Raptor spotting – South-west Murcia

Leader: Jose Manuel Escarabajal
Participants: PS, Kate, Dick, Bertie, Judy,

Roller, Crested Lark, Golden Eagle, Alpine Swallow, Swallow, Red-rumped Swalow, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starlin, Green woodpecker, Bonelli’s Eagle, Craig Martin, Kestrel,  Short-toed Eagle,  Wood Pigeon, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Long-eared Owl.

We met our group of keen birders at El Molino where they have stayed for the past two years, after a brief run-down of what we would hopefully see in this afternoons trip we set off for the South-west of Murcia. After only 20 minutes we spot a Roller in a tree at the road side, so we pull off the road and have a look at this fantastic bird with its bright blue chest making it stand out in the tree. As normal on our tours we like to show our guests all the birds possible in the time we have together so even though this is a raptor trip we cant pass by without stopping when possible.
At our first stop we park up and take in the great views of the mountain range, while we are setting up the telescopes we get our first sighting of a Golden Eagle gracefully gliding over the mountain top and giving us a superb view of  its markings. The group gets to track its flight along the ridge then over the top to the other side. While we wait to see if it will return to our side we spot other birds in the area like Alpine Swallows and Crested Larks. Within ten minutes the Golden Eagle is back and to our delight stops on the top of the mountain giving us a magnificent profile view through the scopes.
We move on after the group has had its fill of the Golden Eagle, on the way to the next stop we see Spotless Starlings, a pair of Green Woodpeckers, Woodchat Shrike and a few Wood Pigeons. After parking the cars we have a short walk to our next view point. Again we set up the scopes and bang on que a Bonell’s Eagle fly’s our way,  passing over head to show off to us, we scan the sky’s for more birds, and not far behind the first Bonelli’s is its partner gliding on the winds. The pair stop on the mountain face behind us giving all a great view. After a while they take to the sky’s again and pass over the mountain out of sight. Our guest have come well prepared and tuck into some sandwiches as we wait to see if the Bonelli’s return. A lone Eagle comes into sight and after a few minutes is close enough to be identified as a Short-toed Eagle, it passes in front of us and fly’s off into the distance.
As the day light starts to fade we pack up and make our way to the cars and home, on the way we have an added bonus Jose spots a Long-eared Owl on top of a telephone pole so we pull off the road and have a look, when out of the cars we here more in the trees and spot that they are young and being watched over by the parent on the pole. The adult owl is not bothered by us being there no more than  15 meters away which allows us to have a good look and with the light fading behind it the silhouette is fantastic and a great ending to the trip.

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