My view:

This blog has been created to share the beauty of Extremadura, one among the last paradises in western Europe. My pictures and videos are not high quality; they intend to show that with inexpensive means and an aficionado approach one can get hold of amazing experiences in this region, full of bio- and territorial diversity. I hope you enjoy what I love sharing. Unless stated otherwise, all the pictures and videos shown here have been shot by and belong to this blog's author.

domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

Miscellanea - first half of the year

The first part of the year has yielded different species that were, picturewise, difficult for me to get hold of. The last one was this week, coming back from a 2-hour escape to the Salor reservoir. At dusk this juvenile of Red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis, ES chotacabras pardo) was barring the narrow service road that leads from the dam to the N-630 road at Valdesalor. It was difficult to approach but the lights of the car and the young age of the bird I am sure helped.

In a prior week, by Fuente Fría, on a cycling ride at dawn I could shot this video of a pair of Red-rumped swallows (Hirundo daurica, ES golondrina dáurica) gathering mud for nesting:

In Monfragüe, in early spring, I could picture the beauty of the Blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius, ES roquero solitario),

and the surprisingly conspicuous, this time for a change, Eagle owl (Bubo bubo, ES búho real). The picture was taken by the camera I bought in December, the Canon SX50, and people watching the owl, vultures and the Spanish imperial eagle were surprised at the result. If you have been to Monfragüe, you know how far the birds can be up in the cliff of the viewpoint of La Portilla del Tíetar. Well, this is not a closeúp picture of this magnificent bird, yet it is, as always, a free raptor in its natural environment, yet caught without any digiscoping devices, just a bridge camera. Needless to say how happy and proud I was of the picture.

Here is also a picture taken in Monfragüe of the black stork (Ciconia nigra, ES cigüeña negra) in flight over the Mirador de la Tajadilla viewpoint

Below, some Rock doves (Columba livia, ES paloma bravía) are feeding in the urban newly recovered green corridor that runs along the Ribera del Marco, in Caceres town, a constant stream surrounded by vegetation.

The resources, vegetation and water, of the Ribera, gave birth, in prehistoric times, to the first settlements in the area. So, after all, Cáceres is not without its river - small though it may be. According to expert geologists and historians, the stream is extremely resilient. It does not stop flowing even when the rivers Guadiloba – to which the Ribera is a tributary, Almonte and even the mighty Tagus (ES Tajo, into which flows the Almonte) stop flowing after several years of draught that may happen now and again. This can be seen in the Almonte - one of the few if not the only one is Spain without a dam, for the rest are already pooled by dams and those stops in their flowing cannot be ascertained any more.
(Own work based on an image of (Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0)
This resilience and the reason for a settlement that over the millenia has grown into a town even though on a site that is normally considered a dry steppe was possible thanks to an aquifer called El Calerizo, situated in the south of the city, that feeds the stream and gets replenished when the rain returns. It it this aquifer that steadily feeds the stream. The mud of its banks is the one that was being picked up by the Red-swallows above. The Rock doves above were about here and there in short flights by the green path going along the stream up south from the old town and the Fuente Fría site (a five-minute walk from the Plaza de San Mateo, the highest square in the old town of Cáceres, a world heritage site as you may know). If you want to see some pics and videos of what you could watch from this area, clik here on the link to a blog in Spanish about the topic.
There you will have a link to this video of Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthis, ES martin pescador) bathing in the waters of the stream of La Ribera, by Fuente Fría, where it had its breeding hole las Spring:

domingo, 28 de abril de 2013

Spring 2013 in the Plains of Cáceres

The context: wonderful landscape of the plains northwest of Cáceres, near the Santa Marta del Magasca road.

The birds, plenty, among which these, which were nice enough to let me take a picture of them: Booted eagle, Woodchat Shrike, Black vulture, Fan-tailed warbler, Roller, male Wheatear, Great-spotted cuckoo and Corn bunting 

jueves, 28 de marzo de 2013

Spring at Los Barruecos, el Casar pond (N-630) and the Reservoir of Valdesalor

The context, great as usual, but luxuriant in this Spring

Ribbon-tailed or thread lacewing (Nemoptera bipennis, ES Duende)

Little Grebe (Zampullín, Tachybaptus ruficollis) at El Casa

Black-winged stilts (ES Cigüeñuela, Himantopus himantopus) at the Valdesalor Reservoir, near Torreorgaz, Cáceres)

Black cap and the rest, e.g., Great-crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus, ES Somormujo lavanco) at Los Barruecos.

jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Harsh and rainy winter in Extremadura

This winter is being particularly rainy and with some strong winds. This means that together with a hectic time with various endevours, time for birding has been scarce. However, a few mini-trips to Los Barruecos, walks in the parks in Cáceres and a daytrip to the rice fields of Vegas Altas (Zorita and Madrigalejo are no longer suitable for cranes - no wonder with that disgusting shrieking noise of the solar power plants denounced here a few years ago when they were a project) has afforded a few nice pics, which I share, here.

Loads of wintering shoveller (pato cuchara, Anas clypeata) at the Sierra Brava reservoir. Wintering lapwing (avefría, Vanellus vanellus) by the pre-barruecos lagoons.

Resident white stork (cigüeña común, Ciconia ciconia) at the Barruecos.

Wintering female redstart (colirrojo tizón, Phoenicurus ochruros) on the Barrueco de Abajo dam, by the Vostell-Malpartida museum. Hide-and-seek-like shot, really, like the one for the great spotted woodpecker below, but at least in this case light was not fading away into the twilight.

A buzzard (ratonero común, Buteo buteo), perching on a decidous tree with the Sierra Brava as backdrop.

A pair of wintering greylag geese (ánsar común, Anser anser) by a common crane at the ricefields of Vegas Altas.

Rare great white egret (garceta grande, Egretta alba) in non-mating yellow-beak attire at one of the pre-Barruecos lagoon.

Same place for a beautifully proud grey heron (garza real, Ardea cinerea).

A family of common European crane (grulla común, Grus grus) and flocks in flight, and on ground below, wintering, at the rice fields in the Vegas Altas area.

At dusk, elusive but beautiful, a resident great spotted woodpecker (pico picapinos, Picoides major) at the Parque del Príncipe park, in Cáceres. 

Wintering female stonechat (tarabilla común, Saxicola torquata). Valdesalor area.

Two proud male Spanish sparrows (Passer hispaniolensis, gorrión moruno) at the Vegas Altas area.

domingo, 13 de mayo de 2012

It's been a long time now since I last posted any new material here. However, after a long and harsh and indeed dry winter, the driest in 70!! years, this period of mid Spring I have managed to take a few pics and videos that I like especially. The large psammodromus (Psammodromus manuelae, ES lagartija colilarga occidental) was particularly spectacular in its firy attire for mating (11 May 2012)

Large Psammodromus (ES Lagartija colilarga - Psammodromus algirus) Los Barruecos, Malpatida de Cáceres, Cáceres, Spain

Then, another one is this, which I have finally thought I had been able to identify as Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanicus, es lagartija ibérica), but it seems to be the Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis, ES lagartija roquera). If someone can make them out, I would appreciate if they let me know. I particularly like the head pattern, don't you? That pattern and the magical place in the hollowed stone where I shot it, by the carving from the Bronze Age of an idol that gets lit by a beam of sun light only on the equinoxes, added to the haunting atmosphere of the place:

Also from the Los Barruecos area, I can show you a pair of Great-crested Grebes, a black kite, storks flying over the nests on the titan boulders of the Treasure Rocks of the Los Barruecos Natural Monument Reserve, some cattle egrets by a pond near the El Casar village, a spotless starling perching on the weather vane of the Museo Vostell-Malpartida museum, and a small owl perching on the telephone wires on our late road to Malpartida, before our last short leg back to Cáceres.

And now a few from the Cáceres plains, particularly from the local road from Cáceres to Santa Marta de Magasca: Montagu's harrier (ES Aguilucho cenizo, Circus pigargus), Buzzard (ES Ratonero común or Busardo - Buteo buteo), roller (ES Carraca, Coracias garrulus) and Great spotted cuckoo (ES Críalo, Clamator glandarius).