here to there.

I figured staying in the car keeps me away from anyone or anything but you or they are right.


Jan Ebr
I can only tell you what where we saw thins in April 2016, your autumn mileage may vary. Spanish Imperial Eagle at Mirador de la portilla del Tietar - needed some waiting, they hung around the top of the hill across the valley but then flew around nicely. Bustards (both Little and Great) best from the turn-off north from CC-99 west from Santa Marta de Magasca, there are some infotables about bustards, so it's hard to miss.

In general, I loved the area much more than I expected, turns out I am just an absolute lover of savanna landscape and that's what dehesa actually is.


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So brief update from day 1

Rain! It rained from Luz to nearly Burgos. Left a 04h00 so that wasn’t easy nor pleasant. Thereafter cold and sunny then too warm!

First great bustards seen in the same field near Burgos as last November - although favored the right hand side this time. Nice views but the focus on back of camera seems out.

Burgos to Zamora further than anticipated so cut out two add on stops and headed straight to villafila. Some respects disappointing - total bustard count 41 - don’t know just expected fields of them. Did get 9 cranes 2 hobby and three types of harrier. One young pallid/montys but which? I was flying not low at 135kmh when you e jumped across the road nicely but orange - so here’s the deal - this is late for monties...........

Onto Monfrague via salamanc and a first black vulture of the trip.
Stats lots of birds particularly Iberian magpie 1100kms and a few aching bones - sleeping in the car....

Waking up with the eagle.... maybe


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No Eagle!!! Why did I think this game was easy...
Anyway lots of Vultures and some great places but no Eagle. I spent about 4 hours zigzagging between Caceres and the Portugese birder but to no avail. Will have to go back...


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Some 'snaps'

The first Bustards - little did I know that I would only get this close once during the day! I didn't want to chase them down too much...

The Sparrowhawk sidetracked me a little I must admit. Then a couple of roadside Hobby, on consecutive pylons. Heaps and heaps of Buzzards.

The cranes we too far away for a picture in the edge of one of the lagoons or the part of the lagoon that still had some water in, with a Great Egret.

Some lovely partridge and a little owl which was busy screeching in the direction of the partridge....


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Well-known tool
I did put a couple of Bustards up but was scripting around really. Rightly a lot of the roads here are gated or limited to farm vehicles. I do enjoy this type of birding though...

Iberian Shrike, which turned out to really numerous in the more rugged areas around Caceres the next day.

And a Marsh Harrier which in places almost rivalled the Buzzard, numerically.

I think I mentioned I was struggling with the focus of the camera and the photos aren't that sharp...


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A griffon in the fading light at Monfrague. I was surprised by the sheer number of Iberian Magpies that I saw. There were flocks of them everywhere - looking back why didn't I get any pictures of them? Apart from the fact they were super flighty.

I was struggling with the light at sunset at Monfrague and thinking about where I could eat, and then sleep. In hindsight I could have concentrated a bit more around here.

As it was I woke up a little north of Caceres and headed into the wilderness. More Shrikes and lots of Larks, mainly Crested although I thought this was a good candidate for a Thekla - the bill and the eyestripe (I also thought the call was less 'whispy').


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And finally lots of Vultures - oh and a Greenshank (found a nice small lake with a nice flock of Spoonbill, a couple of Sandpipers etc.

I found lots of the bigger birds as I crisscrossed from Aliseda to the border. This is supposedly prime Eagle country and I stopped a lot to scan. It wasn't that easy to stop in a hurry on these roads but I took advantage of the pull ins where available - and an odd tower.

Again in hindsight I could have parked up for a couple of hours and watched. Maybe even just above Aleseda. There were Vultures in every direction and at least four lots of dead things they were feeding on. A few sickly animals about for some reason????

Should add in Sintra and a little frustrated that the World Super Bikes final is down the road and obviously can't go watch. Listening to the noise is a little less exciting....


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As it was I woke up a little north of Caceres and headed into the wilderness. More Shrikes and lots of Larks, mainly Crested although I thought this was a good candidate for a Thekla - the bill and the eyestripe (I also thought the call was less 'whispy').

In my eyes that looks like a Crested Lark, cos crest fringes and longish beak.

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Shame you don't get the eagle this time, but no need to feel you did badly, because they're not easy. Unless you get really lucky, or know where there's a nest, you need to put in loads of time scanning, ideally with gen of recent sightings. Looks like you had some great views of the bustards :t:

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