The Andalucia Bird Society

ABS Birding forum => Your Local Patch => Topic started by: vicente on January 09, 2013, 12:00:23 am

Title: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on January 09, 2013, 12:00:23 am

Every month I'd like to tell you the main sightings of my (big) local patch. This is my December 2012 report:

Dec. 01 - Volcanic Lagoons of Campo de Calatrava: Pintail (very rare here), Eagle Owl, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and 3 adults of Golden Eagle.

Dec. 02 - Tablas de Daimiel National Park: Ferroginous Duck, White-Headed Duck (over 40 ind.), Purple Swamphen, Common Cranes (up to 4000 ind. coming to roost into the park boundaries), Whiskered Tern (3 juvs.), Lesser Short-Toed Lark (>6), Water Pipit, Dartford Warbler (rare in spring time, but common in winter) plus several Penduline Tits.

Dec. 06 - Campo de Calatrava (surroundings of Tablas de Daimiel): Great Bustard, (6) Little Bustard (small flock of over 40 ind.), Stone Curlew (>7), Black-Belied Sandgrouse (beautiful flock up to 28 ind.), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Golden Eagle.

Dec. 09 - Sierra de Andujar: Dunnock (rare here) and Firecrest.

Dec. 22 - Valle de Alcudia: Adult of Spanish Imperial out of its territory.

Dec. 22 - Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon river): Spoonbill + new roosting place for Hen Harrier.

Dec. 23 - Tablas de Daimiel: Tufted Duck  in the mist (2)

Dec. 25 - Tablas de Daimiel:  Tufted Duck (2, female + juv.), White-Headed Duck (>60), Purple Swamphen (>6), Golden Plover (>25), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (nice flock with over 25 ind.), Goldcrest (3 ind. inside the park, extremely rare bird in La Mancha) and Penduline Tit.

Dec. 30 - Tablas de Daimiel: Black Shouldered Kite and Stock Dove (2)

A happy new year for all,

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena - Dec. 2012
Post by: Peter on January 09, 2013, 04:52:27 pm
Very interesting Vicente and good to know the birds of your area. Must get up there for a visit! Happy New Year to you too.

Peter  :)
Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on September 30, 2013, 11:49:30 pm
Last December I started at ABS Forum a serial of reports about the most interesting sightings in my local patch, La Mancha & Sierra Morena. Too much work in these large months of 2013 has prevented me to continue with that serie of reports, but now I think that I’ll have time for show the rich birdlife of my area. This is a very short resumé of the first 9 months of the year:

Jan. 01 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Black Shouldered Kite (rare here) and a couple of Stock Dove.

Jan. 26 – Daimiel surroundings: 3 Egyptian Geese, a flock of over 300 Little Bustards plus dozens of Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, over 30 Stone Curlews and more than 300 Golden Plovers.

Jan. 26 – Almagro Fields: 20 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse grazing in a an area close to a Great Bustard territory (watched 108 GB this day), and a albino individual of Crested Lark.

Jan. 29 – Sierra de Andujar: 2 Spanish Imperial Eagle plus a plethora of common birds here such as Black Vulture, Golden Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, Dartford Warbler, etc.

Feb. 3 – Guadiana River: 1 solitaire Barn Swallow.

Feb. 3 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 3 Goldcrest.

Feb. 16 – Campo de Calatrava: 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Spanish Imperial Eagle, a flock of over 12 Hawfinch and a rare Willow Warbler in this period of the year, this bird seen and heard.

Feb. 17 – Almagro: 4 Spanish Imperial Eagle (included an adult female) and our first Great Spotted Cuckoo of the year.

Feb. 24 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 2 big flocks of Black Kite moving north, with more than 340 individuals.

Mar. 2 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 1 beautiful male of Bluthroat (a wintering bird here), still 8 Reed Buntings, and our first Moustached Warbler singing in the reeds.

Mar. 3 – Campo de Calatrava (Granatula): 1 Black Wheatear in a new location of the area.

Mar. 10 – Almagro (Jabalon river): 1 inmature Egyptian Vulture (first record in this area with more than 200 different species watched in 7 years of census), 6 Lesser Kestrel in their habitual breeding colony, 1 Turtle Dove and 1 Wryneck (another first record for this part of Almagro).

Mar. 15 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: a couple of Great Crested Grebe in their coutship (usually in February, but this year very late), 7 Glossy Ibis, 2 Water Rail watched crossing the reeds, 1 Savi’s Warbler, 1 Moustached Warbler, 1 Penduline Tit and still 2 Bluethroats, 5 Reed Buntings and 13 Common Cranes.

Mar. 19 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 1 Marbled Duck, 1 Osprey and the first Woodchat Shrike of the season.

Mar. 21 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 1 Garganey (male), the fisrt Short Toed Eagle of a very poor year in raptor sightings, several Moustached & Savi’s Warblers, and still some wintering birds here such as Blackcap or Water Pipit.

Mar. 23 – Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon river): A new Osprey on migration.

Mar. 24 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Another Osprey, a second year Spanish Imperial Eagle, one Nightingale, flocks of Yellow Wagtails and besides them a laggard Merlin.

Mar. 28 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: First small flocks of Collared Pratincoles.

Mar. 29 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 6 Marbled Ducks.

Mar. 30 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 2 Purple Herons & 3 Spoonbills.

Abr. 3 – Campo de Calatrava (SPA Calatrava Steppes): among other common birds in the steppes, 42 Great Bustards, 12 Litte Bustards, 5 Montagu’s Harriers, 25 PT Sandgrouse, 16 BB Sandgrouse and 6 Short-Toed Lark.

Abr. 6 - Tablas de Daimiel surroundings: over 50 White Headed Ducks, 1 Redstart and 1 Bonelli’s Warbler.

Abr. 6 – Almagro: 77 Great Bustards, 300 Greater Flamingoes and my first record of WH Duck in my town.

Abr. 7 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: A Spotted Crake in the surroundings of the park (Zacatena Dehesa).

Abr. 13 – Campo de Calatrava (several locations in the volcanic area and the Guadiana river): 4 Black Storks, 50 Great Bustards, 1 Winchat and 1 Whitethroat, first Golden Oriole and first 8 Bee-Eaters. The most beautiful sighting this day was a stunning Osprey hovering in the Guadiana river for several seconds under the astonishing eyes of our customers.

Abr. 14 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 2 Ferruginous Pochards, 3 WH Ducks, 1 Purple Swamphen, several Pied Flycatchers on migration and the very rare and localized Reed Bunting (whitherby supspecies) with one couple finally watched for our USA customer.

Abr. 16 – Cabañeros N.P.: 1 Purple Heron, a very rare bird in this special area for raptors.

Abr. 18 – Campo de Calatrava (SPA Calatrava Steppes): an amazing day, with the common species of this area plus Gull-Billed Tern, Black Vulture and 3 Spanish Imperial Eagles.

Abr. 19 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 44 Collared Pratincoles and the fisrt Roller of the season.

Abr. 25 – Campo de Calatrava (SPA Calatrava Steppes): 1 Short-Eared Owl seen hawking two hours before dusk.

Abr. 27 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 1 Hobby on migration.

May 10 - Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 1 Western Reef Heron x Little Egret watched in the ABS Field Meeting of May (clearly identified by Peter Jones). A total of 94 species watched this day.

May 11 – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: 2 Black Storks and several Hawfinchs.

May 18 – Campo de Calatrava (Moral): 5 WH Ducks.

Jun. 23 – Tablas de Daimel N.P.: At least 4 nests of Spoonbill inside the National Park, this is the second year that this bird breeds in the park. Several Little Bitterns seen flying plus a solitaire Little Tern in the surroundings. A couple of Long-Eared Owl was watched in the Tamarisk trees of “Isla del Pan” two hours before dusk.

Jun. 24 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: a Honey Buzzard was seen for several days in the surroundings of the park, a very rare sight of a bird that doesn’t breed in the area. This day more than 6 Cuckoos were found in the Dehesa Zacatena, and our first record of Azure-Winged Magpie near the park (a bird that is fairly common outside).

Jul. 20 – Almagro (Volcanic Fields & Wetlands): 1 Little Bittern, 1 Squacco Heron, 25 Lesser Kestrel, over 20 Stone Curlew & 8 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Red-Neck Nightjar, Kingfisher…

Jul. 21 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: a Peregrine Falcon scaring all birds plus a solitaire and very difficult to see Sedge Warbler (start signal for the Autumn migration).

Jul. 27 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: Spanish Imperial Eagle over the Guadina river. First Black-Tailed Godwitt.

Ago. 13 – Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park: over 30 Black Kites on migration moving south, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and a couple of Whimbrels flying very fast towards the La Mancha plains.

Ago. 27 – Campo de Calatrava: Bonelli’s Eagle in the beautiful Fresneda river Gorge, plus the very common in the area Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Rock Bunting, Blue-Rock Thrush… and our first Spotted Flycatcher of the Autumn migration.

Ago. 31 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: the Honey Buzzard is seen again in the area. Many birds on migration, like Flycatchers, Redstarts and the really uncommon Wood Warbler.

Sep. 1 – Almagro (Volcanic Fields): a plethora of raptors in just a couple of hours, including Black & Griffon Vultures, Golden, Spanish & Bonelli’s Eagle, Sparrowhawk… but for us the most impressive view of the day was the sight of hundreds of Flamingoes in a volcanic lagoon inside the mountains, an unusual picture in this isolated and unknown area of La Mancha.

Sep. 7 – Almagro (Volcanic Fields): in the same area that the previous report, among the common big raptors of the area, a very white Short-Toed Eagle was seen perched over a Holm Oak near the water.

Sept. 7 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: first Osprey on migration. The next day a Wryneck was observed inside the park.

Sept. 14 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: Osprey and a couple of marvelous Beard Tit coming to roost in the reeds.

Sept. 15 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: Osprey again, but also juv Little Bittern, Melodious Warbler, Squacco Heron…

Sept. 15 – Campo de Calatrava: 12 Black Stork, several of them juveniles.

Sept. 17 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: 3 Marbled Ducks among several Red Crested Pochards, WH Ducks, etc.

Sept. 18 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: 1 Ferruginous Pochard, 3 WH Duck, 1 Purple Swamphen and 1 Osprey. The same day, in Cabaneros N.P., several Winchat, 2 Red-Neck Nightjar and 1 RT Rock Thrush (second record of this bird inside the National Park).

Sept. 20 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: a juvenile Goshawk chased by a big flock of Starlings that finally  expel it out of the park.

Sept. 22 - Tablas de Daimel N.P.: a memorable afternoon inside the park: Bearded & Penduline Tits, 3 Bluethroats, Garden, Cetti’s, Bonelli’s & Melodious Warblers, Water Rail, Red-Neck Nightjar, WH Duck, 2 Marbled Ducks…

And this is all. A long report, I know, but I’ll try the next ones to be month by month.

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on November 04, 2013, 11:24:17 pm
Hi. As promised, here is the continuation of my last report about the main birdlife watched in my local patch.

Oct. 1 – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: among the common raptors of the area (Imperial & Golden Eagle), a Bonelli’s Eagle was seen besides a couple of Goshawks in a astonishing display.

Oct. 2 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Osprey again.

Oct. 5 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: a very interesting day with many migrants as Purple Heron, Northern Wheatear, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and, of course, Osprey, but also the first migrants from the distant north: a couple of Common Cranes (this is the earliest report of this bird in the Ciudad Real province).

Oct. 9 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 4 Common Cranes.

Oct. 11 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: 12 Common Cranes & 5 Night Herons.

Oct. 12 – Almagro (Jabalon river): typical species of these days such as Merlin, Sparrowhawk & Song Thrush, but still Northern Wheatears moving south.

Oct. 19 – Guadiana river: 19 Spoonbills feeding in a meander of the river.

Oct. 20 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: a female Ferruginous Pochard, plus many wintering birds such as Merlin, Meadow Pipit or Black Redstart. Over 150 Common Cranes confirming the surprise of its early arrival in La Mancha, and again an Osprey, this time the last seen this year. This bird was seen gliding at high altitude and clearly heading south.

Oct. 25 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: a male Ferruginous Pochard.

Oct. 27 – Montes de Ciudad Real (border with Extremadura): 3 Red Kites in a very isolated area, with no records of this species. A possible explosion of voles?

And that’s all. An interesting month with many birds migrating very late to Africa, and also many early records of other birds moving south for overwinter. The world is changing very fast...

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on December 05, 2013, 12:03:05 am
November came, bringing a handful of birding moments in my local patch. Not as many as  I’d desired due the lack of free time, but enough for keep me intrigued with new & exciting sightings in the days to come.

Nov. 1 – Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon Reservoir): a solitaire Spoonbill. The reservoir is plenty of water, excellent for ducks, bad for waders.

Nov. 2 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Imperial Eagle plus a big flock of over 700 Cranes. But the most exciting moment was the visión of a juvenil Purple Heron. This day temperatura was still over 20º Celsius.

Nov. 9 – Surroundings of Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: looking for mushrooms, small flocks of Lesser Short-Toed Larks around us.

Nov. 10 – Calatrava Steppes in the afternoon: never seen something like this. Red Kite, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Great Bustard (+130), Little Bustard (+700), Black-Belied Sandgrouse (+14) and Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (+1800 minimun!!!). Uncountables, with mixed flocks of hundreds of LT Bustards & PT Sandgrouses. One of the best moments of the last years.

Nov. 17 – Calatrava Steppes: Great Bustard (+180), Little Bustard (+500), Golden Plover (2), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (+600), Black Belied Sandgrouse (9) plus a couple of Willow Warblers in a frozen morning. Afternoon in the Calderon Lagoon (Calatrava) with at least 10 White-Headed Ducks, 35 Eared Grebes, Shellduck, Flamingoes, etc.

Nov. 18 – Surroundings of Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: a very interesting sight in another freeze dawning with 4 Red Rumped Swallows numbed in the cold morning, something difficult to believe in my patch at the end of November. But this wasn’t the most exciting sight of the day: Purple Swamphen (3) and Great Bustards (14) added new excitements, but, what can you think when looking a Hoopoe and suddenly, gliding fast at a very low altitude, a Sparrowhawk come and kill the Hoopoe just in front of your car, as close as 10 metres!!! Undoubtedly this has been the great natural moment of the year!!!

And that’s all. The end of November saw me and my wife in Panama, but this is another tale.


Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: Trevor H on December 06, 2013, 03:18:58 pm
Hi Vicente,

Sounds like you've had a fantastic time!


Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: David on December 07, 2013, 12:27:13 pm
Hi Vincente,

Unfortunately, I missed the Field Meeting at Las Tablas de Damiel that you led earlier this year.  The area sounds very exciting and I will definitely find time to visit your area in 2014.

Thank you for the posts, they are very interesting.

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on January 08, 2014, 11:25:50 pm
Hello. This is my December mailing with the most significative sightings in my local patch. Not too many days for birding due bad weather, holidays or family obligations, but enough for give me satisfied.

Dec. 8 – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and Guadiana river: 4 Purple Swamphen (very common this winter in Tablas de Daimiel) plus 1 Golden Eagle soaring over the Guadiana river. Very nice to see Water Pipit walking over ice!

Dec. 10 – Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: 5 White-Headed Ducks, a nice flock of more than 25 Ruffs flying over a small lagoon close to the park, plus 1 female Reed Bunting and several Dartford Warblers in the reeds inside the park.

Dec. 14 – Again in Tablas de Daimiel and its surroundings: 3 White-Headed Ducks, 4 Purple Swamphen and a big flock of over 700 Common Cranes. Outside the park, close to the Guadiana river, a fantastic end for the day with several Merlins, 3 Hen Harriers, over 40 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, 50 Little Bustard, 95 Great Bustard (very funny to see how they hide behind the vines) and like a cherry in the cake 1 Spanish Imperial Eagle perched on a solitaire tree. This sight is very significative because it was an adult one (at least 5 years old, what it’s consider a fifth plumaje-type), and it’s the first time in my life that I have seen an adult one in the vicinity of Tablas de Daimiel. During 2013 we’ve been watching several immatures around the park (3-4 years old, what we call “dameros” i.e. “chessboard”), but never an adult one.

Dec. 15 – Cabaneros National Park (Torre de Abraham reservoir): over 1700 Common Cranes coming to roost and 1 Eagle-Owl perched on a post close to the road (we were travelling south with some friends after a memorable lunch in Cabaneros).

Dec. 29 – Campo de Calatrava (Mudela Fields), Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: full day with 2 adult Spanish Imperial Eagles expelling a 2 yc (year calendar) Golden Eagle from its territory, another couple of Imperial Eagle, lots of Wood Larks, 1 Cirl Bunting and 1 Dartford Warbler in Campo de Calatrava. Afternoon in Tablas de Daimiel with 2 Purple Swamphen, 1 Green Woodpecker over a roof (strange visión), 50 Little Bustards and 2 adults Spanish Imperial Eagle in the same place where two weeks ago I founded just an adult! The new Eagle looks like a 4 yc or fourth plumaje-type, but not completely sure due to the wind and the distance. I’ll wait at least one month before coming back to this place and try to see courtship behavior between them. This day I also saw 2 Red Foxes, 1 Otter and 1 Egyptian Mongoose (see pic below).

Dec. 31 – Vicario Reservoir: 2 Great Egrets and the final surprise of 1 Ferruginous Pochard, first record for this bird in the area.
Happy New Year for all members,

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on February 05, 2014, 11:01:51 pm
News again from La Mancha. This month of January has brought very bad weather and, fortunately, some exciting sightings. This is my summary:

Jan. 1 – Tablas de Daimiel: The usual outing (very early in the morning) of the first day of the year didn’t bring many “quality” sightings, but I personally could enjoy the visión of Reed Bunting and 4 Penduline Tits.

Jan. 11 – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: our contribution to the anual census of Red Kite in this unspoilt area of Sierra Morena produced several raptors (2 Golden Eagles, 6 Black Vultures plus uncountables Griffon), Dunnock, Sardinian & Dartford Warblers, but no Red Kites.

Jan. 12 – Calatrava Fields (Calderón Lagoon): another bad day with strong winds & cloudy, where we managed to find Red Crested Pochard, Common Shelduck, Little Stint (uncommon here) and even 13 Pin-Tailed Sandgouse between the thousand of birds (Flamingoes, Storks, Coots, Gulls) that feeds every day in this amazing place settled in the proximity of my town. No luck with the family of White-Headed Duck that are becoming usual to see here.

Jan. 18 – Campo de Montiel: in this “inspection” trip in the unknown territory of Montiel (eastwards Calatrava Fields), despite the heavy rain and the dangerous muddy tracks, we were fortunate to watch 4 Golden Eagles, 3 Spanish Imperial Eagles, Great Spotted Woodpecker & over 25 Hawfinch. However the star of the “day” was the Red Kite, ubiquitous the whole day, with at least  20 birds seen between the rain.

Jan. 25 – Cabaneros National Park: photographic tour in search of Black Vultures & Spanish Imperial Eagle. Bad luck again with the weather (absolute failure of the forecast), but in just 2 hours we were lucky enough to catch several Black Vultures over us (very close) and 2 other Spanish Imperial Eagle (but very high for a good picture). Anyway, the “moment of the day” was the first Great Spotted Cuckoo of the year.

Jan. 26 – Campo de Montiel: second day trying to take good pictures of (in this case) Spanish Imperial Eagle. We were lucky to see at least 10 different individuals, but don’t ask me about the pictures! You have to be really fast and fortunate to capture this magnificent raptor! Moreover the day brought other beautiful moments, with Hawfinch, Siskin, Rock & Tree Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush, Red Kite...

Trust that the next months continue bringing new exciting moments and, hopefully, some good weather.

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on April 02, 2014, 11:05:19 pm
It took me more than expected in writing again with the best “bird’s news” from my local patch in La Mancha & Sierra Morena. February was “lost” in a memorable trip to Vietnam, with some birding in the central days of the month (Cat Tien, Da Lat & Cuc Phuong), but back again in Spain I only can say thanks to the Nature for bringing these nice days in my area –though not such good weather as in Vietnam!

This is my local report:

Feb. 28th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: just a short outing fighting against strong winds, but managed to see some White-Headed Ducks (12), Greater Flamingos (+150), Stone Curlew and my first House Martin of 2014.
March 2nd – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: still very bad weather, but some nice ID like Hen Harrier -only wintering in La Mancha-, Moustached Warbler (3), the first Barns Swallows of the season (4), a big flock of Spanish Sparrow coming to roost, and still over 2200 Common Cranes, a bird that usually migrates north in this period of the year.

March 4th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: more Barn Swallows (+25), plus common specialities of the area like White-Headed Duck (6), Red-Crested Pochard (2), Great Egret (1), and even a mysterious female Reed Bunting -in La Mancha there is a big population of migrants Reed Buntings in Winter, but in Spring time we only have a very small population of the whitherby subspecies (400 pairs all over the world), so I’m still wondering if this bird belongs to the resident Reed Buntings (rare to see) or to the last northern migrants-. Some Common Cranes were also spotted (20), and new birds were welcomed, like the very rare Spoonbill (4).

March 7th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: a beautiful mix of migrants from the south and from the north: Black Kites (small flock of 30), Lesser Kestrel (3) and Willow Warbler (1), plus still Hen Harrier (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Common Crane (4) and Black Redstart (4). Inside the park, Moustached Warbler (1), Sardinian Warbler (1) and a noisy flock of Tree Sparrow (+12).

March 8th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: among the residents White-Headed Ducks (+60) and Little Bustards (+60), new migrants arriving, like Night Heron (1), Spotted Redshank (+8) and finally Short-Toad Eagle (1). Spoonbills ready to start breeding (2), and a few Common Cranes that resist to migrate (6).

March 9th – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: very nice day with some highlights like Golden Eagle (3 in total, though 2 were seen in Almagro), Spanish Imperial Eagle (1), Short-Toed Eagle (3), Lesser Kestrel (1), Great Spotted Cuckoos chasing themeselves (6), Blue Rock Thrush (2), Sardinian Warbler (2), Dartford Warbler (2) and Iberian Shrike (2) –formerly Southern Grey Shrike-. Afternoon walk near Almagro, with more Great Spotted Cuckoos (3), Hen Harrier (1), and my first ID in La Mancha of Western Olivaceous Warbler (1), really uncommon in my local patch, though common in the western part of the región.

March 15th – Sierra de Andujar Natural Park & Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: one posible Great Cormorant of the maroccanus subspecies in Valle de Alcudia (VA), one Black Stork seen flying by in Sierra de Andujar (SA), Black Vulture (2), Golden Eagle (2) & Spanish Imperial Eagle (1) in SA, plus my first Egyptian Vulture of the year (2 in VA).  No trace of Lynx.

March 16th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: more migrants coming from the south, like Black Kite (+40), Black-Tailed Godwit (6), Whiskered Tern (8) & Yellow Wagtail (1). Amazing concentrations of White-Headed Ducks (+90), plus nice numbers of Greater Flamingos (+400). Other interesting sightings were the first Glossy Ibis of the season –breeding in Tablas, but only seen in this season-, Penduline Tits making a nest just at the entrance of the Park (2), a very late Black Redstart, and again –what I guess- the same female Reed Bunting seen on March 4th.

March 21st – Almagro surroundings: a Spotted Crake heard in the Jabalon river at night.

March 22th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: a lot of migrants that must have crossed the Gibraltar Strait thanks to the good weather of the last days. Night Heron (6), Little Ringed Plover (+3), Kentish Plover (2), Little Stint (4), Wood Sandpiper (1), Redshank (1), Blac-Tailed Godwit (6), Ruff (+12), Whiskered Tern, Yellow Wagtail… But the most interesting sightings of the day were a couple of Stone Curlew seen near the main entrance -and at midday!-, my first Savi’s Warbler of the spring season, 20 White-Headed Ducks, 2 Spoonbills, 5 Penduline Tits and again the same female of Reed Bunting –whitherby?-.

March 23rd (morning) – Campo de Calatrava: Woodchat Shrike!

March 23rd (afternoon) – Campo de Calatrava: a new nesting pair of Spanish Imperial Eagle near Almagro! Now we have 2 pairs in the area!

March 30th – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park (morning) and Campo de Calatrava (afternoon): Egyptian Vulture (2), first Common Cuckoo –only heard- and Tree Pipit (1) in Valle de Alcudia –second personal record of this bird in La Mancha-, plus other common forest birds like Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren, etc. –we just were looking for endemic Narcissus-. In Campo de Calatrava a beautiful afternoon walk with Glossy Ibis (3), Woodchat Shrike (1) and Bonelli’s Warbler (1), but also 5 species of Orchids in what it looks a very early spring in this area.

March 31th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: countless Night Herons (+50), Scops Owl –only heard-, and like a “cherry in the cake” my first Purple Heron.

I can only say: “Thanks Nature. Spring, you’re very wellcome”.

Title: Re: Rarities & curiosities in La Mancha & Sierra Morena
Post by: vicente on September 18, 2014, 11:34:06 pm
Five months without time to recapitulate all the birding experiences had in La Mancha & Sierra Morena, but here is, at the end, my last summary with my best records of these exciting months:

April 5th – Campo de Calatrava: nice afternoon with several Hawfinches in their nests, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian Woodpecker, Cirl Bunting and my first sight of Nightingale this year.

April 6th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: Little Bittern, plus the very common Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, White-Headed Duck & Collared Pratincole. A flock of +20 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse flying over the Guadiana river.

April 12th – Surroundings of las Tablas (Guadiana river): over 20 Little Bustard plus a couple of Black Tern.

April 18th – Cabaneros National Park and surroundings: Black Stork, Goshawk, Little Bustard, Eagle-Owl, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch and countless Woodchat Shrike.

April 19th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: 4 Gull-Billed Terns and one chick of Long-Eared Owl in the tamarisk trees of one of the main itineraries. This brood, with one brother and one adult, were seeing during the following three weeks in the same place.

April 21st - Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: a very late record of Merlin, plus Temminck Stint, Curlew Sandpiper & Redshank. But the bird of the day was a female of Reed Bunting watched inside the park, an endangered bird in southern Spain.

April 22nd - Cabaneros National Park and surroundings: very nice day with Black Stork, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle (3), Sparrowhawk, Black-Belied Sandgrouse, Common & Great Spotted Cuckoo, Black-Eared Wheatear, Penduline Tit, Dartford Warbler, Hawfinch…

April 24th - Calatrava Steppes and Volcanic Lagoon of La Posadilla: apart from the common specialties of the area like Montagu’s Harrier (4), Lesser Kestrel (20), Peregrine Falcon (1), Great Bustard (40), Little Bustard (12),Stone Curlew (14), Black-Belied Sandgrouse (14), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (20), Stock Dove (2) and Greater Short Toad Lark (2) we could see in the only river of this fantastic steppe: Spoonbill, Common Shelduck and Gull-Billed Tern. Purple Swamphen was seen in the La Posadilla volcanic lagoon.

April 26th - Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: a couple of Quails (very difficult to spot, but seen with a lot of luck), Purple Swamphen, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole (6), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (6), Short-Eared Owl, Greater Short Toad Lark and an incredible Black Vulture over the park.

April 27th – Campo de Calatrava: Ferruginous Pochard in the Prado Lagoon.

April 29th – Calatrava (Steppes & Lagoons) and Tablas de Daimiel National Park: another day to remember with 84 species recorded. White-Headed Duck (8), Spanish Imperial Eagle in the Calatrava Steppes (2), Lesser Kestrel (20), Purple Swamphen, Great Bustard (32), Little Bustard (10), Stone Curlew (6), Gull-Billed Tern (6), Black-Belied Sandgrouse (10), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (8), Stock Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Long Eared Owl (3), Bonelli’s Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Penduline Tit…

May 2nd – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: Black Tern (2) and my first record for this year of White-Winged Tern.

May 3rd – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: Iberian Chifchaf and Red-Knob Coot (seen again after one year without any notice of this rare bird).

May 4th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: nice list for this day with Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Red-Knob Coot, Stone Curlew, Turtle Dove, Roller, Bank Swallow, Sardinian & Subalpine Warblers, Moustached & Melodious Warblers, Penduline Tit…

May 8th – Campo de Calatrava: Garden Warbler on migration, Eagle-Owl (2) and first record of Common Waxbill in the Jabalón river.

May 11th – Campo de Calatrava: Egyptian Goose (2), Gull-Billed Tern and Winchat.

May 18th – Campo de Calatrava: one adult of Black Stork and 3 chicks on a nest (one of the two pairs of Black Stork settled in Calatrava).

May 24h – Valle de Alcudia Natural Park: one adult Spanish Imperial Eagle over the Sierra Madrona mountains and a plethora of forest & shrubs species like Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Lark, Robin (rare as breeding), Black-Eared Wheatear, Blackcap, Subalpine & Dartford Warblers, Firecrest (very rare in spring time), Cirl & Rock Buntings.

May 25th – Campo de Calatrava: Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Stone Curlew, a flock of over 40 Lapwings, Roller (3), Black Wheatear, Penduline Tit and the first record in this part of La Mancha of Rufous-Tailed Scrub Robin.

May 30th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park and surroundings: Black Tern (2), Moustached Warbler and over 30 White-Headed Ducks. At night, in Campo de Calatrava, 2 Red-Necked Nightjars.

May 31st – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): a solitaire Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse over the Sierra, an unusual sight.

June 1st – Despeñaperros Natural Park (Sierra Morena): Bonelli’s Warbler (1), Short-Toed Eagle (4), Peregrine Falcon (1), Wood Lark, Golden Oriole & Coal Tit (extremely rare in all the region).

June 14th – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): Golden Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher (3), Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian, Subalpine & Melodious Warblers, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting and, sadly & unfortunately, a Little Owl run over by my car when coming back home.

June 15th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: many common birds in the breeding season (Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill) plus Black Tern (2), Iberian Woodpecker (2) and Roller (4). In the evening, in my town Almagro, one Black-Belied Sandgrouse drinking in the Jabalón river, two Eagle-Owls, other two Red-Necked Nightjars, two juvs of Blue Rock Thrush and Great Spotted Cuckoo.

June 29th – Tablas de Daimiel National Park: same birds seen in the previous days plus Moustached Warbler and, after seeking for them a long time, a couple of Bearded Tits, one of our favourites birds.

July 5th – Campo de Calatrava: (Sierra Morena): common dwellers of the sierra, as Black Stork (1), Golden Oriole (2), Iberian Woodpecker (2), Bee-Eaters, Alpine Swift (1) and, surprisingly, an adult Golden Eagle with a brood in an old nest that previously (two months before) was checked without any success. The following day, near my town Almagro, another juvenile of Golden Eagle was seen doing its first flights.

July 6th – Guadiana river near Ciudad Real: Squacco Heron (>5), Purple Heron (>5) and the first record of nesting Glossy Ibis in this part of the river. At night Eagle Owl, Red-Necked Nightjar and 2 Otters patrolling the river.

July 12th – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): juvenile of Golden Eagle still on the nest, plus Hawfinch (2), Blue Rock-Thrush (2), Kingfisher (2), Crag Martin (1), Turtle Dove (2), dozens of Bee-Eaters and 2 juvs of Subalpine Warbler. Red-Necked Nightjar again at night.

July 13th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: Spoonbills (2) with chicks on a nest, Little Bittern (2), Squacco Heron (1, very few individuals seen this year in Daimiel), Great Egret (5), Purple Heron (>8), Shoveler (2, very rare in summer), Red-Crested Pochard (3), White-Headed Duck (over 40 individuals), Black Tern (1), Penduline Tit (2) and the very common this year and very rare in the past Bearded Tit (2 juveniles in the boardwalks of the National Park).

July 13th – La Posadilla Volcanic Lagoon: an incredible and completely unknown spot settled in the Campo de Calatrava with Glossy Ibis (2), Squacco Heron (>6), Purple Heron (1), Collared Pratincole (2), Woodchat Shrike (6), Short-Toed Eagle (1) and one Spanish Imperial Eagle (4th cy). A Night Heron was watched eating a Spanish Ribbed Newt.

July 18th – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): 2 juveniles of Golden Oriole.

July 19th – Cabaneros National Park: Montagu’s Harrier (1), plus 2 individuals of Spanish Imperial Eagle, one of them, a juvenile with first year plumage, seen over an old nest of White Stork!

July 19th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: Marbled Teal (2), Squacco Heron (2), White-Headed Duck (>20), a flock of over 24 Pin-Tailed Sandgrouses, and a Black Tern.

July 20th – Valle de Alcudia (East): Bonelli’s Eagle and 5 females of Spanish Ibex.

July 20th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: Little Bittern (3), the usual sight of over 40 White-Headed Ducks, Collared Pratincole (1), Roller (1), Black-Tailed Godwit (2) and Ruff (6). Waders are finally on migration.

July 22nd – Calatrava Steppes: Glossy Ibis (1), Black Vulture (2), Spanish Imperial Eagle (1), Montagu’s Harrier (5), Black Kite (>12), Lesser Kestrel (3), Quail (1), Stone Curlew (>6), Great Bustard (>50), Little Bustard (12), Gull-Billed Tern (2), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (>30) and solitaires individuals of Roller and Black-Bellied Sandgouse. But the star of this morning was, undoubtedly, a Black Shouldered Kite unexpectedly seen hunting in the steppes.

July 23th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P. and surroundings: Little Bittern (2), Squacco Heron (1), White-Headed Duck (>60), Collared Pratincole (5), Lapwing (2, this bird has been breeding in La Mancha from the last 3 years), Gull-Billed Tern (2), Black Tern (1), Roller (3), Iberian Woodpecker (3), Savi’s Warbler (3), plus Penduline Tits (3) and again Bearded Tits (7).

July 26th – Cabaneros N.P. surroundings: Little Bittern (1) on the Guadiana river, Black Stork (5), Black Vulture (6), Golden Eagle (1), Spanish Imperial Eagle (6, two of them, juveniles of first year, watched feeding themselves on the same White Stork nest where an individual was seen on July 19th, maybe brothers), Short-Toed Eagle (6), Booted Eagle (5), Montagu’s Harrier (2), Pallid Swift (2), Kingfisher (3), Roller (2), Black-Eared Wheatear (2), Spanish Sparrow (>100), Rock Petronia (5) and Cirl Bunting (1). Bird of the day, and maybe of the whole summer, a White-Rumped Swift seen flying fast over the cliffs of the Guadiana river (second record of this species in the Cabaneros area).

July 27th – Calatrava Steppes at the evening: Glossy Ibis (5), again Black-Shouldered Kite, Water Rail (1), Stone Curlew (>10), Little Bustard (5), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (8), Tawny Pipit (2), and Kingfisher.

August 3rd – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): Alpine Swift (1).

August 9th - Guadiana river near Ciudad Real: Spoonbill (2), Little Bittern (1), Squacco Heron (>4), Water Rail (1), and other species like Black Vulture (1) and Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (>20).

August 9th - Guadiana river near Ciudad Real: among common birds usually seen in the river (Little Bittern, Golden Oriole, etc.) a solitaire Iberian Woodpecker, plus Rock Bunting and Black-Shouldered Kite.

August 10th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Spoonbill (4), Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse (2) and the first Osprey on migration (very early record, because this species is usually seen even in October).

August 16th – Campo de Calatrava (near Almagro): Grey Flycatcher (1), maybe breeding?

August 17th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Marbled Duck (3), Roller (1, last record of the year), Bearded Tit (1) and  for me the most important record of the month: Reed Bunting, surely the very rare and endangered subspecies witherby. A bonus for this morning was another Otter seen fishing in las Tablas.

August 17th – Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon river): Purple Heron (1), White Stork (>700), Black Kite (>200), Water Rail (1) and 3 individuals flying of Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse.

August 21st – Campo de Calatrava (Sierra Morena): more Black Kites on migration (13), plus Eagle-Owl (1) and Red-Necked Nightjar.

August 27th – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.: Purple Swamphen (1) and a beautiful confluence of breeding birds and migrants seen on passage like Short-Toed Eagle (1, breeding here in 2014), Collared Pratincole (8, breeding), Nightingale (2, also breeding) and Redstart (1).

August 29th - Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon river): Purple Heron (1) and Eagle-Owl (1).

August 30th - Campo de Calatrava (Jabalon river): Purple Heron (2), Blue Rock-Thrush (1) and Pied Flycatcher (1).

August 31st – Tablas de Daimiel N.P.:  Little Bittern (1), Great Egret (2), Purple Heron (2), Black Stork (1), Spoonbill (4), Osprey (1), Water Rail (3), Purple Swamphen (1), Lapwing (2), Sanderling (1), Kingfisher (4), Iberian Woodpecker (1), Sand Martin (>12), Redstart (1), Northern Wheatear (1), Subalpine Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (3) and Grey Flycatcher (1). It’s true, we are on migration time!

August 31st – Guadiana river near Ciudad Real: Little Bittern (2), Squacco Heron (>4), Purple Heron (3), Purple Swamphen (1), Yellow-Legged Gull (1), Scops Owl (2, only heard), Red-Necked Nightjar (3), Melodious Warbler (1) and Tree Sparrow (1, first personal record in this place). Other animals seen were Red Fox and Wild Boar.

September has come with unexpected rains and cold temperatures. No hassle for those who like to go out to the countryside to enjoy birds.

All the best.