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Highlights from the last 10 days in Spain

Zafra 17-18 June: There were plenty of Lesser Kestrel around the Plaza Grande and several White Stork nests on strategic buildings, mainly churches, in this pretty pueblo Extremeño:
Juvenile White Stork
Adult White Stork
Salamanca 18-20 June: On the drive from Zafra there were a lot of Black Kite around, also the occasional Booted Eagle. In the town itself, which has a beautifully preserved historical centre, there were Lesser Kestrel and White Stork and around the Puente Romano there were Black Kite, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, Common Kingfisher, Common Swift, Great Reed Warbler and Tree Sparrow.

Female Kestrel sp.
Potes, Picos de Europa 20-24 June: In Potes we met up with a group of friends who had ridden from the UK on their motorbikes to enjoy the switchback roads on offer. Here I had hoped to see some good species up in the mountains but was thwarted by the low cloud base on the day we were due to visit Fuente De; being the only birder in the group I was outvoted and the cable car ride to the possibility of Alpine Chough, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor and Snow Finch was cancelled! Still, we had a great time and the walk we took in lieu of the cable car ride was quite spectacular, too. On the walk we saw Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard, Peregrine, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Red-backed Shrike, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper sp., Eurasian Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, Stonechat, Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting.

Picos de Europa from Potes

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Iberian Wall Lizard
A visit to the semi-derelict hamlet of Pembes to look for Black and Middle-spotted Woodpecker was unsuccessful on those counts, though we did hear a Middle-spotted Woodpecker calling, but did produce a lot of Common Buzzard plus an adult Egyptian Vulture and an immature Golden Eagle! On the way back via Mogrevejo we picked up many Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Common Raven, Common Kestrel and Black Redstart.
Picos peaks from Pembes - Golden Eagle was seen here
Back in Potes there was a showy and vocal male Common Redstart in the hotel gardens and a Tawny Owl was heard in the early hours:
Common Redstart

Common Redstart
On the river Deva that runs through Potes there were a few White Wagtail, Blackcap and a juvenile Dipper of the northern Cinclus cinclus race.
Rio Deva

White Wagtail


Dipper doing what Dippers do best....
Segovia 25-26 June: The highlight of Segovia was the biggest display of Common Swift I have ever seen with at least 2,000 around the Roman aqueduct in the centre of the town - an incredible sight.
Segovia - Roman aqueduct

Mérida 26-28 June: By the time we got to Mérida the temperature had increased significantly and it was 35C+ by mid-afternoon. On the journey from Segovia we saw many Black Kite and at least a couple each of Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle and Red Kite. Whilst wandering around the town centre, littered with impressive Roman ruins, in the searing heat Janys somehow managed to spot an 'odd-looking vulture'; I only had my camera with me but it was enough to confirm a Black Vulture (with an unexpected amount of white in the underwing). At the Puente Romano at dusk we saw a reasonable 'murmuration' of Spotless Starling as they came in to roost also Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Common Kingfisher, plus superb close-up views of many Alpine Swift. On our last morning we braved the heat to walk to the Roman aqueduct on which were many White Stork nests.
I'm sure I've missed off some of the mentionable species we saw on the trip - for example, we certainly saw European Bee-eater but I can't remember where !
Black Vulture

Spotless Starling on their way to their night-time roost
Roman aqueduct - Mérida
White Stork 'colony'

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