Sunday, 30 December 2012

PALLID HARRIER WINTERING IN VEGAS ALTAS


On December 26, 2012 a Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) was observed for the second time this year in Extremadura, and is also only the third sighting for Extremadura. The second dates from March 26, 2012 and was the subject of a separate entry in this blog, which also gave details about the presence of this rarity in Spain. This third record was made in Acedera, Badajoz, in the region of Vegas Altas. The fortunate observers were Miguel Gómez Guarín (supplier of the photographs) and Manuel Gómez Calzado, who wrote in his personal blog "Grullas veo" where you can also read of other interesting sighting, told in a very entertaining manner. In his blog, Manolo said that this same bird could have been seen on the 6th of December, although not for certain.

[NOTES. Subsequent to the publication of this post has received information from a previous observation made ​​in Madrigalejo on December 3, 2012 by Jose Manuel Vadillo. The December 30, 2012 was found by Jose Tapia and Maribel Jimenez a mixed roost with Marsh and Hen Harriers at Madrigalejo, Cáceres, where the pallid harrier sleep. Several others have observed it again in this roosting bird on 31 December 2012 and 4 and January 8, 2013 (Jose Tapia, Maribel Jimenez, Antonio Calvo, Sergio Mayordomo, César Clemente, Pepe Guisado, Pilar Goni, Lola Huerta, Mariano Martinez, José Guerra and Marc Galvez).]



Like the previous two observations in Extremadura, this one is an adult male, the plumage of which makes it easier to identify, which also suggests that the presence of immatures or females could be going unnoticed. The previous two sightings in Extremadura, both in Badajoz, were on a migratory path. The presence of Pallid Harrier winter in Iberia is recent, but increasing, and had already been predicted by some experts knowing the westward expansion of its breeding area in Europe. In the previous blog post we discussed the presence between November 2011 and January 2012 from various individuals, especially in Andalusia, but also in Gerona, Palencia and Valencia. In this winter 2012-2013 there are again sightings being reported of pallid Hrriers in Doñana and Cadiz. Luckily, Extremadura adjoins some wintering areas, so we have to be very careful and start studying the plumage of this beautiful bird.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

THE WHITE-TAILED MOVES TO MONFRAGÜE

A white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), likely the same individual observed between 6 and 9 December in Talaván (Cáceres), has been observed on 24.12.12 in the Salto del Gitano, Monfragüe (Cáceres), 27 km from the first observations. The excellent photographs shown below were taken by José Luis Rivero/Objetivo Vede. It therefore appears that the white-tailed eagle remains in the area, perhaps moving in search of food (carrion) with the large population of vultures of Monfragüe. To get an idea, in the Salto del Gitano in December and January congregate over 500 vultures every night to sleep.

[NOTES. Subsequent to the publication of this post, there are new information about this white-tailed eagle: seen the December 20, 2012 by two English tourists inside Monfragüe National Park, photographed by Luis J. Gonzalez on December 27, 2012 on the road between Torrejón el Rubio-Monroy and seen the January 8, 2013 by Ashley Saunders on Monroy, on the bridge over the River Almonte.]





Friday, 21 December 2012

DIVERS IN EXTREMADURA

Divers, or loons to Americans, are a small order of birds (Gaviformes), related to the penguins and seabirds, with only five species grouped into a genus (Gavia) and a family (Gaviidae). They are distributed in the northern hemisphere and are associated with aquatic environments, mainly in the interior during the breeding season, and in the sea out of the breeding season. No species of loon breeds in the Iberian Peninsula, where their presence is scarce in winter, being closely linked to coastal waters and appearing to be very rare inside. Despite the above, three species have been observed in Extremadura.



On December 3, 2012, a Common Loon (Gavia immer) juvenile appeared at a factory in an industrial area of Almendralejo (Badajoz), apparently wounded, as the plumage was bloodstained. Jesus Sánchez Cidoncha (photo 1) and Isabel Gonzalez Alcantara were alerted and called the AMUS recovery center in Villafranca de los Barros (Badajoz), where the bird was under observation. Fortunately it didn't appear hurt and bleeding could be due to some superficial wound caused by being trapped or whilst moving. Without further ado, the day after the issue was released by AMUS (Figure 2).



It is the fourth common loon observation in Extremadura. The above dates from January 25, 2009, when Godfried Schreur (photos 3 and 4) located a juvenile while on a transect to the atlas of wintering birds. Specifically it was seen in the Charco de la Virgen in Carrión, Alburquerque (Badajoz). On the previous night there was a strong wind from the west. On the same day of observation the bird flew to the southwest, but was observed again in the same pond between 13 and 15 February (J. P. Menendez).

The remaining events are recorded in the yearbooks "Birds of Extremadura". Thus, two separate adult Common Loon were seen in Gabriel y Galán reservoir (Cáceres) in March 1991 (Javier Briz) and Orellana Reservoir, Talarrubias (Badajoz), on April 15, 2008 (I. T. Escribano, Juan Gomez Navedo, José María Gutiérrez Abad and J. S. Gutiérrez / GIC-UEX). The Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica) has two records, both in the Llanos de Cáceres: a juvenile in Petit de Abajo, Arroyo de la Luz, in January 1995 (Antonio Acha) and one on the reservoir Valdesalor on January 25, 1998 (M. Ruiz and A. Acha). Finally, the red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) has been observed only once: a juvenile at Cornalvo Reservoir (Badajoz) on April 22, 2000 (J. Matute, Goyo Para and R. Sanchez Herrero).

Sources:
- Prieta, J. and S.Mayordomo 2011. Birds of Extremadura. Vol 4. 2004-2008. SEO-Cáceres. Plasencia. [Download]

Thursday, 13 December 2012

FIRST WHITE-TAILED EAGLE FOR EXTREMADURA


On the holiday weekend between 6th and 9th of December, 2012, a juvenile White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) was observed and photographed at Talaván Reservoir (Cáceres) by Julio Gutierrez. This is the first observation of this species in Extremadura, well away from former Spanish records, making the sighting even more interesting. Unfortunately were no further sightings during the following days, and although several people visited Talaván on the 10th and 11th, the eagle has not been seen again.



The White-tailed Eagle is a large raptor which is distributed throughout the temperate and aboreal regions of Eurasia. It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 pairs worldwide. In Europe it is limited to the north and east, but in the not too distant past it was also present in the Mediterranean. The last sightings date back to 1956 in Sardinia and Corsica 1968, 1975 and in 1983 in Algeria and Morocco. It was also suspected to have bred in the Peninsula and the Balearics. The European population is mainly resident, but some birds, especially immatures, move south during the winter (October to March). In parallel to the increase in the breeding population, observations in southern Europe are becoming more frequent. Thus, in the French Camargue usually about 20 birds winter.


In Spain this sighting is exceptionally far south. Multiple records are known from the 19th century, but only three from the 20th century: Castellón in 1944, Santoña (Cantabria) in 1944 and in 1953 in the Ebro Delta. The sighting at Santoña was first reported much later. In the 21th century there are at least eight records:

1 - Mallorca. December 2001-February 2002. Second winter bird. Accepted.
2 - Santoña (Cantabria). From 14/12/03 to 05/03/04. Immature. Accepted.
3 - Viana (Navarra). Ringed bird from Sweden. From 15 to 20/12/04 and unconfirmed sightings until February 2005, in Navarra, and in areas close in La Rioja and Treviño (Burgos). First winter bird . Accepted.
4 - Zudaire (Navarra). 28/12/2005. First winter bird . Accepted..
5 - Ordesa (Huesca). February 2007. In a feeding station for vultures. 1st or 2nd winter bird. Accepted.
6 - Aiguamolls de Empordà (Gerona). From 19/02/11 to 09/03/11. First winter bird. Pending acceptance.
7 - Carcastillo (Navarra). On a rubbish tip. From 03/01/12 to 08/01/12. Second winter bird. Pending acceptance.
8 - Talaván (Cáceres). From 6 to 9/12/12. First winter bird. Pending acceptance.

All observations have been in winter, between December and early March, and except for the Caceres bird, all have occurred in the northeast of the peninsular and the Balearic Islands, as shown on the map.


Sources:
- De Juana, E. 2006. Aves raras de España. Lynx Edicions. Barcelona.
- Comité de Rarezas de SEO. Diversos informes. Ardeola.

Monday, 10 December 2012

NOVEMBER 2012: NOTABLE SIGHTINGS IN EXTREMADURA

A list of the most interesting observations sent to the GOCE forum in November 2012, Compiled by Sergio Mayordomo

Pink-footed Goose: One at the embalse de Valdecañas (CC) on 02/11 (Vicente Risco and  Javier Briz), 03/11 (Sergio Mayordomo, Ricardo Montero and Eva Palacios), 11/11 (Javier Prieta) and 16/11 (R. Montero). Third for Extremadura.
Greater White-fronted Goose: At the embalse de Valdecañas (CC)  3 adults on 11/11 (Sammy Langlois, J. Prieta and Dave Langlois), a juvenile on 19/11 (César Clemente) and 2 adults and a juvenile on 23/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Bar-headed Goose: One at Vega Zarzalejos, Logrosán (CC), on 11/11 (S. Mayordomo and Luis Salguero).
Canada Goose: One atVega Zarzalejos, Logrosán (CC), on 04/11 (L. Salguero and José Ángel Sánchez). One at the lagunas de Torremejía (BA) on 24/11 (Fergus Crystal and Antonia Cangas).
Barnacle Goose: One at Vega del Haza, Malpartida de Plasencia (CC), on 19/11 (J. Prieta), 22/11 (Antolín Redondo) and 25/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Egyptian Goose: At the embalse de Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), 3 on 09/11 (S. Mayordomo) and 11/11 (Yolanda Muñoz, Teresa Laguna, S. Mayordomo, Pilar Alonso, Luis A. Rodríguez, José M. Ruiz, Jesús Mora and Alfredo Vivas).
Common Shelduck: One at Valdecañas (CC) on 23/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Ruddy Shelduck: One at the charca de Morantes (BA) on 01/11 (Pablo Herrador and José Luis Bautista) and on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios). One at the embalse de Valdecañas (CC) on 03/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios).

Red-crested Pochard: At the Manantío/Gravera Atalaya, Aldea del Cano (CC), 2 individuals on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios) and 2 mmales on 18/11 (José Carlos López -photo-). 2 males at Los Canchales (BA) on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios). At Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), a male on 09/11 (S. Mayordomo and A.Vivas), 2 males on 10/11 (Y. Muñoz, T. Laguna, S. Mayordomo, P. Alonso, L. A. Rodríguez, J. M. Ruiz, J. Mora and A. Vivas) and 7 on 25/11 (Jesús Solana). At the embalse de Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), 8 individuals on 17/11 (Martin Kelsey) and 4 on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz).
Ferruginous Duck: At Manantío/Gravera Atalaya, Aldea del Cano (CC), one on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios) and 2 on 24/11 (J. Solana). Uone at Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), on 09/11 (S. Mayordomo). 3 at the embalse de Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz).
Common Quail: 2 flushed by a hunter at Santa Amalia (BA) on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz).
Black-necked Grebe: One at the embalse de Villalba de los Barros (BA) on 10/11 (Vanessa de Alba, Francisco Montaño and Antonio Núñez). One at the embalse del Paredón, Campanario (BA), on 23/11 (William Haworth and Juan Pablo Prieto). One at Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), on 25/11 (J. Solana).

Common Flamingo: UA juvenile in the rice fields at Palazuelo-Campo Lugar (BA-CC) on 12/11 (Vega y Antonio Calvo).
Glossy Ibis: 25 between Torremayor and Montijo (BA) on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios). 15 entering the roost at the embalse de Montijo, Mérida (BA), on 12/11 (Sergio Pérez Gil).
Great Bittern: One seen at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 10/11 (M. Kelsey).
Squacco Heron: In the River Guadiana in Badajoz, one on 01/11 y 03/11 (Juan Carlos Paniagua), 2 and 3 individuals on 04/11 and 10/11 (Juan Carlos Salgado), 8 on 13/11 (Atanasio Fernández) and 3 on 19/11 (Mariano Martínez). One in the rice fields of El Batán (CC) on 01/11 (S. Mayordomo). At the  embalse de Arrocampo (CC), 2 on 10/11 (M. Kelsey) and 3 on 11/11 (Cristina Delgado).
Great-white Egret: Concentrations: At the embalse de Montijo, Mérida (BA), 9 on 12/11 (S. Pérez Gil) and 24 individuals on 25/11 (Ángel Sánchez). 9 at the el embalse de Talaván (CC) on 25/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Black Stork: One at the Charco Salado, Casatejada (CC), on 06/11 (Raúl Virosta). One at the charca de Corral Alto, Zorita (CC), on 09/11 (S. Mayordomo). At the finca Solana, Herrera de Alcántara (CC), one on 12/11 and 14/11 (Antonio Galán). On 13/11 22 individuals were seen at the embalse de Orellana (BA) (Francisco Rodríguez and Ángel Luis Sánchez) and one at Vega del Haza, Malpartida de Plasencia (CC) (Raúl Sancho). One at the río Budión, Valverde de Burguillos (BA), on 19/11 (V. de Alba). At the charca de Fresnedillas, Oliva de Plasencia (CC), 4 on 19/11, one ringed in Czechoslovakia (R. Montero on J. Prieta), 2 on 21/11 (R. Montero) and a different 4 individuals, including another ringed in Czechoslovakia on 25/11 (Rubén Borrega and Pablo Núñez). One was seen flying over Torremayor (BA) on 21/11 (Francisco Lopo). 2 at the río Tiétar in Villanueva de la Vera (CC) on 27/11 (Pedro Gómez).
Osprey: On  09/11 one was seen at the embalse de Gargáligas, Puebla de Alcocer-Logrosán (BA-CC) (S.Mayordomo) and a juvenile ringed in Scotland at the embalse de Gabriel y Galán (CC) (José A. Manzanedo). One at the Azud del Ruecas, Logrosán (CC), on 11/11 (Y. Muñoz, T. Laguna, S. Mayordomo, P. Alonso, L. A. Rodríguez, J. M. Ruiz, J. Mora and A. Vivas). 2 at the embalse de Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz). One at the embalse de Montijo, Mérida (BA), on 25/11 (Á. Sánchez).
Black Kite: 2 at the weir in Badajoz on 10/11 (J. C. Paniagua). One at Casatejada (CC) on 14/11 (Isabel Gallardo).
Booted Eagle: Throughout the month 1-2 pale phased individuals have been seen in Mérida (BA) (S. Pérez Gil, F. Lopo and Á. Sánchez). One pale phased at Plasencia (CC) on 02/11 (J. Prieta). One at Sierra de Fuentes (CC) on 10/11 (Javier Zalba and Felipe Holgado). One at Badajoz on 13/11 (A. Fernández). One at Galisteo (CC) on 29/11 (R. Montero).
Goshawk: At the Raña de Alía (CC), one on 01/11 and 07/11 (Noelia Baeza, Jorge Ángel Herrera and Jaime Cerezo). One at the embalse del Borbollón, Santibáñez el Alto (CC), on 20/11 (Á. Sánchez).
Lesser Kestrel: One at Navalmoral de la Mata (CC) on 06/11 (J. Briz). An adult male perched at   the charca de San Lázaro, Trujillo (CC), on 29/11 (Genaro Sánchez).
Little Bustard: 16 at Lugar Nuevo, Peraleda de la Mata (CC), on 18/11 (S. Langlois and D. Langlois).

Red-knobbed Coot: One in a group of 125 Common Coots at the embalse de Valdecañas, Bohonal de Ibor (CC), on 23/11 (S. Mayordomo -fphoto-) and on 24/11 (V. Risco, Miguel Ángel Muñoz, J. Briz and E. Palacios). Third sighting for Extremadura.
Common Avocet: On 18/11 2 were seen at Santa Amalia (BA) (SEO-Badajoz) and 4 at Palazuelo-Campo Lugar (BA-CC) (C. Clemente). 8 at the embalse de Gabriel y Galán (CC) on 30/11 (Andrés Maestre).
Kentish Plover: At the embalse de Valdecañas (CC), 20 on 11/11 (J. Prieta) and 12 on 13/11 (S. Mayordomo). 4 at Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 12/11 and 17/11 (M. Kelsey). Various individuals  at Santa Amalia (BA) on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz). 5 at Palazuelo (BA) on 20/11 (W. Haworth y J. P. Prieto).
Eurasian Curlew: One at the embalse de Villanueva de los Barros (BA) on 10/11 (V. de Alba, F. Montaño and A. Núñez). One in the rice fields at Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 17/11 (M. Kelsey).
Spotted Redshank: 2 at  Lugar Nuevo, Peraleda de la Mata (CC), on 13/11 and 6 in the rice fields at El Batán (CC) on 14/11 (S. Mayordomo). One in the rice fields of Santa Amalia (BA) on 18/11 (SEO-Badajoz). 8 in the rice fields at Palazuelo (BA) on 20/11. El 25/11 and one was seen at the embalse del Sotillo, Monroy (CC), and another at the charca del Excedente, Talaván (CC) (S. Mayordomo).
Yellow-legged Gull: A third winter bird at the weir in Badajoz on 10/11 (J. C. Paniagua). An adult at the embalse de Valdecañas (CC) on 23/11 (S. Mayordomo). 3 at the embalse de Montijo, Mérida (BA),on 25/11 (Á. Sánchez).
Stock Dove: 40 at Casas de Hitos, Madrigalejo (CC), on 15/11 (M. Kelsey).

Long-eared Owl: One at IES Zurbarán de Navalmoral de la Mata (CC) until 21/11 (V. Risco and J. Briz) and continued to the end of the month (V. Risco, M. Á. Muñoz, J. Briz, E. Palacios -photo- and C. Clemente).
Short-eared Owl: One in Cáceres harrassed by Magpies on 22/11 (Florencio Carrero)
Pallid Swift: Present at Alange (BA) on 04/11 (Elvira del Viejo, A. Cangas, Thor y Per). 2-3 in Alange (BA) between 09/11 and 29/11 (J. Solana).
Rose-ringed Parakeet: One at  Puente Vadillo, Cáceres, on 13/11 (J. L. Bautista). One at the roundabout Méridas del Mundo, Mérida, (BA) on 15/11 (Á. Sánchez).
Wryneck: One at Hernán Cortés (BA) on 02/11 (J. P. Prieto). One in Mérida (BA) on 03/11 (Á. Sánchez). One at the río Jerte en Plasencia (CC), one on 05/11 (R. Montero) and 19/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Bearded Tit: One at Arrocampo (CC) on 10/11 (M. Kelsey).
House Martin: 8 entering the roost at puente del ferrocarril en La Zarza (BA) on 10/11. One at Alange (BA) on 14/11 and 22/11 (J. Solana).
Red-rimped Swallow: One in Plasencia (CC) on 02/11 and 16/11 (R. Montero). One in the Plaza Mayor de Trujillo (CC) on 07/11 (M.Kelsey).
Yellow-browed Warbler:  One at La Tenzuela, Madroñera (CC), on 12/11 (Juan Carlos Molina and Collin Jewitt). First for Extremadura.

Goldcrest: 4 at Piornal (CC) on 01/11 (Jesús Sánchez). At least one at the río Ibor, Alía (CC), on 06/11 (N. Baeza, J. Á. Herrera and J. Cerezo). At Riomalo de Arriba (CC), 2 on 02/11 and 12 on 27/11 (A. Pacheco). 7 at La Tenzuela, Madroñera (CC), on 13/11 (Steve Fletcher -photo- and C. Jewitt). 2 in Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), on 18/11 (Álvaro Díaz).
Pied Wagtail : Subespecie M. a. yarrellii: One at Navalmoral de la Mata (CC) on 03/11 (J. Briz and Alejandro Briz) and on 28/11 (Isabel Gallardo). One at the charca de Esparragalejo (BA) on 04/11 (S. Mayordomo and E. Palacios). One at the weir in Badajoz on 10/11 (J. C. Paniagua). One in the rice fields at Riolobos (CC) on 18/11 (S. Mayordomo).
Brambling: One at Raña de Alía (CC), 3 on04/11 and 4 on 07/11 (N. Baeza, J. Á. Herrera and J. Cerezo). One at Pago de San Clemente (CC) on 07/11 (M. Kelsey). A group of 400 at Galisteo (CC) on 17/11 (R. Montero). One at the río Jerte, Plasencia (CC), on 22/11 (J. Sánchez). One at Jarandilla de la Vera (CC) on 25/11 (Joaquín García).
Bullfinch: 7 eeating the fruit of a strawberry tree at Puebla de Obando (BA) on 01/11 (P. Herrador and J. L. Bautista). 5 individuals, 2 males and 3 females, at Riomalo de Arriba (CC) on 08/11 (A. Pacheco). Present in Villanueva de la Vera (CC) on 16/11 and 19/11 (D. Langlois). A male at Las Corchuelas, Monfragüe (CC), on 28/11 (S. Mayordomo). At the  río Guadajira, La Lapa (BA), a pair on 28/11 and 29/11 (F. Montaño). 3 at el huerto del Ojaranzo, Monfragüe (CC), on 30/11 (M. García del Rey, C. Clemente and Carlos Dávila).
Common Crossbill: One in flight at Monfragüe (CC) on 18/11 (Cris Mills). A male in flight in pines at Cañaveral (CC) on 22/11 (S. Mayordomo).

First winter visitor sightings

Redwing: 5 at Villanueva de la Vera (CC) on 20/11 (D. Langlois). One at the río Jerte en Plasencia (CC) on  22/11 (J. Sánchez).
Alpine Accentor: On  22/11 30-40 individuals were seen at the sierra del Ladrillar (CC) (A. Pacheco) and 4 at the sierra del Castellar, Zafra (BA) (F. Montaño and A. Núñez -fotografía-).





Late summer migrant sightings

Short-toed Eagle: One at Santa Marta de Magasca (CC) on 05/11 (M. Kelsey).
Alpine Swift: In Mérida (BA) s40-50 individuals were seen on 04/11 (Á. Sánchez) and several were heard on 11/11 (S. Pérez Gil). 400 were at the presa de Alange (BA) on 04/11 (E. del Viejo, A. Cangas, Thor and Per).


Willow Warbler: One at Plasencia (CC) on 22/11 (J. Sánchez Cidoncha).
Spotted Flycatcher: One at Casas de Belvís (CC) on 10/11 (J. Briz).
Pied Flycatcher: One at Mohedas de Granadilla (CC) on 10/11 (Fernando Ruedas). One caught and ringed at the río Gargáligas, Rena (BA), on 18/11 (GIA Extremadura).
Whinchat: One at Los Cerralbos, Trujillo (CC), on 18/11 (M. Kelsey).
Northern Wheatear: One at El Gordo (CC) on 02/11 (V. Risco and J. Briz). One at La Pulgosa, Cáceres, on 09/11 (M. Kelsey).
Woodchat Shrike: One at the embalse del Salor, Cáceres, on 25/11 (Antonio Ceballos -photo-).

Sunday, 2 December 2012

HEN HARRIER: A BREEDING PAIR IN LA SERENA IN 2012


Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Male. By Steve Fletcher.

Winter is here and Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus) become a common sight in the open landscapes of Extremadura. However, breeding is a story. In 2012 at least one case has been detected. Manolo Gómez Calzado reported in his blog "Grullas veo" a couple breeding in Esparragosa de Lares (Badajoz), with a nest on a field of three hectares of cultivated oats shared with respective pairs of Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus) and Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus). At harvest time, on June 19, two young Hen harriers fledged perfectly, with no need for intervention to save them. They were still present on this territory until the end of June.


Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Female. By Steve Fletcher. 

It is the first case we know of breeding in Extremadura since 2004, no less, when three couples were located in La Serena. According to the review by Traverso (2007), the species shows a clear downward trend since the first data from 1993 (7-10 pairs) and 1995 (five couples). Then there was an information gap until 2000, with subsequent breeding records only in 2003, 2004 and 2012. The area of occupancy has also been reduced from four counties in 1993 to a municipality and then only sporadically since 2004. Despite intensive campaigns to rescue harrier chicks, carried out in the last decade, no more records chave shown us reproduction. None was found nesting in the field during Atlas of the breeding birds of Spain (1998-2002) and in the national census of harriers in 2006.


After articles such as this above, people often forward us new unpublished data. So if any readers know of any nesting, successful or not, hen harrier in Extremadura, your comments and e-mails will be very much appreciate.

Sources
- Traverso, J. M. 2007. Situación del aguilucho pálido (Circus cyaneus) en Extremadura. En, Prieta, J. Aves de Extremadura. Vol. 3. 2001-2003. ADENEX. Mérida. [descargar]
- Prieta, J. y Mayordomo. 2011. Aves de Extremadura. Vol. 4. 2004-2008. SEO-Cáceres. Plasencia. [descargar]

Monday, 26 November 2012

HERONS IN SPAIN AND EXTREMADURA. SURVEYS 2011.

SEO/BirdLife has published a monograph of the census results of breeding and wintering herons carried out in Spain in 2011 (Garrido et al. 2012). Although Extremadura is not renowned for its wetlands, rather the opposite, it ranks second after Andalusia, in terms of importance for wintering birds (32 900, 14% of Spain) and third in terms of breeding pairs (9,900 pairs, 15% of Spain, in 84 locations).

As a family, the herons are increasing and most of the studied species show increases in Spain. The night heron (Nycticorax Nycticorax) has risen from 1,300 in 1986 to 5,400 pairs in 2011. The squacco heron (Ardeolla ralloides) from 200 in 1980 to 2100 pairs in 2011. Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) from 168 in 1950 to 7,000 pairs in 2011. The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) from 2,000 in 1997-2003 to 5,400 pairs in 2011. The bittern (Botaurus stellaris) from 26 pairs in 1980 to 41 in 2011. And the great white egret (Egretta alba), which began breeding in 1997 in the Ebro Delta has gone to 53 pairs in 2011. By contrast decreases were detected in the little egret (Egretta garzetta), with a small drop in the last ten years, resulting in 2011 (9350 pairs) against 1990 figures (7,600 pairs) but lower than 2002 (10,400). The most abundant species is the only one who has suffered a significant decrease. We talked about the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), down from 70,000 pairs in 1989 to 40,000 in 2011. This is a species that has incresed during the twentieth century and whose population can fluctuate greatly depending on local conditions. Experts say that some species show strong expansions, then suffer a decline after which the population is consolidated and stabilized.

 
 
 

Garrido, J. R., Molina, B. y del Moral, J. C. (Eds). 2012. Las garzas en España. Población reproductora e invernante en 2010-2011 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

CHONI, BLACK STORK

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Choni on nest "original" in 2011, last season it was observed, with an age of 21 years. Eva Palacios.

Humans name each new family member as it enters the world, but the animals that we see in our travels are all anonymous. Or almost all. Some have brand new names thanks to man marking them. Among the birds of Extremadura has been such a particular individual: Choni, a Black Stork. The legend was born of "The Choni".

Choni had the great idea of starting her home in a highly visible place in the much visited Monfragüe National Park, becoming perhaps the most famous Black Stork in the world. And all because on one of her red legs is a white plastic ring with the letters C/HN. It is now easy to see how she got her name. This author came to Extremadura in 1995, when Choni started her nest. So for over 18 years we were almost neighbors ... with me waiting for her timely return each spring. In 2012 she did not return. After a year's absence, it seems highly justified for me to write this small tribute.

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Choni was born in Oliva de Plasencia. Photo by J. A. Roman in 1988. There are no photos of 1990 when Choni was ringed.

Choni was born in a nest in an old corn oak in Oliva de Plasencia (Cáceres), in the spring of 1990. A productive and accessible nest where several chicks had been ringed in previous years, probably Choni's siblings. On 11 June 1990, Jose Antonio Román and Juan José Ferrero, ringers from Elanus de Adenex group, ringed the three chicks in the nest. Of the three siblings, C/HL was seen on 13 and 25 September 1991 in the Emblase de Valuengo, Badajoz, but there have been no further sightings. Worse fate befell C/HP, found dead, 2,900 km away, in Africa three years later, on June 14, 1993 in Macina, Mali.

In her fifth year, Choni, now an adult female took possession of one of the classic nests in Monfragüe, close to the famous Portilla del Tiétar and only 35 km from her birthplace. A territory held from 1994 to 2011 for 18 straight seasons where year after year she successfully raised between one to four chicks each year. We have data for 18 seasons, when she fledged a total of 46 young , ie an average of 2.55 per year. At least three different males have shared her nest. One of them, ringed as 1/9V, was her partner four years, between 1999 and 2002. This male, also born in the north of Cáceres, was ringed by Elanus de Adenex on June 19, 1992.


Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Choni, aged 21, with her partner. Year 2011. Javier Prieta.
Black Stork. Male W[1/9V]. Partner of Choni between 1999 and 2002. By Enrique F. Larreta.

Thousands of people have enjoyed seeing Choni on her nest, resting, flying, incubating or feeding her chicks, and sometimes seeing surprising behavior, such as two cases of infanticide, and the presence of other ringed birds in or near the nest: a juvenile from Luxembourg on September 18, 2004 (O [CT05]), a bird born in 2005 Lanzahíta, Avila was seen on 18 and 23 March 2008 (W [68C4]), and one born in Valdemaque, Madrid in 2005, was observed on June 12, 2010 (W [W10V]).

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Choni with her partner and three chicks. Year 2003. Javier Prieta.

Perhaps most interesting was documented conflicts with her neighbours. With the increase in population of vultures, it has become commonplace in Monfragüe for them to usurp nests of other species, especially black storks, but also nests of Egyptian Vultures, Bonelli's and Spanish Imperial Eagles that are found in trees. Choni began to suffer with nest occupatons by vultures in 1999. When she returned she found a vulture incubating in her nest, however, with human assistance, it was recovered and she fledged 4 chicks. In 2002 she had worse luck and this time the vultures won, leaving no other choice for Choni but to build a new nest a few meters away. Thereafter annual occupations were, even in two nests at once, although interventions by park staff eased the situation. Since 2002, Choni used the original nest five times and the new one six times. On two occasions, the first nest was used by a pair of egyptian vultures, and in 2010 there were two pairs of black storks in the nests, but the other pair did not lay eggs.

Choni nesting place between 1994 and 2011. Picture taken in 2010. With yellow circle the traditional nest, known for decades and occupied this time by another pair of black storks. With blue circle the nest "alternative" built in 2002 and occupied by Choni and her chicks. With red circle where there was a egyptian vulture nest. Above and to the right of the rock usually breed griffon vultures.

Sadly, in 2012 Choni did not return home. A sighting was reported in Monfragüe, but with no confirmation. The nest was used but both birds were unringed. Although there is no evidence that Choni has died, 21 years of life would make her the oldest known Spanish Black Stork.... and also the most famous.

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Choni with her three chicks. Year 2006. Javier Prieta.

This text is dedicated to GOCE, source of most of the information and experiences collected; Santi Cano for his infectious teaching and especially his passion for "Black Ladies" and José Antonio Román, Víctor Pizarro and Juan José Ferrero (Adenex ringing group), who between 1980 and 1995 ringed no less than 555 black storks in Extremadura. A task which unfortunately has not been continued, but which has helped to understand the species in Extremadura. J. A. Roman has provided data and photographs. 

Sources: 
- Ferrero, J. J. and Pizarro, V. M. 2003. The Black Stork in Extremadura. Cuadernos Poplulares No. 61. Consejería de Cultura. Junta de Extremadura. Merida.

Friday, 16 November 2012

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER: FIRST FOR EXTREMADURA

Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) photographed by Steve Fletcher.

At last ... after several questionable records, we have the first sighting of a Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) in Extremadura, although this will have to be accepted by the Spanish Rarities Committee. It was found near Madroñera (Cáceres), on November 12, 2012 by Colin Jewitt and Juan Carlos Molina. Accompanied by Steve Fletcher they returned the next day, but were unable to relocate the bird.

This tiny warbler, which somewhat resembles a Firecrest, is the commonest Siberian passerine seen in Western Europe. Its breeding range spans the Russian taiga and winters in southern Asia. But migration between the two is not always straightforward and a part of the population moves west  during autumn. So hundreds of Yellow-browed Warblers, possibly juveniles are mostly seen in northwest Europe (UK, Netherlands, Northern France ...) during the months of September and October. They then head east to Asia by the same way they arrived. But not all. Some will drop southward reaching the Iberian Peninsula. So, in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands 77 records have been approved up until 2009. The dates are somewhat later than in the north and occur mostly in October and November, especially in the Mediterranean coastal provinces and Andalusia, being rarer in the north and almost nonexistent in the interior. It seems that these birds, or at least some,  winter further south, at some unknown location in Africa. This pattern suggests the presence in the Canary Islands (with 17 confirmed records until 2009),  there are fully documented winter examples in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura of birds staying for months (for example, from October to December to March or April). On the mainland Spain there are also some spring records, perhaps wintering birds returning to Russia, these sighting dates being rare in more northerly countries.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

ALIEN QUAILS: CHINESE AND JAPANESE

Chinese Quail (Coturnix chinensus). Male and female. Taken from Avikultura. 

The Chinese quail (Coturnix chinensis) is a common galliforme in South Asia, Sunda Islands, and Australia. Their easy breeding and obvious attraction makes them relatively common as an ornamental bird. A male of this species has was found ran over on July 12, 2012 on the A-5, near the Parque Natural de Cornalvo (Badajoz). Jesus Manuel Crespo, sent some photos to the Rarities Committee SEO/BirdLife. As is not an uncommon bird and did not arrive here by natural means, the description was sent to the Exotic Bird Group (GAE), which then came to our notice. It is probably an escapee, although the date it was found could mean it was released for hunting.

 Chinese Quail (Coturnix chinensus). Male hit in Cornalvo, Badajoz (Jesus Maria Crespo) 

Unfortunately, this observation shows the risks arising from the introduction of exotic species. One of the biggest causes of extinction in recent times. Perhaps the Chinese quail is not among the most dangerous compared with the the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Another species of eastern Asia itself much like our Common quail (Coturnix coturnix) and long considered a mere subspecies of this. Indeed, easily hybridized in captivity, it is then difficult to identify resulting hybrids (the song is slightly different) and genetic testing must be resorted to. Quail hunting is common in Extremadura, but the extent of the introduction of the Japanese quail and their hybrids is totally unknown . However, studies by Manuel Puigcerver's team between 1999 and 2005 detected that 4.4% of quails analyzed in Catalonia were hybrids (but if specimens are considered doubtful, the percentage then rises to 15%).

 Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Taken from here.

The release of Japanese quail for hunting is a recent practice, as studies started in 1983 did not detect hybrids until 1990. Currently all quail farms breed the Japanese quail (there are no Common Quail breeding farms), which are the then released as either pure or hybrids. At some well quoted sites in France, 75% of the quail hunted are Japanese quail. Numbers released in Catalonia are also increasing and official figures quote 2,430 Japanese quail released in 1991 and 153,600 in 2003, 60 times more, in 17 years releases total more than one million. For comparison, the wild Common Quail breeding population in Extremadura is estimated at only 15,600 birds (Carrascal and Palomino, 2008), although in summer many migratory birds arrive from other locations.

In Extremadura is certain releasing takes place from quail farms, but the presence of Japanese quail has not been confirmed and is not on any list. Elswhere it is not know what proportion are natural hybrids, if any. Despite the massive release performed in Spain, France and Italy, it seems that most Japanese quail die, or are hunted, shortly after their release. No study has been carried out to ascertain the proportion of hybrids. It is standard practice to release them in the midseason at the end of the summer and as poultry have lost their migratory instinct, they do not usually survive the winter. But, is has also been found that more Iberian quail are over-wintering and have less tendency to migrate. Maybe hybrids are responsible ... but this has yet to be proved.

Sources: 
- Puigcerver, M., Vinyoles, D.& Rodriguez-Teijeiro, J. D. 2007. Restocking with Japanese quail Do hybrids affect the native population of common quail coturnix Cotunix? Biological Conservation 136:628-635. 
- Rodriguez-Teijeiro, J. D. & Puigcerver, M. 2006. Study of the degree of hybridization between Common Quail and Japanese quail in Catalonia. Report. Universitat de Barcelona and Generalitat de Catalunya. 
- Carrascal, L. M. & Palomino, D. 2008. Common birds breeding in Spain. Population in 2004-2006. SEO / BirdLife. Madrid

FESTIVAL OF THE CRANES IN EXTREMADURA 2012

The IV Festival of the Cranes will be held this year on Saturday December 1, again at Moheda Alta,Navalvillar de Pela, Badajoz. You can enjoy a day observing nature, with your family or friends, watching the cranes that come from northern Europe and remain here until spring. The final program has no been published yet, but will consist of guided ornithological walks, presentations, folklore and popular food tasting.. For interested parties there are free buses from Cáceres, Badajoz and Meridal to Moheda Alta, returning in the evening.

On Sunday December 2 ADENEX also has, in the same place, the 21st edition of the "Day of the Cranes in Extremadura", starting at 16 h.

More information can be found on the Birding in Extremadura website where the program of activities is published.

Friday, 9 November 2012

OCTOBER 2012: NOTABLE SIGHTINGS IN EXTREMADURA

Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata). Sierra de San Pedro. By Pedro Schreur.

List of the most interesting records sent to the GOCE forum during October 2012. Compiled by Sergio Mayordomo.

- Egyptian Goose. Present for the whole of October at the embalse del Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), were between 8 and 11 individuals (William Haworth, Sergio Mayordomo, Manuel García del Rey, Javier Mahillo, Emilio Peña, Eva Palacios and César Clemente).
- Shelduck: The same individual seen throughout September was at the charca de Morantes (BA) (Pablo Herrador) on 19/10 .
- Red Crested Pochard: At El Manantío-Atalaya, Aldea del Cano (CC), various examples were seen on 06/10 (Liz Snell) and 2 males on14/10 (Jesús Solana). At the embalse del Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), one male was seen on 18/10 and 19/10 (E. Peña). At Los Canchales (BA) 2 males on 20/10 and 27/10 (Elvira del Viejo and Antonia Cangas). One male at the charca de La Isla, Logrosán (CC), on 28/10 (S. Mayordomo and J. Mahillo).
- Ferruginous Duck: At El Manantío-Atalaya, Aldea del Cano (CC), 4 individuals were seen on 06/10 (L. Snell), one on 14/10 (J. Solana) and 6 on 25/10 (Manolo Iglesias). One male was at Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), on 28/10 (S. Mayordomo, M. García del Rey, J. Mahillo, E. Palacios and C. Clemente).
- Common Quail: 4 at Alange (BA) on 20/10 (Vanessa de Alba, Francisco Montaño and Antonio Núñez).
- Black-necked Grebe: At the embalse de Orellana (BA) 20 individuals on 04/10 (Ángel Luis Sánchez) and 30 on 17/10 (Francisco Rodríguez and Á. L. Sánchez).

- Common Flamingo: Thirteen at los arrozales de Gargáligas, Don Benito (BA), on 14/10 (V. de Alba, Manuel J. Salguero -photo- and A. Núñez).
- Glossy Ibis. One at the rice fields between Palazuelo and Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 11/10 (Juan Pablo Prieto). At the embalse de Arrocampo (CC), one on 12/10 (Marc Gálvez and José Guerra) and 14/10 (S. Mayordomo, Samuel Langlois, M. García del Rey and Dave Langlois).
- Bittern. One at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 11/10 (Rafael Vicente).
- Squacco Heron: On the Guadiana river at badajoz several individuals on 06/10 (SEO-Badajoz) and 2 on 20/10 (M. Gálvez, Juan Carlos Paniagua and J. Guerra). One at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 13/10 (Mercedes Rodríguez and Juan Carlos Salgado).
- Great White Egret: 26 in a mixed roost with Cattle Egrets at embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 14/10 (S. Mayordomo, S. Langlois, M. García del Rey and D. Langlois).
- Reef Egret/Little Egret hybrid: One at embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 18/10 (José Manuel Castrillo and Fernando García Crego).

- Cormorant: A leucistic individual at gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), on 29/10 (Javier Prieta -photo-).
- Osprey: One at the embalse del Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), one on 13/10 yand 2 on 19/10 (E. Peña) and 23/10 (W. Haworth). One at el Azud del Guadiana, Badajoz, on 14/10 (Atanasio Fernández).
- Ruppell's Vulture: An immature at Mojón Gordo, Aldea del Cano (CC), on 12/10 (S. Molano). Goshawk: At Alía (CC), One on 07/10 (Noelia Baeza and Jorge Ángel Herrera) and another in a Chestnut on 31/10 (N. Baeza, J. Á. Herrera and Jaime Cerezo). One at the canal de Las Dehesas (BA) on 09/10 (Á. L. Sánchez).
- Avocet: One at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA), one on 20/10 (J. Solana, Francisco Lopo, Francisco Castro, Marisa y Manolo) and 30/10 (J. Vázquez, J. Solana, F. Montaño and A. Núñez). One at theel embalse de Casas de Don Antonio (CC) on 23/10 (M. Iglesias).
- Grey Plover: One at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 27/10 (E. del Viejo and A. Cangas) and 30/10 (J. Vázquez, J. Solana, F. Montaño and A. Núñez).
- Kentish Plover: One at the rice fields near Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 04/10 (J. P. Prieto).
- Spotted Redshank: In the rice fields between Palazuelo and Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) 12 individuals on 04/10 and 5 on 11/10 (J. P. Prieto). One at the laguna de Los Gañanés, Guijo de Coria (CC), on 12/10 (S. Mayordomo). 142 in the rice fields at Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 27/10 (F. Montaño and A. Núñez). 
- Turnstone: One in the rice fields at Palazuelo (BA) on 27/10 (J. P. Prieto and Antonio Mendoza).
- Wood Sandpiper: One at the laguna de Galisteo (CC) between 01/10 and 23/10 (S. Mayordomo y J. Prieta). In the rice fields between Palazuelo and Puebla de Alcollarín (BA), 2 on 04/10 and 5 on 11/10 (J. P. Prieto).
- Sanderling: One at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 30/10 (J. Vázquez, J. Solana, F. Montaño and A. Núñez).
- Curlew Sandpiper: A juvenile at the embalse de Portaje (CC) on 02/10 and another 2 at the embalse del Borbollón (CC) on 12/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Yellow-legged Gull: One at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 11/10 (R. Vicente). One at the weir in Mérida (BA) on 18/10 (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra). 2 at the embalse de Valdecañas (CC) on 21/10 (Vicente Risco and Javier Briz).
- Black Tern: Three individuals at the embalse de Portaje (CC) on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Short-eared Owl: One at the embalse de Talaván (CC) on 19/10 (Mathieu Bourgeois). One being harrassed by magpies st the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 27/10 (E. del Viejo and A. Cangas).
- Monk Parakeet: A probable escapee at Villanueva de la Serena (BA) on 08/10, 09/10 and 10/10 (Justo M. García).
- Green Woodpecker : Six individuals near the dolmen de Lácara, La Nava de Santiago (BA), on 21/10 (P. Herrador).
- Wryneck: At the riverwalk by the río Jerte in Plasencia (CC), 2 on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo) and one on 10/10 (J. Prieta), 11/10 (S. Mayordomo) and 31/10 (Ricardo Montero). One at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 21/10 (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra). One at the río Guadiana in Badajoz on 28/10 (Emilio Costillo).
- Bearded Tit: Four at thel embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 21/10 (M. Gálvez on J. Guerra).
- Grasshopper Warbler: One at the river walk by the río Jerte in Plasencia (CC) on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Fieldfare: One in Monfragüe (CC) on 09/10 (Óscar Díaz and Jose María Jiménez).
- Rock Thrush: A juvenile male caught and ringed at sierra de Magacela (BA) on 02/10 (GIA-Extremadura).
- Tree Pipit: One at the embalse del Jerte, Casas del Castañar (CC), on 01/10 (J. Prieta).
- Yellow-crowned Bishop: One at the rice fields at Guadiana del Caudillo (BA) on 19/10 (P. Herrador).
- Pied Wagtail: At least 3 at the gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), on 27/10 (S. Mayordomo).

First post breeding sightings 
- Greylag Goose: On 23/10, one at the embalse de Portaje (CC) (S. Mayordomo), 7 at Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), and about 50 at the embalse de Sierra Brava, Zorita (CC) (M. Kelsey). El 24/10 a large passage group was seen near Trujillo (CC) (Jesús Porras) and a group of 12 flying over the city of Badajoz (F. Lopo).
- Merlin: One at La Haba (BA) on 13/10 (Francisco J. Morcillo). One at Galisteo (CC) on 16/10 (S. Mayordomo). One at Los Cerralbos, Trujillo (CC), on 19/10 (Martin Kelsey).
- Common Crane: On 15/10 one was seen at Los Canchales (BA) (J. Solana) and 4 at Vegas Altas (M. Gómez Calzado). Two at the embalse del Borbollón (CC) on 17/10 (Goyo Naharro and Domingo J. Cordobilla). On 31/10 18.065 were counted at la Zona Centro (CC-BA) (Manuel Gómez Calzado and José Antonio Román).
- Golden Plover: Three at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 20/10 (J. Solana, F. Lopo, F. Castro, Marisa and Manolo) and 27/10 (E. del Viejo and A. Cangas).
- Stock Dove: Three seen drinking at the embalse del Sotillo, Monroy (CC), on 06/10 (S. Mayordomo and M. García del Rey). One at the gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), on 13/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Goldcrest: In pines at Piornal (CC) more than 2 were seen 2 on 26/10 (J. Prieta) and the same on 27/10 (Miguel Ángel Muñoz and E. Palacios).
- Common Starling: Two at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 11/10 (R. Vicente). More than one in the park at the Isla en Plasencia (CC) on 22/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Song Thrush: One at the río Jerte in Plasencia (CC) on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo). On 13/10 more than 10 were seen at Casas del Castañar (CC) (J. F. Sánchez) and one at Valcorchero, Plasencia (CC) (S. Mayordomo).
- Water Pipit: One at the embalse del Jerte, casas del Castañar (CC), on 10/10 (J. Prieta). Five at the laguna de Galisteo (CC) on 16/10 (S. Mayordomo) and 35 on 29/10 (J. Prieta). Seen at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 20/10 (E. del Viejo and A. Cangas).
- Bullfinch: Several at La Codosera (BA) on 25/10 (Godfried Schreur). On 27/10, one at Santa Cruz de Paniagua (CC) (J. C. Paniagua) and another at puente del Cardenal, Monfragüe (CC), (J. Porras). A large passage of more than 60 at the Sierra de San Pedro (BA) on 28/10 (J. Gordillo). One at el Huerto del Ojaranzo, Monfragüe (CC), on 31/10 (S. Mayordomo, Ó. Díaz and Luis Lozano).
- Reed Bunting: Two in the rice fields at El Batán (CC) on 28/10 (M. Á. Muñoz and Carlos Martín).

Last summer sightings 
- Purple heron: A juvenile in the rice fields at Galisteo (CC) on 07/10 (J. Prieta) and an adult at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 14/10 (S. Mayordomo, S. Langlois, M. García del Rey and D. Langlois).
- Black Stork: In Monfragüe (CC), one on 05/10 (Alberto Rubio) and 07/10 (Anónimo). Six at the embalse del Cubilar, Logrosán (CC), on 12/10 (E. Peña). A juvenile at the embalse de Arroyoconejos, Llerena (BA), on 13/10 (Joaquín Vázquez, José Antonio Delgado, F. Montaño and A. Núñez). An adult at the río Alcarrache, Barcarrota (BA), on 19/10 (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra). Two at the canal de Las Dehesas (BA) on 22/10 (E. Peña). On 27/10 2 individuals were seen at the embalse de Jarilla (CC) (S. Mayordomo, Rosa Cano and Luismi), one at the laguna de Galisteo (R. Cano y Luismi) and another at the charca de Fresnedillas, Oliva de Plasencia (CC) (Justiniano Julián).
- Short-toed Eagle: One in Monfragüe (CC) on 05/10 (A. Rubio).
- Black Kite: One at Mojón Gordo, Aldea del Cano (CC), on 12/10 (Sebastián Molano). One at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA), on 20/10 (José Luis Bautista). One at La Nava de Santiago (BA) on 23/10 (Ángel Sánchez).
- Egyptian Vulture: One at Cañaveral (CC) on 05/10 (Carlos Dávila).
- Booted Eagle: One at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) on 11/10 (R. Vicente). One at Quintana de la Serena (BA) on 15/10 (Agustín Sanabria). One pale morph at Montehermoso (CC) on 20/10. One at El Batán (CC) on 23/10 (R. Montero).

- Hobby: Two juveniles at Villanueva de la Vera on 07/10 (Pedro Gómez). One juvenile and an adult at the puerto de Esperabán, Pinofranqueado (CC), on 08/10 (Alberto Pacheco). One juvenile at the embalse de Orellana (BA) on 17/10 (F. Rodríguez and Á. L. Sánchez)
- Pallid Swift: In Alange (BA) 8 individuals were seen on 10/10 (J. Solana), one on 17/10 (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra), 8 on 24/10 and 4 on31/10 (J. Solana).
- Red-necked Nightjar: One hit by a car at Serrejón (CC) on 13/10 (Pedro Holgado).
- House Martin: On 21/10 20-25 individuals were seen at Santa Amalia (BA) (Fernando Yuste) and 10-12 individuals at Las Mestas (CC) (Francis Martín). Three with Crag Martins at Plasencia (CC) on 22/10 (S. Mayordomo). Three at Alange (BA) on 31/10 (J. Solana).
- Barn Swallow: On 13/10 2 were seen at the gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), (S. Mayordomo) and were present at Hornachos (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra).
- Red-rumped Swallow: One at Santa Amalia (BA) on 21/10 (F. Yuste). On 23/10 one was seen at Pago de San Clemente (CC) and 2 at the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo (CC) (M. Kelsey).
- Willow Warbler: On 13/10 one was seen at the gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), (S. Mayordomo) and another at the embalse de Arrocampo (CC) (M. Rodríguez and J. C. Salgado). One at Valcorchero, Plasencia (CC), on 26/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Garden Warbler: One at the río Jerte in Plasencia (CC) on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo). 4 at the río Guadalupejo, Alía (CC), on 06/10 (N. Baeza and J. Á. Herrera). One at Galisteo (CC) on 08/10 (S. Mayordomo). An individual at the río Matachel, Alange (BA), on 15/10 (M. Gálvez and J. Guerra).
- Whitethroat: On 01/10, one at the embalse del Jerte, Casas del Castañar (CC), (J. Prieta) and another at Galisteo (CC) (S. Mayordomo). One at the río Jerte in Plasencia (CC) on 02/10 (S. Mayordomo). One at Belén, Trujillo (CC), on 19/10 (M. Kelsey). On 20/10, one at the río Matachel, Alange (CC), (V. de Alba, F. Montaño and A. Núñez) yand another at the río Guadiana in Badajoz (J. C. Paniagua).
- Reed Warbler: Two individuals at the laguna de Galisteo (CC) on 08/10 and 3 at the gravera Valdefuentes, Galisteo (CC), on 13/10 (S. Mayordomo). Subalpine Warbler: One at Galisteo (CC) on 01/10 (S. Mayordomo).
- Spotted Flycatcher: One at the río Matachel, Alange (BA), on 20/10 (V. de Alba, F. Montaño and A. Núñez).
- Pied Flycatcher: IN Plasencia (CC), one was at the río Jerte on 22/10 and another at Valcorchero on 23/10 (S. Mayordomo). One indivdual at the embalse de la Garza, Oliva de Mérida (BA), on 28/10 (Fergus Crystal and E. del Viejo).

- Common Redstart: A pair at the embalse del Jerte, Plasencia (CC), on 06/10 (Montaña Domínguez). One at, Alía (CC), on 07/10 (N. Baeza and J. Á. Herrera). A female at Valcorchero, Plasencia (CC), on 13/10 (S. Mayordomo). A male in the valle del Jerte (CC) on 23/10 (José Luis Rivero -photo-). One at the embalse de la Garza, Oliva de Mérida (BA), on 28/10 (F. Crystal and E. del Viejo).
- Whinchat: One in the rice fields between Palazuelo and Puebla de Alcollarín (BA) on 11/10 (J. P. Prieto). One at Belén, Trujillo (CC), on 19/10 (M. Kelsey). One at Moheda Alta, Navalvillar de Pela (BA), on 27/10 (F. Montaño and A. Núñez).
- Yellow Wagtail: Uone at the embalse de Los Canchales (BA) on 20/10 (E. del Viejo and A. Cangas). A male at the laguna de Galisteo (CC) on 23/10 (S. Mayordomo). One at Vegas Altas on 27/10 (F. Montaño and A. Núñez).

Monday, 5 November 2012

THIRD PINK-FOOTED GOOSE RECORD IN EXTREMADURA

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) Embalse de Valdecañas, Cáceres. 
November 2, 2012. By Javier Briz 

A Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) was located within a group of greylag geese (Anser anser), by Vicente Risco and Javier Briz at Embalse de Valdecañas (Cáceres) on November 2, 2012. The next day it was observed in the same place, both in the morning (Ricardo Montero) and afternoon (Eva Palacios and Sergio Mayordomo).

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus). Embalse de Valdecañas, Caceres. 
November 3, 2012. By Eva Palacios. 

This is the third record of this species of goose in Extremadura. The previous two, also found with a group of greylag geese took place in Vegas Altas del Guadiana: the first was at embalse de Sierra Brava (Cáceres) on 1/12/2002 (John Muddeman: accepted) and very close to the second last sighting, in the rice fields of Casas de Hitos (Navalvillar de Pela, Badajoz) on 27/11/2010 (José María Salazar and others; pending acceptance).

It is also the third sighting in Spain so far this autumn 2012 (there was one in Orense in September and another in Villafáfila, Zamora, October). Until 2009 in Spain there has been 46 records of 72 individuals. Similar to other rare geese, they are usually seen in traditional areas of wintering greylag goose (Doñana, Villafáfila, La Nava, Vegas Altas), in Galicia and the Cantabrian coast. This species has a small breeding area, with two sub-populations, one in Iceland and Greenland that winters in Britain and another smaller group breeding in Spitsbergen that winters bordering the North See (Denmark, Germany and Holland).

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

HAVE OSPREYS EVER NESTED IN EXTREMADURA?


Have Ospreys ever nested in Extremadura ? Well recently, no, and in a the not too distant past, it seems not, although there are some references that suggest a possibility. Two references were found by Javier Ortega. The first, although very doubtful, was in 1977, supplied by the Terrasse brothers in an article on the distribution of Ospreys in the Western Mediterranean. In a paragraph on reproduction in mainland Spain it indicated no certain proof, but to quote Jesus Garzon, it said that Ospreys nested in the province of Cadiz, and Garzón himself saw a stuffed Osprey, which the hunter claimed to have killed close to the nest, which was located in a tree on a river in Extremadura (Terrase and Terrase, 1977). The second, and a less doubtful report, comes from Willy Suetens, an Extremadura loving Belgian naturalist and a founder of ADENEX. In his book on European raptors, he notes that in 1987 there was courting behaviour in Extremadura: with a pair in a nest containing two chicks near a reservoir in the western region. He also claims that the nest was not occupied in 1988. 25 years have passed since then so it is difficult to confirm.

Sources: 
- Terrasse, Jean-Francois & Terrasse, Michel. 1977. Le Balbuzard pecheur Pandion haliaetus (L.) en Méditerraneé occidental. Distribution, essai de recensement, reproduction, avenir. Nos Oiseaux, 34:111-127. 
- Suetens, Willy. 1989. Les rapaces d’Europe. Pág. 195. Editions du Perron.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A RÜPPELL'S VULTURE IN LLANOS DE CÁCERES


An immature specimen Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) was photographed on 12 October 2012 at Aldea del Cano (Cáceres) by Sebastián Molano. This is the sixth sighting in Extremadura of this African vulture species, considered rarity in Spain, which was also reported in this blog. It is also the fifth consecutive year since 2008, of sightings in the region. Altogether, there are five accepted records in Extremadura (May-June 1992, May 2000, June 2004, May 2008, January 2009 -a possible hybrid-) and four possibles (June 2010, June and August 2011 and October 2012). Considering the difficulty in identifying the species, especially immatures, the abundance of vultures and the lack of areas visited by birders, it is likely that the presence of this species of vulture spotted in Extremadura is regular but scarce.


From these nine observations, it shows a predominance of sightings in May and June. In terms of age of the nine birds observed, five were immature and four adults or subadults. This high proportion of mature birds digresses from of the pattern observed in Tarifa (Cádiz), area with the majority of sightings in Spain, is clearly dominated by inmature birds (Javier Elorriaga, in litt.). It's really suggestive of the possibility of Rüppell's vultures breeding in Extremadura. However, with such a small sample it is impossible to obtain any conclusion.