Sunday 30 December 2012


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.