31st May. Day 2 Monfrague

After yesterdays stress today would be a much more relaxed affair. A pre-breakfast jaunt to the Belen Plains produced the first Great Bustards of the trip, but they as always here were too far off for photos. A rather showy Bee-eater along the fence and an obliging Thekla Lark made up for an otherwise quiet visit.

A quick - though substantial - breakfast back at the hotel and we were on our way to spend the rest of the day in Monfrague. Here was the first and only disappointment of the holiday. A fair chunk of money has been spent of the Castillo - including a safety barrier on top of the Moorish keep. Personally I found the old barrier, a painted red line coupled with a pretty nasty drop enough to keep me away from the edge. The steps up to the castle have been improved and an additional viewing platform provided all adding to the attractiveness of the location for visitors, making it a bit crowded for birding.  That said we still enjoyed the view and the very easy White-rumped Swifts overhead.

The Pena Falcon, below the Castillo, was typically busy with birders and visitors alike and a dog Otter on the opposite bank increased the popularity, though for me it was as ever the Vultures that made the visit. Also some very showy Crag Martins feeding young on the cliff face.

After spending several hours in this area we moved further along the river. Pulling in just beyond the viaduct I immediately picked up two Bonellis Eagles over the road. Probably the best views I've had in four visits to the area.

Calling at the small village of Villa Real de San Carlos for refreshments we studied the bewildering array of Ice Cream on offer only to be met with a resounding 'no' at every selection. It turned out that only two types were available!

At Portilla del Tietar we were a little too early in the day for the Eagle Owls, but had spectacular views of Spanish Imperial Eagle the photo does it no justice at all.

Happy with our lot we headed back to Trujillo.

No comments: