1st June. Extremadura Day One
To most established birders Extremadura is probably a bit old hat now, but for me this was my third trip and I was just as excited as I had been on the first visit. Despite already having seen everything that would be on offer I was very much looking forward to the whole experience.
As usual a nice straightforward Easyjet flight to Madrid from Luton (£127 return for two) hire car from Hertz (£160 including full excess waiver) tohether with a hotel room (hostal) in Trujillo (£40 a night including breakfast) made for a very low cost birding trip.
Arriving in Trujillo at 2pm we had a spot of lunch, a quick nap then out for a spot of birding at one of my favourite spots - the Belen Plains. Though dragging ourselves away from the excellent view across the square, where we could enjoy Storks, Lesser Kestrels and a 50-50 mix of Pallid and Common Swift, was difficult.
Don't believe the guide books the Belen Plains are the mutts nuts and I've always enjoyed far more success here than the Santa Marta Plains. This couple of hours was no exception. We enjoyed excellent views of a female Great Bustard with its chick, a good selection of raptors including 2 Short-toed Eagles, dark phase Booted Eagle and a Honey Buzzard. Countless Bee-eaters, Hoopoes, Stone Curlews and many more.
Highlight though was a couple of showy Great-spotted Cuckoos, that Jo found whilst I was concentrating on the pot-holed filled road - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
Retiring to our hotel mid-evening gave me a chance to have a nosey at the next-door neighbours whilst enjoying a particulalrly good Rioja.