Thursday The hottest day, up to about 23c
We then missed out several areas on purpose to get the light right at Portilla del Tietar, which was deserted with regards people, but lots of Griffon again, and the fact that the birds on the cliff are nearer than at Pena Falcon, which made for some good pictures.
We were hoping that there may be some English speaking birders about, that we could ask if they knew where the Eagle Owl might be nesting. Despite scanning the cliffs and the immediate area, we could not find any.
Another bird we had never seen was the Black Stork, so we walked about half a mile back up the road to another new? Viewpoint. Scanning the opposite shore we found a solitary Black Stork, enjoying the warm sunshine. We then found itís mate on a nest, with at least one chick. The nest was in shade, not far from the waters edge, very near to a Griffons nest about five metres away. The Grffons were coming back and forth, exchanging nest duty, one bringing another small tree branch for the nest.
We spent some time watching the Black Storks and looking
for others, but did not see any more.
Back in the car and retracing our route, we stopped just
above the dam, in pine trees looking for Crested Tits. It was absolutely silent
in the woods, we couldnít find any Crested Tits, but did see a Black Kite
sitting in the top of a dead tree. Unfortunately the birds head was obscured by
one of the branches of the tree, and despite waiting, it flew off, as Griffon
flew low overhead.
Tajaddilla viewpoint next, and we could see Black Kite making or repairing a nest, on the far side of the water in a pine tree. They were trying to use a largish piece of plastic sheet. They eventually gave up and discarded it.
I tried to get some digiscoped shots of the nest, set up the tripod, switched on the camera, and was greeted by just a light blue screen with a few lines on it. First thoughts were that I did not have the camera set up right, but it was. Could it be the memory card had gone faulty, tried another, still the same.
My thoughts then turned to the possibility that I may have lost all the pictures taken that morning. Fortunately they displayed on the LCD screen ok. So the end of the camera, why I am not sure, but symptoms point to the sensor.
I was a bit disappointed as I donít have a spare camera,
and would miss any future good pictures in the next day and a half we had left.
And you could bet on it, that there would be many such occasions with just the
right light etc.
Time was getting on again, so we missed out the walk up to the castle, we had been in previous years. But we did stop at the Arroyo de la Vid river, where, when we passed by earlier, there was not a parking space left, now it was deserted. The first birds we saw were Crag Martins, then just along the track a male Linnet, and yes it would have made a good photograph, posing for several minutes, just my luck.
It was a nice walk up to the old ruin of a mill, which
surprisingly still has both the top and bottom grind stones in place, you can
also see both ends of what was the stone dam across the river.
Back to the barn again, and another meal on the terrace.
Friday Sunny with a few clouds
No digiscoping now so decided to do a walk which we had
done in September 2006. It starts at the bull ring above Montanchez, unusually the
bull ring is not circular.
The walk is signed Donde Nace, and the signing of the route has been improved since we last walked it using hand held GPS to find our way. Passing some outdoor pens with black pigs in (with unusually long snouts), probably destined to become Jamons in a few months time. We entered a beech and oak wood, the leaf buds were just starting to open, so we had good visibility of the trees. Seeing a couple of birds flying between tree trunks, they turned out to be Short Toed Treecreeper, we had good views of them through binoculars.
Further on we stopped to admire the views of open countryside, we could hear the sound of two woodpeckers drumming away. One was behind us, and one in front. They sounded quite a long way away. We continued on, and the drumming became louder. Taking a small path off the main track we could see a dead tree, slowly we crept closer, and found a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. It surprised us how much smaller it was compared with the woodpeckers we have in the UK. It eventually saw us and flew off giving a warning call.
We walked back up to the main path and continued our walk. Several hundred metres further on we heard drumming again, appearing to come from the same dead tree, we went back. And sure enough it was back again, we left it in peace.
The walk produced many wild flowers including a Narcissi we had never seen before. There was just a patch of them, and we never saw anymore on the remainder of the walk.
A burnt patch of brambles produced three or four Sardinian Warbler presumably hunting for dead insects. There were many Stonechat to be seen and several Blackcap and Corn Bunting.
Walking back down through another wood, with good views of Montanchez and the castle above, we saw another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and just before we got back to the bullring, we saw Raven on the ground, with their huge beaks.
A good walk about five miles in total, full of interesting sights and birds.
Return to the barn for lunch. Warm sun and a lazy afternoon to finish writing this report, a Hoopoe is just tem metres away looking for insects in the grass.
Saturday A bit misty when we left, then heavy showers of rain and hail at Madrid airport
Left the barn at 6.45 am to start the three and a half hour journey back to the airport in Madrid. Dark for the first hour, then as it started to get lighter, we saw several Kites coming towards us along the dual carriageway, looking for road kills.
A thankfully good journey to Madrid, using the N5 and then the new R5 radial road, which costs two and a half euro in tolls.
Arrived back home at 5.45pm
Pictures downloaded from camera to computer by 6.30pm !!
Birds that we could identify.