The Andalucia Bird Society

ABS Open forum => Calendar Events => Topic started by: Franky no Hair on November 17, 2016, 08:55:43 am

Title: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Franky no Hair on November 17, 2016, 08:55:43 am
Event:-  Andalucia Birding Society visit to Extremadura   

   Date:- 18th February

   Meeting Point:- Hotel Don Juan, Obando, Badajoz  06731

   Time:- 9.30am

   Leader for the day:- William Haworth,

   Directions to the meeting point:- next to N430, 2 kms west of Navalvillar de Pela

   Information about the meeting:-

We will first visit the newly-flooded reservoir at Alcollarín, then work through the rice fields of Vegas Altas for waders and feeding Cranes. At the end of the afternoon we will go to Moheda Alta to watch the Cranes move to their roosting areas. This is the area of the largest concentration of Common Cranes in the world. Target birds: Common Crane, Great crested Grebe (spectacular numbers), Great Egret, Gadwall, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Black-winged Stilt, Snipe, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Penduline Tit, Red Avadavat, Waxbill

   Accommodation in the area:-

Hotel Don Juan, Obando (€52 double room incl. breakfast)
La Lozana, Navalvillar de Pela (€60 double room incl. breakfast)

   Clothing and food:-

The weather in mid-February could be anything from sunny and shirt-sleeves to cold and wet. We’ll check a week or so in advance and advise.
We will take a picnic lunch, and if the weather is wet we’ll have a menú lunch in a restaurant for about €10.

   Other sites in the area for those staying in the area:-

La Serena and Trujillo–Cáceres grasslands for steppe birds. Great and Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark
Mérida – Roman monuments and birding on river Guadiana. Purple Gallinule, Penduline Tit, Spoonbill
Monfragüe National Park (100 kms to north) – Black and Griffon Vultures, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle
Montánchez – Alpine Accentor, Hawfinch
Arrocampo reservoir (100 kms to north) – Purple Gallinule, Bluethroat, Penduline Tit

Sunday 19th February

For people who want a further organised day’s birding, there is the opportunity to visit the vast steppe grasslands of La Serena. This is the largest area of steppe in Western Europe, very sparsely inhabited and given over to mainly low-intensity agriculture.

It is a major stronghold for several interesting species: The resident birds are Great and Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Golden and Bonelli’s Eagles, Red-billed Chough, Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks. In the winter there are big numbers of visitors from Northern Europe: Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Common Starlings mixed with the flocks of resident Spotless Starlings, Lapwing, Golden Plover. In the last 3 years it has also been an over-wintering site for Dotterel.

It is useful to have the services of a local guide as the birds are likely to be widely dispersed and can be difficult to find. A guide still doesn’t guarantee success on all species, but provides a significantly better chance.

For lunch we will take a picnic. These can be arranged through Ana, William’s wife, for €8. If the weather is poor, we will go to a restaurant for a simple menú for about €10.
For the cost of this trip please contact William direct. Contact details on the ABS web site.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Claus Quist on December 06, 2016, 12:35:24 pm

I am Claus, ABS member from Denmark, back in Spain from 7 Jan. I would like to join the Extremadura excursion but I am dependent on someone to give me a ride. I have been getting one with either David Hird or Derek and Barbara Etherton before. I would also like to go to the meeting at Fuente de Piedra. Anyone going?  I can be picked up at any train station along the Malaga- Fuengirola line.

Best wishes Claus Quist
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Claus Quist on December 06, 2016, 12:38:24 pm
Hello Again.

My email. and phone: 004529823994

Best wihes Claus Quist
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Derek Etherton on December 12, 2016, 03:04:37 pm
Hi Claus......I suspect most local members will be making 4 or 5 days out of this trip, we certainly are.  Why not consider car hire, as of today when I look on  I see Friday to Monday car hire  for 3.12 euros! 

Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Trevor H on December 13, 2016, 09:10:39 am
Hi Frank

Kept meaning to say "Thank you" for posting this information early enough for us to organise our time.  Sorry Claus, we are coming from the other side of Andalucía and like Derek are planning a few days around the area before returning to the UK via Madrid, hope someone more local is able to help you out.

Looking forward to a great trip.


Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Franky no Hair on December 14, 2016, 07:20:47 pm

I am Claus Quist from Denamark, back in Spain for the winter/spring.  I would like to go on the Extremadura trip but need a ride. Can anyone pick me up at any station along the Malaga- Fuengirola line. ( I will of course pay for the ride). I suppose that would be the day before the actual excursion?
Best wishes
Claus Quist
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Bob Wright on December 18, 2016, 11:46:10 am
Fingers crossed, eyes should be workig so, all being well, will be thinking of joining Extremadura group and spending up to 4 or 5 days in the area.  Happy Christams and New Year one and all.

Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Petrea on January 07, 2017, 08:35:22 am
Mogens and I will attend. And do the Sunday extra as well.
Will be in Hotel Don Juan. Sure to see familiar faces there!
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Franky no Hair on January 07, 2017, 05:33:51 pm
Hi Frank,
We intend joining the field meeting on 18th February.
We have booked in Hotel Don Juan for the weekend.
Looking forward to our first visit to the area.
Pauline & John Horton & Graham Leach.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Pauline Horton on January 16, 2017, 06:43:52 pm
We are interested in joining the Sunday additional guided tour at Extremadura but i cannot find an E-mail address for William Haworth.
Would be grateful if you could send me one.
Many thanks
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Wilkinson999 on January 16, 2017, 09:12:40 pm
Hello Frank,

Peter & I hope to join for the February meeting saturday & sunday.
Also next saturday at Fuenta de la Piedra.

Kind regards,

Helen Burgers
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Brenda on January 17, 2017, 12:20:07 pm

William's email is :
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Claudia.t on January 23, 2017, 05:02:26 pm
Hello Frank
Have booked at hotel Juan for the February meeting.
Would also like to do the Sunday.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Derek Etherton on February 01, 2017, 11:04:17 am
Barbara & Jerry Laycock and both of us will be there Frank, travelling together.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Lindsay Pheasant on February 01, 2017, 10:08:09 pm
Hi Frank

Keith and I will be attending

Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: geoffinsweden48 on February 04, 2017, 08:54:32 pm
Hej Frank
Liza & Geoff will be attending both days.

 Look forward to some good birding, today we've been in Brenne Central France watching cranes. Making our way down to Caceres from next week.

See you later.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Bob Wright on February 08, 2017, 10:41:11 am
Quick conformation that I will be Extramdura (on own) for a few days and attending.  Also staying at Don Juan Hotel.

Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Janet and David on February 08, 2017, 11:42:52 am
David and I will attend the Saturday meeting.  We have booked a room at the Casa Rural La Lozana in Navelviller de Pela.  We won't stay for the Sunday meeting but will take the country roads back towards Sevilla and home.  Looking forward to it and meeting you all.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: William Haworth on February 12, 2017, 01:41:00 pm
Good morning from a wet and windy Extremadura. The weather forecast for next weekend is looking much better, thank goodness. For Saturday 19th the conditions are warm 16° and calm. This looks a little too near perfect, and makes me nervous about weather forecasts!

To give you an update on birding at the locations we plan to visit, here are a few indications.

We meet at the Don Juan hotel at 9.30am. On the way to Alcollarín we will stop for a few minutes to see whether we find a Great Bustard or two near Madrigalejo. In a few weeks’ time the males will be displaying and they are now starting to move back onto the spring territories.

We will go through the village of Zorita and can stop at the little supermarket for people to get picnic items. We will have a picnic at the reservoir.

Alcollarín is a new reservoir which started to fill 4 winters ago. The rich feeding available on newly flooded ground has attracted huge numbers of birds, and the location is on its way to achieving must-visit status amongst birders. It now overshadows the nearby Sierra Brava reservoir which was described as the third most significant winter site in Spain, after Doñana  and the Ebro delta. There are thousands of duck – mainly Mallard, Shoveller, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard and some Pintail, Wigeon, Red-crested Pochard – and hundreds of Great-crested Grebe. Also many hundreds of Coot and Cormorant, some geese – the resident and exploding population of Egyptian Geese, plus some Greylag, Common Shelduck, plus hundreds of BH Gulls and Lesser BB Gulls.

In addition there are interesting rarities from time to time. For several weeks now we have had a Smew, still there as of yesterday (Saturday 11th). Let’s hope he hangs on a bit longer. There are regular Ferruginous Duck, a group of Spoonbills, and occasional Ruddy Shelduck. A Squacco Heron has been around for several weeks. Black Stork are regular in spring and autumn, so maybe we have a chance of an early mover. The summer birds are a different story, but we’ll leave that for another time.

After our picnic lunch we head for the irrigated fields of Santa Amalia and Palazuelo. The situation is changeable as birds are starting to move north, but as some birds are leaving others are arriving on passage. Last week we had several hundred Black-tailed Godwit, flocks of Dunlin, Greenshank, Ruff, Plovers – Golden, Great, and Kentish, the 3 Egrets, 17 resident Glossy Ibis and of course Common Crane. There are good numbers of Marsh Harrier, some Hen Harrier and occasional Merlin. In the field margins there are some overwintering Bluethroat. Snipe are very common in mid-winter but there were very few last week.

The last location we visit is Moheda Alta, close to our departure point in the morning. We should see the Cranes moving in to their pre-roost gatherings in the rice fields. Time permitting we might have a short walk through the dehesa with the chance of a Black-winged Kite.

I’ll send another message about the Sunday trip around La Serena steppe.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017 - Sunday on La Serena
Post by: William Haworth on February 12, 2017, 02:52:20 pm
For the Sunday trip, here is a bit of background, some recent sightings plus logistical info.

La Serena is a huge area of rolling grassland which makes up the largest steppe in Western Europe. It is about 30 kms from north to south and 50kms from east to west. It is flanked by the Sierra de Tiros to the south and the Sierra de Orellana to the north, with the largest reservoir in Spain cutting across it. The soil is poor and shallow with numerous jagged rocky outcrops. The area is almost completely devoid of trees, and agriculture is based on grazing sheep (formerly by bringing vast flocks down the network of drove roads from the northern Spanish meseta) and growing cereal crops.
It has a range of interesting birds – resident Great and Little Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew and Calandra Larks, overwintering Golden Plover, Lapwing, and Common and Spotted Starlings. In the spring and early summer there is a good population of Montagu’s Harriers. The area is hunted over by resident Golden Eagles and Bonelli’s Eagles, and in the summer Short-toed and Booted Eagles.
There have been very large numbers of Golden Plover this winter, with many thousands of birds. Amongst them there have been a small number of Dotterel, and these have been recorded every winter for the past 3 years. The Dotterel were present a week ago but yesterday (Saturday 11th) there was no sign of them and many of the plovers have moved off too.
Two recent trips across the area gave some good birding. Yesterday at the southern limit of La Serena there were a pair of sky-dancing Bonelli’s Eagles, a Golden Eagle and the first Black Kite of the season. Also we saw 3 Great Bustard, a small group of Black-bellied Sandgrouse and 8 Pin-tailed,  10 Red-billed Chough and 5 Little Owls in view at the same time. The highlight of the day was a flock of 70 Little Bustard. There has been a SEO census of Little Bustards as the numbers have crashed over the last few years. After 2 afternoons a few weeks ago with no sightings at all, this group was very welcome. Another single male bird later on suggests that lek formation is starting. This makes birds easier to find, as the winter flocks are hard to locate in the vast area. We have a very good chance of seeing Sandgrouse, most likely in flight when they are located by their calls. There are still large flocks of Calandra Larks, and of Eastern European Starlings mixed in with the Spotless.
We will include a visit to the castle at Puebla de Alcocer. There are fantastic views over La Serena, plus a chance of Blue Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear.
Then we will pass the cliff at Puerto Peña, with a resident Griffon Vulture colony, Bonelli’s Eagle,  and maybe a returning Black Stork.
The final location will be to look for Spanish Imperial Eagle near Casas de Don Pedro.

We will depart at 9.30am from the same location as on the Saturday (Don Juan hotel in Obando). So far 9 people have confirmed they are coming along. Apart from myself we will have another guide with us. The the cost will be €25 per person. If anyone else is interested please send an email to me at

We will have a picnic lunch. If you would like one prepared by my wife Ana it will cost €8. Please let me know if you need one.
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Bob Wright on February 22, 2017, 12:32:58 pm
22 February 2017

I expect most of the 21 members are now back in their respective homes following last week-end's visit to Extremadura so appropriate that a special word of thanks be expressed to fellow member William Haworth, ably assisted by his friend Neil Renwick, for so ably organising and leading the February field visit and managing to just about find all the target birds of the area, steppe and rice fileds, albeit the Little Bustards and both sandgrouse had to wait until the following morning, either led by William himself or other members making their own individual explorations.  A trully lovely day in glorious weather and, I am sure, throughly enjoyed by all.  Once all the data has been gathered in readers will see that we just about managed to record 80 species including Great Bustard, hundreds of Cranes, thousands of Sparrows represented by House, Spanish and Tree along with  huge flocks of both Waxbill and Red Avadavats.  Raptors included Marsh and Hen Harrier, Black and Griffon Vultures, Red Kite, Lesser and Common Kestrel and our own friendly Little owl.  Other members, no doubt, will have enjoyed seeing a Bluethroat and there were certainly many Hoopoes.  Or could it have been the Meadow Pipits and Golden Plovers up on the moors?  In the end lots of sightings for everyone and the summary list is as below.  Once again, very many thanks William.

Bob Wright
Membership Secretary

ABS Meeting - Extremadura – 18 February 2017

Bunting - Corn
Bustard - Great
Buzzard - Common
Crane - Common
Cuckoo - Great Spotted
Dove - Collared
Egret - Cattle
Egret - Great White
Egret - Little
Goose - Egyptian
Grebe - Black-necked
Grebe - Great Crested
Grebe - Little
Gull - Black-headed
Harrier - Hen
Harrier - Marsh
Heron - Grey
Heron - Squacco
Kestrel – Lesser
Kestrel – Common
Kite - Red
Lark - Calandra
Lark – Crested
Lark - Thekla
Lark - Sky

Magpie - Azure Winged
Owl - Little
Partridge - Red-legged
Pigeon - Wood
Pintail Duck
Pipit - Meadow
Plover - Golden
Red Avadavit
Redstart - Black
Sandpiper - Green
Short-toed Eagle
Shrike - Iberian Grey
Sparrow - House
Sparrow - Spanish
Sparrow - Tree
Starling - Common
Starling - Spotless
Stone Curlew
Stork - White
Swallow - Barn
Tit - Great
Vulture - Black
Vulture - Griffon
Wagtail - White
Warbler - Cetti's
Warbler - Sardinian
Waxbill - Common
Zitting Cisticola

Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: William Haworth on February 23, 2017, 03:49:58 pm
I would like to say how much I enjoyed our days, and to thank everyone for being prepared to do a lot of driving to get up to Extremadura. It was a real pleasure to meet everyone, and I hope to get out on some of the monthly ABS visits if I can convince Ana that there will be something for the non-birders too!

Un saludo
Title: Re: Field meeting for Feb 2017
Post by: Bob Wright on February 25, 2017, 09:30:18 am
Saturday 25 February

I have now received replies from other members attending the ABS Extremadura visit who have been able to add their sightings on the day.  The following additional 5 species takes our combined list for the day up to 81.

Black Vulture
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Wagtail

Some really cracking birds seen by most and 17 of the 23 participants visited the stepes on the following day and all saw Little and Great Bustard along with both Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.  I even caught up with a flock of 50 Red-billed Chough out on a feeding epedition.  What you might call a fabulous week-end's birding and thanks once again to William and Neil.