A few days ago, I was delighted to provide a guided bird watching trip to the steppe area for an experience birder from England who was very interested to see the steppe birds of Spain whilst he was on holiday in Benidorm.
Having collected him from his hotel in Valencia city, we made the journey inland and up onto the high plateau of Castilla de la Mancha. After a morning coffee stop and a briefing on the species that we were likely to see, we headed across the rolling plains where had great views of Great Bustards, Crested Lark and Calandra Lark.
The next stop was in a farm area where we enjoyed some typical species including Skylark, Rock Sparrow and Corn Bunting.
Before we headed up onto the higher steppe, we made a brief stop to see Granes in flight, two pairs of Little Owls and Southern Iberian Shrikes.
The high steppe eventually gave us views of one of the day´s key species – the Great Bustard. Initially we spotted three males, albeit at long range and also three Black-belied Sandgrouse. Then our patience was rewarded with great views of a group of 12 birds. At the same time, we were also fortunate enough to see one Pintail Sandgrouse and two Little Bustards, another typical steppe bird.
The trip was brought to an end at one of the regions larger lagoons, where we finished the day with views of Flamingos and Black-winged Stilt.
Although we had no forgotten the unpredictable stop in the motorway to see in flight a juvenile of Spanish Imperial Eagle.
The species list of the day includes…
Little Owl, Imperial Eagle, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Crane, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Hoppoe, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Skylark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, House Sparrow, Starling, Spotless Starling, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Robin, White Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove.
Written by Yanina Maggiotto
Bird watching Guide at Valencia Birding