|The plains of Castilla de la Mancha|
We then drove across the plains on rough tracks in search of another of the day´s target birds, the Great Bustard. Twenty minutes of searching revealed nothing but Skylarks, Kestrels and Crows so we decided to head for another area, but first stopped off at one of the area´s lagoons. Scanning the water, we saw a few Greater Flamingoes, Shoveler, Little Grebe and the usual Coots and Grey Herons. House Martins and Barn Swallows were feeding over the water but careful observation picked out a juvenile Red Rumped Swallow in amongst them. A Sparrowhawk appeared from over the hill, and settled in a nearby tree, flushing out a small flock of Spotless Starlings. Enjoying the shade and generally peaceful surroundings, further scanning around revealed a few Little Ringed Plover feeding on the shoreline. We then returned to the van and set out once more across the steppe in search of other local specialities. We´d been on the move for a matter of minutes when a raptor caught our attention. It was obliging enough to circle above us for long enough to allow great views of this superb bird of prey – a Red Kite. The pale grey thin underwing bar and the less forked shape of the tail suggested a young bird.
|Red Rumped Swallow|
Further searching of the plains revealed yet more Great Bustard, a few passing Crag Martins and we were also treated to good views of an Iberian Grey Shrike. We then stopped at a place of previous sightings of Great Spotted Cuckoo. Although there were none around, we were fortunate enough to enjoy good views of yet more Stone Curlew, the big eye and yellow eye-ring showing really well.
The day´s species list comprised…
Barn Swallow, Black Necked Grebe, Black Winged Stilt, Buzzard, Collared Dove, Common Coot, Common Sandpiper, Crag Martin, Crested Lark, Crow, Great Bustard, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Great Tit, Greater Flamingo, Grey Heron, House Martin, House Sparrow, Iberian Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Red Rumped Swallow, Shoveler, Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Spotless Starling, Stone Curlew, Wheatear.
Written by David Warrington
Bird Watching Guide at Valencia Birding.