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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Spain 12: An exaltation of Larks

Skylark
After covering so many species on my trip to Spain we finally arrive at the passerines, starting with the larks. This is an almost entirely Old World group, with only a single species, the Shore or Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris found in North America.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Spain 11: Sandgrouse

Black-Bellied Sandgrouse
One of the odder groups of birds to be found across Eurasia and Africa are the dry country birds known as sandgrouse. Despite their name they have no relationship to gamebirds, but are much more closely related to pigeons, and in fact they do look very pigeon-like in flight. Another related group are the Mesites, also terrestrial birds but endemic to Madagascar.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Spain 10: Gulls and Tern

Yellow-Legged Gull
Although a few gulls were seen earlier in the trip, most of the gulls and terns were seen on the Ebro Delta on the last day.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Spain 9: Stone Curlew

Eurasian Stone-Curlew B.oedicnemus insularum
The largest of the world’s waders are found among the various species of Stone-curlews or Thick-knees of the family Burhinidae. These strange birds can be found worldwide, often well away from water in grassy or sandy areas, with the notable exception of most of North America. In Europe and western Asia the Eurasian Stone-Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus is the native species.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Spain 8: Bustards

Breeding plumage male Little Bustard in the open - NB:This never happens
There are three species of Bustard that breed in Europe and I am glad to be able to say I have seen all three. Admittedly the Houbara Bustard only counts if you include the Canary Islands in Europe, when in terms of their location and endemic species they are more accurately part of North Africa, but they belong to Spain so I am going with it. This year I have had good views of the mainland species, Little and Great Bustard, in Portugal this spring and again in autumn in Spain.