Wednesday, 31 August 2011


An earlier post in this blog gave the 2009 population figures for the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti). This post updates the figures for 2010 (source: Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs). The specie's trend is still upwards, with 11 new Spanish pairs. In Extremadura it is holding steady, with one pair fewer.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Great Bustard (Otis tarda). Male at the height of its breeding display. Photograph by Carlos Palacín, one of the authors of the work quoted in the text (taken from Proyecto Avutarda).

The first volume of the scientific review Chinese Birds regales us with an update of the worldwide status of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda), written by two Spanish experts (Alonso and Palacín, 2010). The worldwide population is estimated to be 50,000 birds (44,100-57,000), most of them in Spain (57-70%). Europe boasts the biggest populations, Spain being followed by European Russia (10,000), Portugal (1900) and Hungary (1500). Much less is known about the Asian populations but the most important sites seem to be China, the central steppes and Turkey. The good news is that there is no sign of a global decline in the last decade, largely thanks to the growth in Iberia's population. The Asian information is less trustworthy with an uncertain trend in many areas and a slight decline in others. Of particular interest is the small nearby population in Morocco (100 birds), as well as those of Austria (200) and Germany (115), both on the increase.

The bulk of Iberia's population lives in the region of Castilla y León, where the most recent counts point to new increases. As for Extremadura, there are no recently published figures; the most recent information to hand shows the following: 5176 birds counted in January 2003 and 2852 birds in spring 2002 (Corbacho et al., 2005). Nonetheless, Alonso et al. (2005) consider these Extremadura counts to be imprecise, especially due to the huge 2500-bird difference between the spring and winter figures (2000 in the Province of Badajoz). According to them such a gap should not exist because it has never been recorded in other regions. Alonso et al. (2005), based above all on the January count, thus estimate the Extremadura population to be 5500-6500 birds.

Population trend of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) worldwide and in Spain, maximum estimates between 1985 and 2010. The earlier estimates are rough and ready figures that may well understate the true population.

Country breakdown of the Great Bustard population (Otis tarda) in 2010.

- Alonso, J. C. and Palacín, C. 2010. The world status and population trends of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda): 2010 update. Chinese Birds 1:141-147 [download in PDF].
- Alonso, J. C., Palacín, C. and Martín, C. A. 2005. La avutarda común en la península Ibérica: población actual y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid [download in PDF].
- Corbacho, C., Fernández, A., Costillo, E., Lozano, L., Acedo, F. and Gil, A. 2005. La avutarda común en Extremadura: distribución, población y tendencias. In: Alonso, J. C., Palacín, C. and Martín, C. A. La avutarda común en la península Ibérica: población actual y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Left: adult female with a honeycomb in its claws(Joel Brueziere, taken from Fat Birder). Right: adult male (Stephen
Daly, taken from IberiaNature). Adults are distinguished by their yellow iris and tail with dark bars only at the base. Males have grey heads and lack the female's "tiger stripe" pattern running across the secondaries. The plumage of this species is very variable, ranging from very dark to very light forms through various reddish and brownish hues.

In 2009-2010 SEO/BirdLife brokered a national count of nine diurnal woodland raptors (Palomino and Valls, 2011). One of the species that came into this trawl was the Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) [click for general survey aspects and methodology]. According to this survey Extremadura's population comes out as an estimated 43 territories (range 29-58), 36 in the province of Cáceres and 8 in the province of Badajoz. This represents only 2.3% of Spain's total population (1850 territories), way below the figures for Galicia (710), Castilla y León (510) and Asturias (280). The mean regional density was 0.10 territories per 100 km2, a long way below the national mean (0.37); the figure was much higher in Cáceres (0.18) than in Badajoz (0.04). As expected the highest densities were recorded in Atlantic Spain; the four Galician and Asturian provinces are the only ones clocking up a mean of 2 territories per 100 km2.

The Honey Buzzard has a local range in Extremadura, with at least 5 population clusters. The main one is in the Cáceres part of the Gredos mountain chain (La Vera and the valleys of Jerte and Ambroz), then stretching westwards to Tierras de Granadilla and Valle del Alagón. The second biggest nucleus occupies the Sierra de Gata and the third Villuercas. In Badajoz there are 2 small clusters, recently discovered, one in Cíjara and the other in Tentudía. In general, Honey Buzzards choose patchwork deciduous woodland and farming habitat in areas with rainy springs. Most of Extremadura's population nests in oakwoods (Quercus pyrenaica), although in marginal areas there are also territories occupied in Cork-Oak woods and pinewoods (Cíjara).
Predictive map of the Honey Buzzard's range in Spain (Pernis apivorus), taken from Palomino and Valls (2011). Notes: (1) The highest likelihood of a Honey Buzzard sighting in the whole country is in the Cáceres part of the Gredos mountain chain. (2) The five sites with proven nesting in Extremadura are marked in red. (3) The sectors marked in grey outside these areas have no known Honey Buzzard sightings in the breeding period. (4) The Tentudía site does not feature on the map.

The lookout counts showed Honey Buzzards to be especially common in the valleys of the Jerte and Ambroz rivers , where the likelihood of sightings is the highest in the whole of Spain. Densities sometimes build up to 9 territories per 100 km2. The vehicle transects were far less successful. In Extremadura as a whole an average of only 4 Honey Buzzards were seen every 1000 km, albeit with local sightings of 3 birds per 100 km in Jerte valley. Lastly, the Honey Buzzard population trend in Extremadura is unknown, although the trend is considered to be "possibly upwards" for Spain as a whole.

So much for the results thrown up by the SEO/BirdLife survey, carried out by volunteers and drawn from complex statistical calculations, all subject to a certain error. The survey authors themselves point out that the results are lower than previous estimates (in the cases of Madrid, Catalunya and Cantabria) and should be considered as minimum figures. The same goes for Extremadura, with previous estimates of 75 pairs. The actual population might well exceed 43 territories, for in Jerte valley alone the fieldwork showed up 25 possible territories plus 12 more in adjacent areas (J. Prieta, own figures). Such doubts are inevitable when dealing with a species so poorly studied in Spain as the Honey Buzzard, a highly idiosyncratic raptor because of its diet (bees and wasps) and its short stay among us (only from May to August). The sampling period was therefore very short and the sample itself was small (detected in Extremadura in only 10 of the ten-k grids with lookout points). Other aspects of the Honey Buzzard's behaviour makes them difficult to quantify: they pair off very quickly and their wing-clapping display flight period is also very brief; the significant non-breeding population (50-85%) is very visible sometimes with sizeable flocks; territories overlap; they range over large hunting areas (7-10 km from the nest) and they rarely betray their presence with any calls (Bijlsma, unpublished). Lastly, they are sometimes hard to tell apart from Buzzards (Buteo buteo), especially when a long way off.

The fieldwork was coordinated and carried out by SEO volunteers and personnel of the Environment Board (Dirección General del Medio Natural) of the Regional council of Extremadura (Junta de Extremadura).

- Palomino, D., and Valls, J. 2011. Las rapaces forestales en España. Población
reproductora en 2009-2010 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid. [download in PDF format]
- Bijlsma, R. B. Inédito. Abejero Pernis apiv
orus. Propuesta de método de censo. Informe inédito para SEO/BirdLife.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Short-Toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus). Adult feeding its chick with a Horseshoe Whip Snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis). Photo: Juan Tevar (taken from SEO/BirdLife).

The latest Spanish Bird Monitoring Report (No.36) brought out by SEO/BirdLife deals with woodland raptors (Palomino and Valls, 2011). In the springs of 2009 and 2010 the fieldwork was carried out to ascertain national populations of seven diurnal woodland (or at least tree-nesting) raptors for the first time: Honey Buzzard, Short-Toed Eagle, Goshawk, Sparrow Hawk, Buzzard, Booted Eagle and Hobby. The figures gleaned also helped to update information on Red Kite and Black Kite, both dealt with in recent national surveys, in 2004 and 2005.

The sampling method was twofold: (1) low-speed car transects and (2) lookout points with good views. The national coverage was good, with records for 1059 10-m2 grids, 27,440 km of vehicle transects and 2614 lookout points adding up to about 9000 viewing hours. The coverage in Extremadura was very good, with 4187 km of transects in 113 grids and lookout points in 81 grids. As a region it ranked first in the number of vehicle transects and second in lookout points. The transect results are expressed as birds per kilometre, a widely employed abundance measurement that allows for comparison with previous studies; it is especially useful for raptors that hunt over open-country (buzzard, short-toed eagle, booted eagle and the two kite species). In the lookout points a note was made of all birds seen in each 10-minute period, an objective, abundance-related value that measures the observation frequency. Observers also gave their subjective estimate of the number of territories existing within the viewpoint area. On the basis of these three values (birds per kilometre, frequency and territories) a distribution and abundance map was built up for each species in Spain together with an estimate of the population size (expressed in territories, not necessarily of breeding birds). The latter result is shown in the following table:
The set of these nine raptors make up a total of 108,340 territories in Spain and 10,843 in Extremadura; this means that Extremadura ranks fourth among Spanish regions behind Castilla y León, Andalucía and Castilla-La Mancha, all bigger regions. In terms of density, however (21.5 territories/100 km2 in Spain), the Atlantic regions of northern Spain come first, as might be expected: Basque Country (28.1), Asturias (27.4), Cantabria (26.6) and Galicia (26.2). Extremadura 26.0) comes fifth in terms of density, albeit clocking up the highest density among Mediterranean regions. Behind this group, at a median level(20-25 territories/100 km2) come Castilla y León, Navarra, Andalucía, Madrid, Aragón and La Rioja. The rest of the Spanish regions (in the Mediterranean arch, Castilla-La Mancha and the Balearic and Canary Isles) do not reach the figure of 18 territories/100 km2. In terms of birds per kilometre, Extremadura comes second (3.7 birds/10 km), behind Cantabria (4.3) and ahead of Castilla y León (3.5) and Madrid (2.7). Broken down by provinces, the highest densities are recorded by Salamanca (8 birds /10 km), Segovia (4.7), Ávila (4.5), Cantabria (4.3), Cáceres (4.2) and Badajoz (3.2).

The fieldwork was coordinated and carried out by SEO volunteers and personnel of the Environment Board (Dirección General del Medio Natural) of the Regional council of Extremadura (Junta de Extremadura).

Source: Palomino, D., and Valls, J. 2011. Las rapaces forestales en España. Población reproductora en 2009-2010 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid. [Download in PDF format]

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), sub-adult. Serradilla, Monfragüe, Cáceres. 05-08-11 (David Álvarez).

In June 2010 and also in June 2011 this blog reported sightings of Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) at Salto del Gitano, Serradilla, Monfragüe. One-and-a-half months after the last of these observations, on 5 August 2011, another different bird was seen and photographed hard by, within the same municipal district of Serradilla (Cáceres). The excellent photograph (click on it to open it up) shows that this bird was a sub-adult, maybe in its 4th or 5th year. The lucky observers this time were David Álvarez, Ivan Álvarez and Ismael Izquierdo.

To date there have been 3 accepted records of this species in Extremadura (May-June 1992, May 2000 and June 2004) plus another three, ostensibly genuine, yet to be officially accepted (May 2008, June 2010, June 2011). There have also been 3 accepted records in Portugal, where the river Tagus runs along the border with Extremadura: 26 May and 11 June 1992 (the same bird recorded in Spain), 5 June 1998 and 18 February 1999. There are also several other Extremadura records without much to go on. This all suggest a very scarce but more or less regular presence in the region. Among the records now "lost to science" a Rüppell's Vulture was said to have been photographed in late 2010 eating carrion in Serrejón-Casatejada (Cáceres).

See previous entries about Rüppell's Vulture in Extremadura.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

JULY 2011: Notable bird sightings in Extremadura

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris). Photo by Ángel M. Ceballos.

A list of the most interesting records sent to the GOCE forum in July 2011. Compiled by Sergio Mayordomo.

- Egyptian Goose: 4 adults and 12 young at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on
28/07 (Ángel Sánchez and Ángel Luis Sánchez).
- Shelduck: 2 adults and 12 young at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07
(Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
-Mandarin Duck: one female in the bathing channel of La Isla, Plasencia (Cáceres), on 17/07 (Javier Prieta).
- Red-Crested Pochard: one female at Galisteo Lake (Cáceres) on 31/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Glossy Ibis: one lame bird still at Cerro Alto, Saucedilla (Cáceres) on 09/07 (Javier Briz and Manuel García del Rey). One bird at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
- Spoonbill: over 70 at Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz) on 21/07 (Á. Sánchez). A flock of 30 at Charco Salado, Casatejada (Cáceres) on 21/07 (Eva Palacios and S. Mayordomo) and 40 on 26/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Squacco Heron: breeding proven at Orellana Reservoir (Badajoz: one pair with 2 chicks on 05/07 (Á. L. Sánchez, B. Cienfuegos, Domingo Rivera, P. J. García and P. Gasco). Fifteen birds including 8 young on ponds around Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz) on 21/07 (Á. Sánchez). One young bird at Charca de La Haba (Badajoz) on 30/07 (José Luis Pérez Chiscano and Juan Pablo Prieto). Eight birds on a pond of Montijo (Badajoz) on 30/07 (Á. Sánchez).
- Purple Heron: one young bird at Portaje Reservoir (Cáceres) on 22/07 and 31/07
(S. Mayordomo). Four birds at Valdefuentes gravel pit, Galisteo (Cáceres) on 23/07 (César Clemente and Javier Mahíllo) and on 29/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Osprey: one bird at Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz) on 09/07 (A. Cangas and Elvira del Viejo). One bird at River Tiétar, Monfragüe (Cáceres), on 16/07 (María, park guard).
- Marsh Harrier: new breeding site and first in the Alagón catchment area: one pair and one juvenile over Galisteo Lake (Cáceres) on 27/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Hobby: one bird at La Garganta (Cáceres) on 24/07 (Ricardo Montero).
- Crane: one bird at Casas de Hitos (Badajoz) on 03/07 (Martin Kelsey). Two adults at Monroy (Cáceres) on 30/07 (Manu de Hauwae).
- Purple Swamphen: breeding confirmed at Charco Salado, Casatejada (Cáceres): 2 adults and 2 large chicks seen on 26/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Avocet: one bird at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
- Kentish Plover: 30 birds including 2 small chicks at Valdecañas Reservoir(Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
- Temminck's Stint: one bird at Portaje Reservoir(Cáceres) on 31/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Lesser Black-Backed Gull: adult in breeding plumage at Valdesalor Reservoir (Cáceres) on 23/07 (S. Mayordomo) and several birds at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus). Two adults in the centre together with several Yellow-Legged Gulls of various ages and a Black-Headed Gull. Valdecañas Reservoir, 12.07.11 (Ángel Sánchez).

- Mediterranean Gull: 15 adults seen at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 12/07 (Á. Sánchez, J. A. Guerrero and Manuel Flores) and 2 on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez). This is the biggest group ever recorded in Extremadura.
- Common Tern: 5 birds at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 12/07 (Á. Sánchez, J. A. Guerrero and M. Flores).
- Whiskered Tern: 2 birds at Portaje Reservoir(Cáceres) on 22/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Reed Warbler: one male singing at Valdefuentes gravel pit, Galisteo (Cáceres), on 03/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Western Olivaceous Warbler: 3 birds captured for ringing (one young and 2 adults) at River Guadiana, Badajoz capital, on 18/07 and 19/07 (Antón David Pérez). Could be Extremadura's second breeding record.
- Pied Flycatcher: one male in breeding plumage at Cornalvo National Park(Badajoz) on 09/07 (José Ledo).
- Tawny Pipit: one bird at Puerto de Esperabán, Pinofranqueado (Cáceres), on 24/07 (E. Palacios and S. Mayordomo).

- Garganey: one female at Galisteo Lake (Cáceres) on 16/07 (Sergio Mayordomo) and 17/07 (J. Prieta). One drake at Valdefuentes gravel pit, Galisteo (Cáceres), on 17/07 (J. Prieta).
- Shoveler: one female at Talaván Reservoir (Cáceres) on 16/07 and another at Charco Salado on 26/07 (S.Mayordomo).
- Teal: one female at Galisteo (Cáceres) on 16/07 (S. Mayordomo) and 17/07 (J. Prieta). Four birds at Portaje Reservoir (Cáceres) on 22/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Ringed Plover: one bird at Valdesalor Reservoir(Cáceres) on 23/07, another at Talaván Reservoir(Cáceres) on 25/07 (S. Mayordomo) and another at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
- Snipe: 4 birds at Galisteo Lake(Cáceres) on 27/07 and 1 bird at Portaje Reservoir (Cáceres) on 31/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Redshank: 2 birds on 23/07 at Valdesalor Reservoir (Cáceres) (S. Mayordomo) and 1 at Galisteo Lake(Cáceres) (C. Clemente and J. Mahíllo).
- Spotted Redshank: 1 bird at Charco Salado, Casatejada (Cáceres), on 21/07 (E.
Palacios and S. Mayordomo) and 8 birds, 5 in breeding plumage, at the same site on 26/07 (S. Mayordomo). One bird in breeding plumage at Charca de La Haba (Badajoz) on 26/07 (J. L. Pérez Chiscano); still there on 30/07 (J. L. Pérez Chiscano and J. P. Prieto). One bird at Valdesalor Reservoir(Cáceres) on 30/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Wood Sandpiper: 1 bird at Sotillo Reservoir, Monroy (Cáceres), on 17/07 (S. Mayordomo) and another at Valdefuentes gravel pit, Galisteo (Cáceres), on 23/07
(C. Clemente and J. Mahíllo).
- Ruff: 1 bird at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez).
- Dunlin: 1 bird at Portaje Reservoir (Cáceres) on 22/07 and 2 at Valdesalor Reservoir (Cáceres) on 23/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Curlew Sandpiper: 15 birds at Valdecañas Reservoir (Cáceres) on 28/07 (Á. Sánchez and Á. L. Sánchez) and 2 at Valdesalor Reservoir(Cáceres) on 29/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Little Stint: several on a Mérida pond on 31/07 (Á. Sánchez).
- Willow Warbler: 1 bird at Cornalvo (Badajoz) on 27/07 (Á. Sánchez, Isa and Jesús).
- Iberian Chiffchaff: 1 bird at Galisteo (Cáceres) on 27/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Bonelli's Warbler: 2 birds at Cornalvo (Cáceres) on 09/07 and 10/07 (J. Ledo) and another 2 at Tentudía (Badajoz) on 14/07 (Alberto Pacheco).
- Sedge Warbler: 2 birds la Valdefuentes gravel pit, Galisteo (Cáceres), on 29/07 (S.Mayordomo).
- Whitethroat: 1 bird at Galisteo (Cáceres) on 31/07 (S. Mayordomo).
- Wheatear: 1 bird at Cornalvo (Badajoz) on 27/07 (Á. Sánchez, Isa and Jesús).
- Yellow Wagtail: at least 6 birds at Charco Salado, Casatejada (Cáceres), on 21/07 (E. Palacios and S. Mayordomo).

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus). Hortelano, identifiable by the discoloured feathers in the centre of the left wing. Male released in 2010 in Andalucía and present in Extremadura during April, May and June 2011. Photo: Fundación Gypaetus.

This blog entry has drawn freely on the information furnished by F. Javier Ortega Pinilla, a tireless compiler of Lammergeier records and stories.

If we look for the phrase "Lammergeier in Extremadura" in any search engine we get no hard and fast info back. This is surprising, given that this singular vulture still bred in the region only half a century ago, as pointed out by Javier Ortega in an article pending publication(Ortega, in press). This article tells us that at least the sierras of Gredos, Hurdes, Villuercas, San Pedro and Monesterio were home fairly recently to the "Bearded Vulture". J. Ortega has also compiled 13 Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) sightings, presumably of Pyrenean birds, in the 30-year period running from 1979 to 2008, most of them in the eastern half of the region and in Badajoz (9 records against 4 for Cáceres). Another "oversight" is the absence of this species from the Regional Catalogue of Threatened Species(Catálogo Regional de Especies Amenazadas), where it should by rights feature as an extinguished species.

The number of Lammergeier records in Extremadura has recently soared due to the launch of a reintroduction programme in Andalucía, in the sierras of Cazorla y Segura, and especially the satellite tracking of the released birds. The first juveniles were released in 2006, after which a total of 19 were released in Andalucía up to 2010, the release programme then being called off in 2011. Ten of these releases are still alive; 8 have died and the whereabouts of another is unknown. The early deaths of some birds and technical hitches meant that only 11 birds were tracked for over one year, with records of seven birds spending time in Extremadura. Although the journeys made by these birds differ greatly from one individual to another, a general pattern can be discerned, with several months spent at first in the release area(Cazorla and roundabout) and then dispersal from about the age of one year with wide-ranging movements about the mountain ranges of the whole Iberian Peninsula. This vulture species matures slowly (6-8 years to breeding age), so no breeding pairs have yet been formed, though hopes were raised in 2011 with the pair bonding of the male Tono (born in 2006) and the female Malena (n. 2009).

During the first five years of the project only a handful of these birds spent any time at all in Extremadura, which didn't seem to be much to their liking. At the beginning of 2011 8 birds were still being tracked by satellite, although this number fell to six by June due to the lamentable death of two birds in May.

The Extremadura records from 2006 to 2010 fit into a meagre paragraph. Faust, born in 2006 and still alive, visited us from 25 to 31 May 2007, when it was found in the south of Badajoz (Malcocinado and Fuente de Cantos). The visit of Pontones, born in 2007 and dying in May 2011, was even briefer. On 5 September 2009, in one of its trips between the Cordillera Cantábrica and Cazorla, it flew right across Extremadura without landing, entering the region in Las Hurdes in the north and leaving it in La Siberia in the south. Lastly, the female Cata, born in 2009 and also dying in May 2011, spent two weeks of June 2010 in the centre and south of Badajoz, in the areas of La Serena, La Siberia and Alange.

In 2011, however, Extremadura seems to have become all the rage among Andalusian Lammergeiers. Of the 6 being tracked in June, 5 of them born in 2010, 4 passed through the region (see the maps below)... and it remains to be seen what happened in July and what might happen in the future:
- Hortelano. This was the trailblazer and most loyal bird. After 3 months in Cazorla, it left the area in April, stopping over in Villuercas and the Cáceres part of the Gredos mountain chain (Vera and Jerte). In May it returned to Gredos on a lightning trip to Salamanca. In June it remained in the area, visiting Las Hurdes as well as Madrid, Teruel and several other provinces.
- Tranco. This bird followed in the former's "footsteps". After 3 months of lounging about it suddenly set off to explore the world further afield. In May it roamed widely around the southern half of Spain, including Cáceres, and also entered Portugal. After returning to Cazorla, in June it spent a longer spell in Gredos (Vera and Jerte) and in Hurdes-Batuecas.
- Huéscar. This is the bird that has visited most Extremadura sites of the 4, with June stopovers in Villuercas and the whole central mountain system of Cáceres, from Gata to Gredos, passing through Las Hurdes.
- Quiteria. Only 1 of the two 2010-born females has arrived briefly in Extremadura, with a short spell in Villuercas in June.

As usual in tracking arrangements of this sort, few field sightings have been made. We know of only one by Environmental Agents (Ángel Sánchez, pers. comm.) So we should all keep on the qui vive in the hope of more luck in the future. As well as the tracking devices all the birds are also marked with coloured rings(one on each foot, uncoded) and discoloured wing feathers (for more details click here).

- Fundación Gypaetus. Evolución de los ejemplares liberados [web].
- Ortega, F. J. In press. El quebrantahuesos (Gypaetus barbatus) en Extremadura: revisión histórica y presencia actual. In: Prieta, J. and Mayordomo, S. Aves de Extremadura, vol. 4. Anuario 2003-2008. SEO-Cáceres. Plasencia.

Monday, 1 August 2011

JUNE 2011. Notable Bird Sightings in Extremadura

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo). Adult. Valdecañas Reservoir, 20-06-11. Javier Prieta.

List of the most notable records in June 2011, mostly taken from the GOCE forum. Compiled by Sergio Mayordomo. N.B: The denomination "Valdecañas Team 2011" (VT2011) refers, in alphabetical order, to Joaquín Fernández, Manuel Flores, José Guerrero, Carlota Gutiérrez, Francisco Hurtado, Luis Lozano, Sergio Mayordomo, Javier Prieta, Domingo Rivera, Miguel Ángel Romo, Esmeralda Rodríguez and Ángel Sánchez.

-Black Swan: One at El Batán ricefield, Guijo de Galisteo (Cáceres), on 13/06 (Javier Prieta).
-Egyptian Goose: Second breeding site in Extremadura: a pair with 3 young at Valdecañas Reservoir(Cáceres) on 14/06 (Ángel Sánchez, Francisco Hurtado and Manuel Flores). 2 at La Serena reservoir Badajoz) on 04/06 (María José Valencia and Xurxo Piñeiro). One at Alange reservoir (Badajoz) on 11/06 (Domingo Jorge, Esther Mateos and Jesús Solana).
- Shelduck: First Extremadura breeding record: at least 5 pairs and 21 young seen at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 14/06 (Á. Sánchez, F. Hurtado and M. Flores), 16/06 (Sergio Mayordomo) and 20/06 (VT2011). Two birds at Portaje reservoir (Cáceres) on 25/06 (César Clemente and Javier Mahíllo).
-Mandarin Duck: Second Extremadura breeding record: a female with 5 large chicks on a pond in Valcorchero, Plasencia (Cáceres) on 26/06 (Carlos Martín).
-Shoveler: one female flushed off a nest with 8 eggs at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (Sergio Mayordomo and Javier Prieta).
-Teal: 2 drakes and 1 duck on Talaván reservoir (Cáceres) on 17/06 (S. Mayordomo) and 5 birds at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Spoonbill: New breeding site: a nest occupied by a pair on an island of El Borbollón reservoir (Cáceres) on 08/06 (J. Mahíllo, Jesús Montero, Jonás Martín, J. Prieta and S. Mayordomo).
-Squacco Heron: 1 bird at Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz) on 12/06 (Á. Sánchez).
-White Stork: colony with 130 nests around the Mirabel landfill site (Cáceres), 82 nesting on Holm Oaks and 48 on high voltage powerline pylons (J. Prieta). Colony with an estimated 150 nests at Valdesalor reservoir (Cáceres) (Jerónimo Jaén).
-Osprey: 1 at Charca de Camacho, Talaván (Cáceres), on 20/06 (José Luis Caballero).
-Rüppell's Vulture: one at Salto del Gitano, Monfragüe (Cáceres), on 18/06 (S. Mayordomo and Ricardo Montero).
-Goshawk: one at El Bronco (Cáceres) on 20/06 (Alberto Pacheco).
-Hobby: one at Villanueva de la Vera (Cáceres) on 02/06 (Dave Langlois) and another hawking dragonflies at Nuñomoral (Cáceres) on 21/06 (A. Pacheco).
-Great Bustard: birds in post-breeding dispersal in north Cáceres: 3 at Cerezo on 20/06 and 1 at El Gasco on 26/06 (reported by A. Pacheco).
-Crane: 1 at Madrigalejo (Cáceres) on 04/06 (Pep Tapia) and one adult at Gabriel y Galán reservoir (Cáceres) on 09/06 (A. Pacheco).
-Golden Plover: one pair at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 16/06 (Á. Sánchez, F. Hurtado and M. Flores) and another on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Kentish Plover: New breeding locality, probably the biggest in Extremadura: at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) pairs with young seen on 14/06 (Á. Sánchez, F. Hurtado and M. Flores) and at least 47 birds counted on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Redshank: 5 at Valdehornillos ricefields (Badajoz) on 05/06 (Manuel Rodríguez). Present at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 17/06 (Javier Briz and Vicente Risco) and 3 birds on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Greenshank: 2 at Casas de Hitos (Badajoz) on 16/06 (Á. Sánchez). 3 at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Green Sandpiper: 7 at Galisteo ricefield (Cáceres) on 11/06 (S. Mayordomo), 6 at Vegas Altas (Badajoz) on 16/06 (Á. Sánchez) and 5 at Valdesalor reservoir (Cáceres) on 19/06 (S. Mayordomo).
-Common Sandpiper: 3 at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Dunlin: 2 at Valdecañas reservoir on 16/06 (S. Mayordomo) and 17/06 (J. Briz and V. Risco) plus another bird on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Collared Pratincole: new breeding site, the northernmost in Extremadura, with at least 43 adults and 22 young at Valdecañas reservoir on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Black-Headed Gull: 22 at Alange reservoir (Badajoz) on 11/06 (D. Jorge, E. Mateos and J. Solana). Thirty one birds and three nests seen at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Mediterranean Gull: One first-winter bird at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (Á. Sánchez, S. Mayordomo and J. Prieta).
-Yellow-Legged Gull: 58 at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06; at least 4 pairs have bred in 2011 (VT2011).
-Lesser Black-Backed Gull: 2 juvs at Alange reservoir (Badajoz) on 11/06 (D. Jorge, E. Mateos and J. Solana). One adult at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 16/06 (S. Mayordomo) and 3 on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Laughing Gull: First Extremadura record: One bird at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 14/06 (Á. Sánchez, F. Hurtado and M. Flores) and on 20/06 (Carlota Gutiérrez, Esmeralda Rodríguez, F. Hurtado and M. Flores).
-Common Tern: Six birds seen at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) including one pair incubating, on 16/06 (M. Flores). The pair was seen again on 20/06 (J. Prieta and S. Mayordomo). One bird at Valdesalor reservoir (Cáceres) on 19/06 (S. Mayordomo).
-Black Tern: 2 Alange reservoir (Badajoz) on 11/06 (D. Jorge, E. Mateos and J. Solana). 11 at Valdecañas reservoir (Cáceres) on 20/06 (VT2011).
-Whiskered Tern: 4 at Lagunas de La Albuera (Badajoz) on 19/06 (Antonio Núñez) and 8 at Valdecañas reservoir on 20/06 (VT2011).
-White-Rumped Swift: One pair entering a nest in the village of Guijo de Santa Bárbara (Cáceres) on 12/06 (Jesús Calle). 3 at Pico de Miravete (Cáceres) on 23/06 (Godfried Schreur). One at Canchos de Ramiro, Cachorrilla (Cáceres) on 25/06 (C. Clemente and J. Mahíllo). One at Casas de Millán (Cáceres) on 29/06 (G. Schreur and Pedro López).
-Nightjar: Low-altitude observation: one at Montehermoso on 09/06 (C. Clemente and J. Mahíllo) and on 11/06 (C. Clemente).
-Wryneck: 2 at Santa Cruz de Paniagua (Cáceres) on 25/06 (Juan Carlos Paniagua).
-Budgerigar: one albino bird at Torrequemada (Cáceres) on 10/06 (S. Mayordomo).
-Hoopoe: at Garganta la Olla one bird entering its nest at a height of 1400 masl and another seen at 1570 masl on 15/06 (J. Prieta).
-Woodlark: at Garganta la Olla, males singing at 1700 masl, maximum height recorded in Extremadura (J. Prieta).
-Red-Backed Shrike: New site: one male at La Garganta (Cáceres) on 16/06 (Richard Coastwoth and R. Montero). At Puerto de Tornavacas (Cáceres-AV) a femle was seen on 01/06 (Iván Solana) and a pair on 25/06 (Eva Palacios and S. Mayordomo).
-Iberian Chiffchaff: one bird at La Garganta (Cáceres) on 05/06 (R. Montero).
-Savi's Warbler: New site: one bird singing at Laguna de Galisteo (Cáceres) on 24/06 (S. Mayordomo).
-Rock Thrush: one at Puerto de Esperabán, Pinofranqueado (Cáceres) on 08/06 and a female and 4 males La Canchera, El Gasco (Cáceres) on 16/06 (A. Pacheco).
-Rufous-Tailed Scrub Robin: New sites at Villa del Campo (Cáceres) and Guijo de Coria (Cáceres) on 15/06 (S. Mayordomo).
-Wheatear: Low-altitude observations: one at Hinojal on 17/06 (S. Mayordomo) and one male at El Gordo on 20/06 (J. Prieta and S. Mayordomo).
-Black-Eared Wheater: one territorial male singing at Garganta la Olla at a height of 1600 masl, maximum altitude recorded in Extremadura (J. Prieta).
-Bullfinch: observation of two summering birds in Villanueva de la Vera (Cáceres) on 05/06 (D. Langlois).