FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS: Spain: La Mancha, Coto Donana & Extremadura 2017
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Field Guides Tour Report
Spain: La Mancha, Coto Donana & Extremadura 2017
May 6, 2017 to May 18, 2017
Chris Benesh & Godfried Schreur


Spectacular skies greeted us during our visit to old Trujillo in the heart of Extremadura. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

So many birds around that you don´t know which to choose and observe. Do you recognize this feeling? We experienced many of these exciting moments in Spain during the Field Guides tour in May.

It started straight away, on the first day, overlooking the natural lagoons of La Mancha Húmeda, where we had the chance to observe a great variety of species of ducks, grebes, terns, and passerines. The highlights here were the White-headed Duck, Eared Grebe, Red-crested Pochard, Whiskered Tern and Penduline Tit. In the National Park of Coto Donana again we found ourselves surrounded by birds: larks, bee-eaters, flamingos, Great Reed Warblers, Glossy Ibis, Squacco and Purple herons and a surprisingly well showing Little Bittern. With a bit of searching, scanning and listening we were able to also detect Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Teal and Isabelline (Western Olivaceous) Warbler.

Later in the week, close to Trujillo (Extremadura), we all enjoyed the excursion on the open, rolling plains, with Great and Little bustards, Eurasian Roller, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Montagu´s Harrier and many, many White Storks. For the shy Black Storks we had to wait one day more. In Monfrague National Park we discovered 3 pairs nesting on the breathtaking cliff of Peña Falcón. Together with dozens of Eurasian Griffon Vultures, and several Eurasian Black and Egyptian vultures, Blue Rock Thrush, Peregrine Falcon, Rock Bunting, they make this viewpoint into one of the best birdwatching spots of Europe.

Last but not least we were thrilled with the abundance of woodland birds around the stunning Parador hotel in the Sierra de Gredos. Amongst many others we saw Firecrest, Goldcrest, Crested and Coal tits, Western Bonelli´s Warbler, Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper and Pied Flycatcher. Some of us even managed to get a glimpse on the elusive Citril Finch. In between all these exciting moments of “ornithological overbooking” we had plenty of other good moments with sightings of endemics like Spanish Imperial Eagle, Iberian Magpie, Iberian Shrike, Iberian Woodpecker, Iberian Chiffchaff, etc… and other good species like Bonelli´s Eagle, Black Wheatear, Red-necked Nightjar and Rufous Bush Robin. Too many to mention all of them! Even Chris achieved some lifers!

Furthermore we had some impressing cultural visits to ancient monuments like the mosque and the Roman bridge in Córdoba and the historical centre of Trujillo. The weather was very favorable to us with mild temperatures and almost no wind or rain.

Last but not least, I enjoyed the company of all the members of our expedition to Spain very much, making this tour into a wonderful and highly pleasant experience. Marcelo added a special, cheerful note with his highly appreciated presence, and so did Chris with his extensive birding and guiding skills. I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to co-guide this tour. Many thanks to you all!

Best regards — Godfried Schreur


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant



The gang posing beneath one of the famous molinos that dot the landscape in the La Mancha region of Spain. Photo by participant Chuck Holliday.

BIRDS
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
GRAYLAG GOOSE (EUROPEAN) (Anser anser anser) – A sizable flock at Tablas de Daimiel.
COMMON SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadorna) – Seen at Laguna Larga, and again at Donana and Marismas del Odiel.
GADWALL (Anas strepera)
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta)
MARBLED TEAL (Marmaronetta angustirostris) – Great looks at a couple of birds at a lagoon near Donana. This species was once one of the most common ducks here. Now they are quite rare.


One of the pairs of Marbled Teal that gave us a fantastic show near Donana. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

RED-CRESTED POCHARD (Netta rufina) – Quite striking birds with the sun hitting on them!
COMMON POCHARD (Aythya ferina)
TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula) – Six lingering birds were at Laguna Larga on the first day of the trip.
WHITE-HEADED DUCK (Oxyura leucocephala) – This species seems to be doing quite well in Spain at the moment. We had a number of great sightings at various wetlands in La Mancha and Donana.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
COMMON QUAIL (Coturnix coturnix) [*]
RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE (Alectoris rufa) – Our first decent looks were near Andujar. Some great looks in Donana as well.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Well seen in the lagoons of La Mancha.


A couple of the many Greater Flamingos seen, showing off their pink to great effect in flight. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – Some nice encounters with this species. Particularly memorable were the stripe faced juveniles being fed by a parent at Donana. A few more in Extremadura.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – One of the more iconic birds of the Spanish wetlands. We certainly had some great views along the way.
LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoeniconaias minor) – This bright pink species is a rare species in Spain though numbers are increasing and they have started to breed. We had a single bird at Laguna Larga and another at Pedro Munoz.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra) – Great looks at nesting birds at Penafalcon in Monfrague.
WHITE STORK (Ciconia ciconia) – Certainly one of the most iconic birds of Spain.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)


We were surprised to find two different Lesser Flamingos hanging out with the Greaters. This is a rare visitor from the south. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus) – One flew past us at Tablas de Daimiel. We had terrific scope views of a couple of birds near Donana that were sitting right out in the open.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – This species was plentiful in the marshes of Donana, though also seen elsewhere.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Seen at Daimiel and Odiel.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Plentiful this year at Donana!


We had an uncommonly great view of Little Bittern at Donana. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
EURASIAN SPOONBILL (Platalea leucorodia) – Great looks roadside in Donana.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Three different sightings.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – We lucked on to a couple of these at a traditional site in Extremadura near Monroy.
EGYPTIAN VULTURE (Neophron percnopterus) – A few of these well seen in Extremadura. This species seems to be scarce in recent years.


Along with quite a few Eurasian Spoonbills. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) – We had a few of these migrating in La Mancha and again in Extremadura.
CINEREOUS VULTURE (Aegypius monachus) – Also known as Black Vulture, we had quite a few seen nicely.
EURASIAN GRIFFON (Gyps fulvus) – Common in Spain which is a stronghold for this species. One impressive bird in flight!
SHORT-TOED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus gallicus)
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)
SPANISH EAGLE (Aquila adalberti) – Great views of a couple of birds in the Sierra de Andujar at La Lancha. Another distant bird was seen briefly at Donana.
BONELLI'S EAGLE (Aquila fasciata) – Godfried was great at picking these out with two sightings, one in Santa Marta and another in Monfrague.


Donana was also a great spot for Squacco Heron, which seemed to be doing quite well this year. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)
MONTAGU'S HARRIER (Circus pygargus) – An elegant harrier of the steppe country in Extremadura.
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter nisus)
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis) – One seen soaring at Andujar.
RED KITE (Milvus milvus) – Relatively few seen this year.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo)


One of the majestic Spanish Imperial Eagles seen. This species is increasing in numbers in Spain. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Otididae (Bustards)
GREAT BUSTARD (Otis tarda) – Some nice encounters with this species in the llanos of Santa Marta.
LITTLE BUSTARD (Tetrax tetrax) – One of the most memorable experiences of the trip was seeing this species in flight display, flashing lots of white in the wings!
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WATER RAIL (Rallus aquaticus) [*]
WESTERN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio) – We had a couple of quick looks at this species, formerly known as Purple Swamphen (Gallinule), but now called Western as a result of the species being split up into several.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)
RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata) – After some searching, one was found in Donana. Godfried was able to get it in the scope inside the bus.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)


A Great Reed Warbler belts out its song. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
EURASIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus oedicnemus) – We lucked into a few of these on our Discovering Donana excursion into the park. Also well known as Stone-curlew.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – Seen at several lagoons with a big concentration of them at Laguna Navaseca.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus ostralegus) – Small numbers of these were on the beach at Donana.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – We had a big flock of these in a distant field near Donana and some more were at the Marismas del Odiel.
NORTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus vanellus)
KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus)


Tablas del Daimiel was a great place to see Bearded Reedling, with a little patience. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius) – We had a displaying bird near the field with the Stone Curlews.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (EUROPEAN) (Numenius phaeopus phaeopus) – We had a single bird at Donana and another on the mudflats of Odiel. This subspecies has relatively pale underwings and a white patch running up the back.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa limosa)
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – Some very distant birds on the mudflats of Odiel.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Several of these were seen at the Marismas del Odiel.
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – Some handsome, colorful birds were at Odiel.


We had a couple of nice studies of Eurasian Penduline-Tit as well. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – Two white-headed males and a female were at Laguna Larga.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – Quite a few seen on the beaches of Donana and again at Odiel.
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina) – A few of these were seen at Odiel. These were likely the smaller nominate subspecies.
COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago) – Wonderful to hear this species displaying in the mountain meadows above Hoyos del Espino.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus)
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – Great views of several flying around at Laguna Larga.


This pair of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse blasted past us for our only sighting. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SLENDER-BILLED GULL (Chroicocephalus genei) – Distant views only.
BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
MEDITERRANEAN GULL (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) – Nice scope views of one in the big Black-headed Gull flock at Pedro Munoz.
AUDOUIN'S GULL (Ichthyaetus audouinii) – Really terrific looks at quite a few birds along the beach at Donana. This species is a Mediterranean endemic.
YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (Larus michahellis) – A fair number of these were in coastal areas.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus fuscus) – Quite a few of these were on the beach at Donana.
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons) – Good scope views of a couple on the beach at Donana and great looks at a couple at Odiel.


The beaches of Donana were a great spot to study Auduoin's Gulls. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger)
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – A few of these on the beach at Donana.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – A fair number were on the beach at Donana.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
PIN-TAILED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles alchata) – A pair seen in flight and then in the distance on the ground near Donana.


Perhaps the most iconic bird of the trip, the White Stock, whose nests dotted many landscapes. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
STOCK DOVE (Columba oenas) – Some seen in Madrid by a few on a morning walk before the official start of the trip.
COMMON WOOD-PIGEON (Columba palumbus)
EUROPEAN TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia turtur)
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (Clamator glandarius) – We had one fly overhead while at Tablas del Daimiel.
COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus) – Heard at scattered locations but best seen in the Gredos.


But Monfrague was the place to see the rarer Black Stork. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Strigidae (Owls)
LITTLE OWL (Athene noctua) – Several nice looks at this confiding owl.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
RED-NECKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus ruficollis) – A magical moment seeing a couple fly past us calling near Torrejon el Rubio.
EURASIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus europaeus) – Heard by the few of us that went out after dinner for a walk near the Parador de Gredos. [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – Some great looks at this huge species at Embalse de Alange.
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)
PALLID SWIFT (Apus pallidus) – Best seen this year in Cordoba.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Great to see this scarce swift again in Monfrague.


We were all thrilled with each sighting of Hoopoe. What a bird! Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops) – This one is always a crowd pleaser!
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) – Great look at one at the Roman bridge in Cordoba. Another was seen briefly.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – Quite flashy in color.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
EUROPEAN ROLLER (Coracias garrulus) – Great look at one on a wire as we were leaving the Tablas del Daimiel.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos minor buturlini) – Briefly seen in the Valle del Jerte.
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major) – Several nice looks this trip, including birds in the Sierra Andujar and at the Palacio del Acebron.
EURASIAN GREEN WOODPECKER (IBERIAN) (Picus viridis sharpei) – Seen by some at the Retiro Park in Madrid. Also seen again at Tablas del Daimiel and Donana.


We had some terrific looks at Roller too, doing well locally thanks to nest box programs. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus) – Small numbers of these were near the hotel in Madrid. This species is an established breeder there. [I]
Laniidae (Shrikes)
RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio) – A few seen in the Valle de Jerte where this species is a scarce breeder.
SOUTHERN GRAY SHRIKE (Lanius meridionalis)
WOODCHAT SHRIKE (Lanius senator) – Quite the striking shrike, we had good views of many.


We tracked down the regional endemic Iberian Chiffchaff. Not much to look at, but with a distinctive song. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus oriolus) – This species was particularly plentiful in the Jerte Valley.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (Garrulus glandarius) – A couple seen at scattered locations.
IBERIAN MAGPIE (Cyanopica cooki) – Though it strikes me more of a jay than a magpie, we did have some great views of some. Recently split from the lookalike Azure-winged Magpie of east Asia.
EURASIAN MAGPIE (Pica pica) – Looking quite a bit like our Black-billed Magpie.
RED-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) – Marcelo spotted one in the Sierra Andujar.
EURASIAN JACKDAW (Corvus monedula) – We saw them nesting at the Laguna La Veguilla.
CARRION CROW (Corvus corone)


This Song Thrush seen in the Jerte Valley was at the extreme southern end of its breeding range. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Panuridae (Bearded Reedling)
BEARDED REEDLING (Panurus biarmicus) – After a bit of patience, we had some great looks at this species at the Tablas del Daimiel.
Alaudidae (Larks)
GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK (Calandrella brachydactyla) – Good views of this species at Donana where we were able to compare it with a few other species.
CALANDRA LARK (Melanocorypha calandra) – Our first ones were at Donana. Many more were seen in the llanos near Trujillo. Impressive with their blackish wings with white trailing edges.
LESSER SHORT-TOED LARK (Alaudala rufescens) – A couple of these were spotted at Donana.
WOOD LARK (Lullula arborea) – Best looks were in the Gredos.
EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) – Fantastic show of these in the Gredos mountains.


The spectacular setting of Penafalcon and Salto de Gitano in Monfrague National Park. A birdwatcher's paradise. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

THEKLA LARK (Galerida theklae) – Nice views of this species and its lookalike Crested.
CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)
COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
COAL TIT (Periparus ater) – Very common in the Gredos, especially around the Parador.


Pink skies at the Parador de Gredos. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CRESTED TIT (Lophophanes cristatus) – Also found in the Gredos.
EURASIAN BLUE TIT (Cyanistes caeruleus)
GREAT TIT (Parus major)
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
EURASIAN PENDULINE-TIT (Remiz pendulinus) – An amazing encounter with this species at Laguna la Veguilla, and other seen at its nest in Tablas del Daimiel. Also heard in Cordoba.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
LONG-TAILED TIT (Aegithalos caudatus) – Best views were in the old forest at the Palacio del Acebron.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
EURASIAN NUTHATCH (Sitta europaea)
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (Certhia brachydactyla) – Seen by some right near the hotel in Madrid and great views had at the Palacio de Acebron.


A young Spanish Ibex staring down at us high in the Gredos. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)
EURASIAN WREN (Troglodytes troglodytes) – Great looks, especially in Monfrague.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
GOLDCREST (Regulus regulus) – Related to our kinglets, these two crests showed very well at the Parador.
FIRECREST (Regulus ignicapilla)
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CETTI'S WARBLER (Cettia cetti) – Many more heard than seen, but by the end, most everyone had had a good look.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus collybita) – A singing bird was seen near the Rio Tormes in the Gredos.
IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus ibericus) – This bird was relatively recently recognized as a separate species from Common Chiffchaff on the basis of differences in calls and song. Great views of a couple of these at the Palacio del Acebron in the beautiful, old forest there.
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus bonelli) – Very common in the wooded areas in the Gredos.


We had some great lizards including this Schreiber's Green Lizard in the Gredos. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
WESTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER (Iduna opaca) – Also known as Isabelline Warbler, we had our best looks in the tamarisk-lined lagoons near Dehesa de Abajo.
MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta) – A widespread, colorful songster. A particularly memorable view in the Gredos near the Parador.
EURASIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
GREAT REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
SAVI'S WARBLER (Locustella luscinioides) [*]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
EURASIAN BLACKCAP (Sylvia atricapilla)


And this Cyren's Rock Lizard, which is primarily found only in the Gredos and adjacent ranges. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GARDEN WARBLER (Sylvia borin) – Best look was near the Parador in the Gredos. A rather plain looking bird but with a nice song.
WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER (Sylvia hortensis) – After a bit of work we eventually ended up with a somewhat cooperative bird.
SUBALPINE WARBLER (INORNATA) (Sylvia cantillans inornata) – Some seen in Monfrague NP.
SARDINIAN WARBLER (Sylvia melanocephala)
GREATER WHITETHROAT (Sylvia communis) – A common singer in the Gredos.
DARTFORD WARBLER (Sylvia undata) – Nesting birds seen in Monfrague.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)


This crazy bug is known as Nemoptera bipennis is sometimes called the Thread-winged Lacewing or Spoonwing. We saw quite a few of these in the Andujar region. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

RUFOUS-TAILED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas galactotes) – Stuart spotted this shy species near Almendralejo which became elusive after that.
EUROPEAN ROBIN (Erithacus rubecula) – An iconic European bird, most evident in the Gredos.
COMMON NIGHTINGALE (Luscinia megarhynchos) – For as loud as it is this was not the easiest bird to see well. Fortunately, it is very common so most were able to get a look.
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – Good looks at this species at the Parador de Gredos and Godfried spotted a nest on our way to Avila.
BLACK REDSTART (Phoenicurus ochruros) – Common in Extremadura and the Gredos.
RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis) – We had some great looks at this species in the Gredos near the Plataforma.
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola solitarius) – Best seen at the Salto de Gitano in Monfrague.


The Two-tailed Pasha, one of Europe's fanciest butterflies in Monfrague. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

EUROPEAN STONECHAT (Saxicola rubicola rubicola)
BLACK WHEATEAR (Oenanthe leucura) – Nice scope views of one in Alange.
NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe) – This species was plentiful in the Gredos, especially at the Plataforma.
BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe hispanica) – Nice look at this species attending a nest in Monfrague NP.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula)
SONG THRUSH (Turdus philomelos) – A couple of these were in the Jerte Valley at the Garganta de los Infiernos, at the southern edge of their range in Spain.
MISTLE THRUSH (Turdus viscivorus)


These strange creatures are called Red-striped Oil Beetles. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Sturnidae (Starlings)
SPOTLESS STARLING (Sturnus unicolor)
Prunellidae (Accentors)
DUNNOCK (Prunella modularis) – Fairly common above treeline in the Gredos where this species sings beautifully.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (ASHY-HEADED) (Motacilla flava iberiae) – Seen at Donana and again in the Gredos.
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) – Quite a few seen on the trip once we got to the Gredos. Particularly common around flowing streams.
WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba) – This is the species of wagtail most apt to be found in parking lots and along streets.
TREE PIPIT (Anthus trivialis) – This one was a bit of surprise for us, found in some oak woodland right at the southern extreme of its range.
WATER PIPIT (Anthus spinoletta) – Nice views of a displaying bird or two at the Plataforma in the Gredos.


The alpine country high in the Gredos Mountains. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CIRL BUNTING (Emberiza cirlus) – This species put in a couple of brief appearances, mainly at Monfrague.
ROCK BUNTING (Emberiza cia) – Another striking bunting that is perhaps more confiding than the others. Well seen at Monfrague and again in the Gredos.
ORTOLAN BUNTING (Emberiza hortulana) – A beautiful species with a wonderful song and living in a spectacular landscape. Sadly, this species is widely persecuted for food in parts of Europe leading to steep declines in its population.
CORN BUNTING (Emberiza calandra) – It didn't take too long before we all became familiar with this species at its distinctive song. A big part of the Spanish soundscape.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
COMMON CHAFFINCH (Fringilla coelebs) – Super common, but a great looking bird with quite a song!
EUROPEAN GREENFINCH (Chloris chloris) – Widespread and common, even causing us some momentary excitement when searching for Citril Finches.
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – We had what looked to be a small family group of these at the Parador de Gredos.
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – Despite being fairly common and widespread, there really are stunning birds!
EURASIAN LINNET (Carduelis cannabina) – A bit understated, but quite attractive finches.
CITRIL FINCH (Serinus citrinella) – This species once again proved quite stubborn, putting in brief appearances at the Parador de Gredos. Several managed looks, but not all.
EUROPEAN SERIN (Serinus serinus) – Amazing to see the bright males with their sizzling songs.
HAWFINCH (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) – A couple of these were nicely seen at Monfrague NP.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)
SPANISH SPARROW (Passer hispaniolensis) – Our best views were in Extremadura, though we also saw a colony of these at Donana.
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Seen at the Laguna de Veguilla and at Daimiel.
ROCK PETRONIA (Petronia petronia) – We seen at the Parador de Gredos and elsewhere north of the Gredos Mountains.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus) – Seen by some near Donana. [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Seen by the group near the Laguna de Abajo. [I]

MAMMALS
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) – The primary food of the Iberian Lynx. Clearly, Spain can use more of them.
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – Actually, this is the Iberian Hare, Lepus granatensis, which is restricted to the Iberian Peninsula.
EUROPEAN RED SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris) – Great views of this species at the Parador de Gredos, where we had six in view at one time. Quite a fancy squirrel and rare in some areas.
WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa) – Quite a few of these were seen on our trip through Donana.
FALLOW DEER (Dama dama)
RED DEER (Cervus elaphus)
SPANISH IBEX (Capra pyrenaica) – Great views of this species at the Plataforma in the Gredos. We saw some adult males resting on a couple of distant ridges while younger animals were seen up close.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS


Totals for the tour: 206 bird taxa and 7 mammal taxa