Saturday, 19 March 2016


Left Fuente De on Thursday morning, returning to Potes, where we recorded our first Serin of the trip with their jingling song, then crossing the Picos on the N621 via Riano heading towards Villafafilla.
N621 between Potes and Riano

The weather and views were amazing as we crossed the snow clad Picos, a lone Griffon Vulture circled against the bluest of blue skies and we started to see more Rock Buntings.
Griffon Vulture

As we descended towards the plains we saw the first White Storks on their nests, first one pair then dozens on all available structures from trees to buildings to electricity pylons.
White Storks
We also came across a nice party of eight Rock Sparrows at Los Espejos De La Reina and Crag Martins were starting to appear.
Rock Sparrow
The bushes held many Chiffchaff but none were singing so I couldn't be sure of the species but probably our nominate race.

The weather started to deteriorate and soon we had rain but there were still birds to be seen, a confiding Little Owl, why don't they sit like this at home?
Little Owl up close

Finally we neared Villafafilla a species stronghold for the Great Bustard. We saw several hundred during the evening and following morning but the area holds up to 2000 birds which could be around 5% of the world population, so a very important area. I took some record photos and had superb views.
Great Bustard

This morning we visited the Lesser Kestrel colony at Otero De Sariegos. There were at least 5 pairs back around the old buildings and in the provided nest boxes on the road across the marsh. Fantastic birds and even though we had rain on and off for most of the day the Lesser Kestrels looked superb.
Lesser Kestrel - male

All the starlings we have been seeing are Spotless Starlings and they appear to fair worse in the damp weather, looking rather unkempt at best but still nice to see.
Spotless Starling - duet

We are heading to Extremadura and the Monfrague National Park next and hoping for some better weather. This is our route so far.
The route so far

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