Monday, March 07, 2011

Urban Birding in Madrid - Casa de Campo

On returning from Morocco I had a day and a night in Madrid with my brother (who lives there and knows the city well). I'd hoped to get some photographs of the city combined with a bit of birding in the green spaces. One such space is the vast area known as Casa de Campo – and 'urbanised' dehesa of more than 1700 hectares, which I guess could be the equivalent of London's Richmond Park. In spring and early summer and with a lot more time this area should provide species like Hoopoe, Scops Owl, Hawfinch, Black Kite and possibly shrikes in the quieter areas! The problem was I had a touch of food poisoning (ok, I should have abstained from the salads in Morocco, but they were tasty!) and my enthusiasm was a little reduced. A walk around produced Short-toed Treecreeper, Serin, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Spotless Starling, nesting White Storks, White Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Jay, Tree Sparrow, and numerous Monk Parakeets. The highlight though was a migrating flock of over 400 Eurasian Cranes heading north which began to circle slowly high above the area. It was the chorus of bugling calls that first attracted my attention and on looking up it felt that spring was now beginning. These birds would probably be heading up from Andalucia via Laguna Gallocanta, across the Pyrenees into France, then Germany and into Scandinavia.

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