Sightings Diary

August 2012

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Small Copper on Fleabane
Bowling Green Marsh- Topsham, Devon

19.08.12- 18 degrees, cloud/light rain, slight wind, 8:45am to 10:45am. High Tide 8:45am.

Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Snipe, Pochard, Fox, Knot, Little Grebes, Redshank, Canada Geese, Curlew, 300+ Black Tailed Godwit, Little Egrets, Heron, Pied Wagtails, Shoveler, Dunlin, Dunnock, Wren, Wood Pigeons, Blue Tits, Sand Martins, Coots, Moorhens, Buzzard, Crows, Teal, Tufted Duck, Sedge Warblers, Blackbirds, Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants, Whimbrel, Sand Martins, Swallows, Robins, Chiffchaff.



Little Grebe



Fox Cub



Redshank



Black-tailed Godwit



Chiffchaff



Sedge Warbler

Montanchez - Extremadura Region, Spain (Western edge of Spain bordering Portugal)

24.08.12 to 01.09.21012 - 35 to 38 degrees, sun, slight wind, Daily 8am to 9pm

Spent a great weeks holiday in this noted wildlife region of Spain. Though August isn't the ideal time to visit due to temperature and lack of rain it was still a great wildlife experience and afforded the opportunity of seeing some of their Summer visitors (notably an Egyptian Vulture).

Ideal visiting time of year is May when the area is carpeted with wildflowers and has its highest variety of bird species. Though exact peak time varies from year to year depending on rainfall. It's a comparative doddle travelling there, we flew to Madrid (well worth a few days visit in its own right), then Train to Caceres and hired a car. Based ourselves in rented farmhouse near Montanchez, though in hindsight may have been more centrally based at Caceres.

Excellent guide book to this significant wildlife area is the Crossbill Guide series book "Extremadura, Spain"

Available at - http://www.crossbillguides.org/

Birds - Hoopoes, Spotless Starlings, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vultures, Short-toed Eagles, Black Vulture, Buzzards, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Red-legged Partridges, Great Bustards, Rock Doves, Stock Doves, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Crag Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, Dartford Warblers, Sardinian Warblers, Subalpine Warblers, Blackcaps, Golden Orioles, Azure-winged Magpies, Cirl Buntings, Kestrels, Buzzards, Wood Pigeons, House Sparrows, Swallows, Magpies, Cattle Egrets, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Collard Doves, Chiffchaffs, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Stonechats, Long-tailed Tits, Jay, Greenfinches, Spotted Flycatcher, Nuthatches

Other- Fox, Rabbits, Iberian Hares, Great Frogs (huge and ultra green), Common Darter Dragonflies, Small Copper Butterflies, Large Psammodromus Lizards, Ocellated Lizards, Black-eyed Blue Butterflies, many interesting insects I have never seen before.

I did pack a camera but have to admit the temperature and unknown wildlife chances lead me to leave it cased for the duration of the holiday. We simply walked with back packs full of water bottles!, a map, bird book and binoculars. A camera on top of that with a decent lens was just too much in the heat. So I have broken with tradition below and posted some Iphone images and pictures from the excellent book "AA Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe"



Egyptian Vulture



Griffon Vulture (very numerous)



Black Vulture



Short-toed Eagle



Bonnelli's Eagle



Booted Eagle



Sardinian Warbler



Dartford Warbler



Red-rumped Swallow



Crag Martin



Bee-eaters and Rollers



Great Bustard



Hoopoe



Golden Oriole



Azure Magpie (unique to this region and neighbouring Portugal)



Typical hillside view comprising Olive Grove terraces and scrub



Typical hill scrub (including bracken!)



Olive Grove



Cork Oak (bole having been harvested for cork)



Cork Oak (again bole having been harvested for cork). Ilex oaks were the most common scrub tree.



Time for a bit of evening bird watching, scanning the hillsides, from the shade!



The hillside that belonged to the rented house.



Typical small rented house