This trip report has been slow coming to realise itself out of my tiny, addled mind and onto the virtual paper here. In late October I spent a rather warm week in Southern Alicante with my family and as usual I was indulged to get out and about including day trips to see my friend Jess up in Albacete and with the family to Sierra Espuna, Murcia. We arrived from single digit temperatures of Leeds-Bradford to the relative comfort of 22c and by the time we came left it was touching 30c.
I went looking for herps with Izzy late morning and we found our only snake of the trip, hiding under the step that led into the reserve. It looked like a Smooth snake but had a chequered pattern on the belly which as far as I knew made it a Southern smooth snake. I was however mistaken, it was the mildly venomous, rear-fanged impressionist the Iberian False Smooth Snake. Naturally I held it and got Izzy to feel it - it showed no inclination to bite and there are no records of envenonmation. It had a couple of fake strikes when I annoyed it a bit but we had to move it out from under its hiding place so we didn't crush it.
That afternoon we had a ramble round El Clot de Galvany, a small nature reserve 15 miles to the north which has some pleasant bars nearby. This is a small oasis and has a mosaic of habitats. With the plentiful water I was hoping for crakes but all I got on that score were Coots and Moorhens. More interesting were the Crag Martins scuddings about and an Edward's Psammodromus on rocks. I also had my only Red-rumped Swallow of the trip and a few Crested Larks.
|Water Pipit - El Rincon|
|Male Vagrant Emperor|
|One of many chilly and duck filled lagoons of Castilla La Mancha. And Jess|
|Lucky Little Bustard shot!|
|Bonete Estacion Black Redstart|
|Part of a flock of 70 Stone Curlew|
|Iberian Grey Shrike|
The Osprey sat, looking bored on the post that I saw one on in 2015 at the same time of year. There was little else about and my Spanish birding was drawing to a close for another trip. Below are a few of the other photos that I managed whilst out there. We are currently planning to head to Cadiz province in late August 2020 for our summer holiday when hopefully the raptors are plentiful. I miss Spain already and I can't wait for my first Tarifa experience.
|Light Morph Booted Eagle|