4th June. Extremadura Day 4. The Plains

Dawn start and we headed for the plains near Santa Marta. Taking the track marked as 'A' as far as we could safely go and walking the rest of the way to a suitable view point. It would appear that this spring has been a wet one as the grass here was far higher than I have experienced before, thus it made finding Little Bustard and Sandgrouse near impossible. We did however pick up 5 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse passing overhead. Apart from a distant female and chick Great Bustard and the only Short-toed Lark of the trip the rest was hugely disappointing and even more so when we took the track marked as B. The visit to this site was more memorable for the absence of birds e.g. Montagu's Harrier, so we headed to Belen before the heat haze took hold.

Belen on the other hand was much more rewarding. A total of 14 Great Bustards including a displaying male, Stone Curlews and a group of vultures (Black and Griffon) descending on carrion.

Lots of larks on the fence posts as we drove slowly along the deteriating road, giving me a chance to compare Crested and Thekla and appreciate the hugeness of Calandra, the latter frustratingly failed to pose for photos.

Thekla showing the typically shorter and straight bill, cone like crest and heavy bold streaking on the breast.
Following a quick breakfast and a supermarket stop (for picnic items) we were soon back out and heading for the plains further south where we picked up a few trip ticks namely Black-eared Wheatear, Roller and the only Montagu's Harrier of the trip!

Returning to Trujillo we spent a little time around the bull ring watching the Lesser Kestrels.

Before returning to Belen in the evening.

Ridiculously close views of Great Spotted Cuckoo again

Easily the commonest bird on the plains

No comments: