ITINERARY OF INTRODUCTION TO ORNITHOLOGY

“Salinas Steppes”

Leader: Jose Manuel Escarabajal
Participants: Paul Sparkes, Santi, May and Juan Carlos.

CHECKLIST:
Spotless Starling, Black-winged Stilt, Jackdaw, Common Swift , Rock Pigeon,  Woodpigeon, ,  Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Little Owl,   European Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker,  Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Blackbird, Common Warbler, Sardinian warbler, Common Shrike, Magpie,   House Sparrow, Serin, Little Egret, Little Grebe,  Mallard,  Red Partridge, Common Moorhen,    Ringed PloverLittle Bustard, Crested Lark, Lark Common, Short-toed Lark, Stone Curlew, Grey Heron, Nightjar.

We are promoting our bussiness on the open road with these great short trips. After a few refreshing drinks to lessen the rigors of hot it was early afternoon and after a short introductory talk by our guide José Manuel we joined a bird feeder road that led directly into the bed of a watercourse.
This area would be the first leg of our journey into  “Introduction to Ornithology.” The small group of participants showed great enthusiasm from the beginning when the first set of stilts came to greet us (more like trying to get us away from their nests with their constant screaming and flying over our heads). We continue to move among many Jackdaws, Common Swallows, Common Swifts and several flocks of rock doves and pigeons, soon we enjoyed the first prize in the afternoon … A perfect view of a Booted Eagle flying at low altitude close to our position leaving us to enjoy, with great detail, the striking contrast of its plumage.

The first stop was the perfect excuse to introduce some knowledge on species identification, note taking and use of the field guide. Taking advantage of the high point of the viewing area I was able to explain some concepts on the salt marsh ecosystem that stretched before us. We continued on foot to the next leg of the itinerary to see the slopes of sandstone inhabited by bee-eaters, jackdaws, rollers, owls and kestrels. It’s time for another snack (drink) which is used to exchange ideas and answer some questions from participants.
The next goal, before getting into the saltlands, was looking at some distributed irrigation ponds in the area and learn about the ecological role they play as micro-wetlands in the ecosystem. Other species were observed stilts, common grebes, sandpipers, plovers and fascinating spectacle of bee-eaters catching insects on the shallow waters of a reservoir.Quite a show of color!

It was time we get into the plains and steppes, just across the first fallow fields, the second prize of the day: two male Little Bustards took off ahead of us with there very specific flight. But later we see them next to the larks, short-toed, Commons and marshy, Partridges and stone curlews in abundance were distributed throughout the area. At the start of nightfall and grey herons return to their roosts, the curlews increase their activity and the fields are full of rabbits and hares. A Nightjar out to see us off, and we started on our way back home with the satisfaction of a good afternoon’s birding and alot of new things learned.

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