Wednesday 15th May 2013

   Today i had planned for a visit to the Zaragoza plains, Belchite to be exact. The aim was to see Duponts Lark and the 2 species of Sandgrouse. The weather was really bad in the mountains today, rainy, cold and really misty. So, could be a good choice i thought! We drove down the mountains and out of the mist and rain. We arrived at Belchite and found the right areas, but it was really windy. this made it hard to hear the singing birds, but we did manage, by parking the car side on, and opening the window which wasn't into the wind! We could hear Duponts Larks all around, at least 6. But, no sign. We drove around a few times hoping we may just catch up with one. Crested, Calandra, Lesser & Greater Short-toed Larks were everywhere, but there were even more Corn Buntings, as everywhere else in Spain, they are still everywhere in big numbers. We found a Whinchat. Then decided to have some dinner in the car, and just sit and listen (and hope!). I saw a small lark-like bird fly up, i put the bins onto it, and as i did it sang……Duponts Lark!!! Not the view i was hoping for but a Duponts Lark none the less. After a while and no more sightings, we decided to drive around again, before giving up. As we reached the top of a hump, 4 birds flew up from the field and away from us. I jumped out of the car, and luckily they circled around, not close sadly, but enough to make out they were Pin-tailed Sandgrouse…2 lifers, not the best of views, but 2 lifers!!!!
   We headed back, and decided that we should spend the last couple of hours of light in the Hecho valley again. The same birds as before were seen on the journey up. But nothing new, on the way back down we had more luck. Where we had seen a lot of Griffon Vultures on the way up, we stopped to look as they were all perching in the trees earlier, but were now all on the move up the valley. then one struck me as a bit different…. Lammergeier, yes! The bird flew up the valley and was lost to view, but we all got a look at it. Again not the view i wanted, but my 3rd lifer of the day. As we got to the bottom end of the valley, and the last bit of light, by now it had brightened up a bit, we found a few Black Kites coming down to the fields, i couldn't resist trying to get some photos…..

Black Kite (Juvenile)

Black Kite (Adult)

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