Dave Kilbey Photography

Extremaduran extravaganza

Posted by Dave Kilbey on Sunday 12 June 2011 at 1:51am

My third and final stop in Spain was Extremadura and I headed back to the same spot I came to last year in Monroy (principally because I enjoyed staying with my friends Jesus and Tere at La Bogeda del Herrador so much last year I couldn’t resist doing it again). 

The draws of La Bogeda’s ambience and Tere’s excellent food aside, Extremadura is also an incredible area for birds.  You inevitably begin to become rather blase about it after a while but there are birds by the bucket load here.  It’s not the diversity that’s remarkable but the shear number of birds.  There are corn buntings, crested and calandra larks everywhere you care to look. 

Crested Lark at sunset - Dave Kilbey

Crested Lark silhouetted at sunset

Corn Bunting singing on a post - Dave Kilbey

Corn Bunting singing

However, that’s not to say that photography here is easy.  Due to the fact that the climate in Extremadura is often rather warm (to understate in the extreme) you have very limited windows of opportunity for taking photos - a few hours in the early morning and again late in the evening; when the temperature is bearable and the light conducive to taking photos.  Added to that is the frustration of being surrounded by birds but almost never being able to find one that will sit for long enough to allow you to take a photo.  The number of times I had one in frame only for it to scarper at the very last moment….. Some things never change! 

But I digress; it’s not just larks and buntings that are abundant.  There are constantly moving feeding parties of both house and spanish sparrows and white storks are almost constantly in sight as they drift en route from nest to feeding sites.  The ubiquitous black kites can sometimes be seen in the several hundred in a single area, where they gather to feed on various invertebrates and small mammals…. and by the looks of it, to socialise and cause mischief.

Flock of Spanish Sparrows, Extremadura - Dave Kilbey

Flock of Spanish Sparrows

White stork in flight - Dave Kilbey

White stork flying in to feed

White stork displaying on nest at sundown - Dave Kilbey

White stork displaying on nest at sundown

White stork on Monroy Castle wall - Dave Kilbey

White stork on the castle wall, Monroy

Black Kite in flight - Dave Kilbey

Black Kite in flight

Woodchat shrikes seem to hold quite small territories (food is obviously so plentiful they don’t need much room) and in some places you see a pair hunting from shrubs and fence posts every few hundred meters along roadsides and tracks.

Woodchat shrike sitting on a post - Dave Kilbey

Woodchat shrike sitting on a post


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