Tuesday 31 December 2013


After a very poor autumn for rarities in Extremadura, especially compared with the outstanding year of 2012, when between September and December several species of rare geese were found, a White-tailed Eagle, a Pallid Harrier, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Ruppell`s Vulture and two Buff-breasted Sandpipers. During the same period in 2013 we have not had much to showuntil the 30th December 2013, when Fergus Crystal found a Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) in the rice fields close to the village of Puebla de Alcollarín (Villar de Rena, Badajoz). In the same day José Guerra, Marc Gálvez (photos, see link) and José Gómez Aparicio were able to watch it as well and suggested it was an adult; after that the bird flew off and was not relocated.

[NOTE: the bird was found again on 7th January 2014 by Martin Kelsey on another rice field at the same area, Puebla de Alcollarín. On 8th January it was seen by Alberto Gil at the same site. On 11th January seen again by Pablo Prieto, Francisco Montaño, Sergio Mayordomo, César Clemente, Javier Prieta, Eva Palacios, M. Gálvez, J. Guerra, Antonio Calvo, Pepe Guisado, Pilar Goñi y Neil Renwick. On 10th February is seen again in the same place by Martin Kelsey]

This is the second record of this species in Extremadura. The first took place 14 years ago: a probable adult seen by Agustín Mogena on 8th August 1999 at Valdesalor reservoir (Cáceres).

The Lesser Yellowlegs is a New World wader that breeds in the Arctic and Winters from the South of North America to Chile and Argentina. In mainland Spain there have been 57 accepted records up until 2011. On one occasion, two birds were together, otherwise all the records are of single birds. Although it has been recorded in every month of the year, the peak is clearly in autumn (September-December), with a second peak in April-May. It has been recorded throughout the peninsular, as well as on the Caneries and Balearics, but mainly in north-west Spain. This is a typical pattern for neartic waders. As far as we know, there were only autumn records in 2013, from August onwards with five records: Valencia, Navarra, La Coruña and two in the Algarve (Reservoir Birds, Rare Birds in Spain).