Extremadura & Gredos Mountains, Spain

I finally got round to sorting out my photos from this trip at the end of May. It was a 7 day two centre trip to see the birds and wildlife of these areas of central Spain. The first five days we were based at a nice Hospederia located close to Monfrague National Park which is home to a large colony of vultures and other raptors as well as many other birds. 

First we were to explore the grasslands or semi-steppe areas for bustards and other creatures that liked this sort of habitat. We found Great Bustards on several occasions but they were often so distant that decent photos were impossible. However, just to give you an impression of what it's like here's a shot across the grassland. Spot the bustard.

And here's a heavily cropped shot - pretty rubbish but you can just about make it out.

Because many birds were rather far away some of my shots had to be heavily cropped degrading the image - so apologies for that.

If you think Corn Buntings are scarce in the UK you want to come to this part of Spain. They were absolutely everywhere which shows they can thrive in areas of low intensity agriculture. 

Crested and Thekla Larks were abundant too although I struggle to tell them apart. A couple of photos which I think are both Crested.

A Booted Eagle which passed over fairly high up

And a passing White Stork

In some parts of the steppe they've been putting up nest boxes on telephone/electricity poles to encourage Kestrels and Rollers. I didn't get any photos of Kestrels but Rollers were more obliging although a bit distant.

And this pair.

Here's photo of a tree. Why I hear you ask?

Cos there's a Spanish Imperial Eagle in it. We were to get better views elsewhere

A photographic first for me was get shots of this Zitting Cisticola (aka Fan-tailed Warbler) which has eluded me for years although I've seen plenty of them. Not great shots but better than nowt.

Crossing a small river we came across this Little-ringed Plover

And a European Pond Turtle

On an abandoned and dilapidated building there were a large number of Cattle Egrets roosting as well as nesting Storks. 

The Cattle Egrets were spooked by our arrival and most flew off but I got some shots as they started to return

And this one landing back on the roof doing its impression of the Angel of the North.

I'll do a few insects to conclude this section.

Red-striped Oil Beetle

Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Our guide referred to this as a Red Underwing Skipper but I thought it looked more like a Small Skipper. Opinions welcome.

Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Locust of some sort.

To be continued ..........

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Regards,Tony

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