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WEATHER:  another lovely morning with bright sunshine, temp 15C

For our last morning we had time to visit a ocuple of birding spots along the route to Madrid, the first drop off at the airport was not until 2:30pm. We had breakfast at 8am and departed before 9am. There were still a number of species missing from the list and we hoped to see two or three of them this morning.

my group  taken first thing this morning

About 5km along the road towards Trujillo we stopped to scan a rocky area where the likes of Black-eared Wheatear breed, it was a glorious morning, no cloud and no wind but a little on the chilly side. We spent half an hour enjoying the birds of the area without seeing a single wheatear, two Hoopoes called from the tops of two derelict barns, Thekla and Crested Larks appeared all over, Sardinian Warblers flitted about and my favourite Corn Bunting was ever-present.

our only Red Fox sighting of the trip

Twenty five kilometers along the autovia towards Madrid lies a lovely little town called Jaraicejo, the town sits on a hillside with a river valley below it and a heathland above it. The river Almonte runs below three bridges near the town, we drove to the oldest of the bridges and scanned the open meadows and oak woodland on either side of the river. The bridges provided nesting sites for a good number of species including Crag and House Martin, House and Rock Sparrows whilst the river supports Grey and White Wagtails, Little Ringed Plover, Common Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper amongst others. We saw most of these birds as well as Hoopoe, Bee-eater, both Whinchat and Stonechat, Red-rumped Swallow, Grey Heron and Cetti’s Warbler.

the two modern bridges taken from the old bridge the 'Puente del Cardenal'

The woodland was alive with bird song, Common Nightingales sang from several different places, as did Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Linnets. We never saw a Cirl Bunting or a Hawfinch, both of which have been regular sightings at this site for me in the past.

Finally our last birding session commenced! We drove through the town of Jaraicejo and turned onto the heathland above it. Again bird song rang out from all directions, these were mainly larks, Crested, Thekla and Woodlarks. We also saw both Woodchat and Iberian Shrikes as well as Linnet and Goldfinches.

two shots of the Spectacled Warbler

It took a short while in two separate places to locate our target species the Spectacled Warbler, what a little beauty to finish off our list with. We had one singing in full view and it performed several of its song-flight displays. We also watched Dartford Warbler and saw Short-toed Eagle and a few vultures drifted over.

our one and only Fritillary Sighting  this is Queen of Spain Fritillary

Our journey to Madrid was uneventful except for the huge amount of traffic heading back to Madrid after the Easter weekend. We were held up a few times because of accidents but we made to airport with time to spare. The trip was over, we all went our separate ways after agreeing to keep in touch.