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Back from our Spanish Adventure

All Bustards Great and Small

Team on plains

We got back from Spain late last night after a magical five days in Extremadura seeing amazing birds in lovely spring sunshine. We visited a wide variety of habitats from the open plains, cork-oak woodlands, rocky uplands, rice-fields and wetlands. This wonderful mix of habitats provide an exciting cross-section of birds, and all under blue skies.

Great Bustard display 1

Great Bustard display 2

Very hard to pick out highlights with so many amazing birds in stunning scenery encountered during our tour. But of course, the bustards were a real delight. The Great Bustards were certainly high on everyone's favourite bird list as we watched the males displaying. If you have never seen a male Great Bustard turn itself inside out, then book this tour for 2015! It is a totally amazing sight, a large brown bird becomes a "foam bath" in front of your very eyes! It is one of nature's great spectacles and everyone should see this amazing sight.

Griffon Vulture perched close

Black Vulture in flight 1

The views of Spanish Imperial Eagles were another major highlight, surely one of the world's most impressive raptors? We watched one bird being mobbed by a Common Buzzard - brilliant to see the size comparison: huge eagle, small-looking buzzard. Other raptors included great looks at Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli's Eagles, Black-winged Kite, Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures, and stunning views of Lesser Kestrels at very close range.

Lesser Kestrel male 1

Lesser Kestrel male 2

Out on the plains we enjoyed both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse as Calandra Larks poured their songs down on us with Montagu's Harriers passing over. Stone Curlew strode across the grasslands and Corn Buntings were just everywhere.

Hoopoe on post

In the Cork Oaks we were entertained by flashy Azure-winged Magpies in noisy gangs and Great Spotted Cuckoo were on the lookout for Common Magpie nests. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were very popular and we even had a male drumming in our lovely hotel garden. Both Woodchat and Southern Grey Shrikes were dotted along the fence lines and we saw lots and lots of stunning Hoopoes.

The rice-fields added waders to our growing list including three Kentish Plovers sharing a wet field with Golden Plover, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover! Black Kites were migrating overhead here and another Spanish Imperial Eagle, this time a lovely marked juvenile bird was a nice surprise. Common Waxbills were found in the reed filled ditches here.

Purple Gallinule 1

Other wetland areas gave us lots of great birds: singing Savi's Warblers, Purple Herons and Purple Swamphens added colour. Marsh Harriers floated over the reeds as Spanish Sparrows attacked the bullrushes. Kingfishers dived for fish as Cetti's Warblers and Zitting Cisticolas kept up a constant background soundscape.

We enjoyed lovely food and great local wine in our beautiful country hotel in a tranquil hamlet alive with birds. Scops Owl called at dusk and Azure-winged Magpies bounced around the lane. The dawn chorus was amazing: the still air was full of Blackbird song with added Spotless Starlings, Sardinian Warblers and that Lesser Spotted Woodpecker providing the drums!

Group at Pena rock

Our "All Bustards Great and Small Tour" is a magical introduction to birding in Spain and everyone really enjoyed the relaxed pace, lovely food and hotel, the sunshine and of course the real stars of the show, the wonderful birds.

We are running lots more tours to this outstanding destination and we would love you to join us for a bird-filled relaxing holiday. For details of our tours simply drop us a line, please remember we would love to put together a custom tour ideal for you on dates to suit you.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Serin male 1

Black eared Wheatear male 1


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