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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Raptor viewpoint

Staggering views were had.

Awesome Black Vulture.

Griffon Vulture.

Huge birds.

3 metre wingspan.

Beautiful Beeeater on its way to Africa..

One of the larger butterflies Two Tailed Pasha!

Scarce Swallowtail.....
Simon my guide decided it was time for lunch,, so we drove a few kilometres to a small village .The restaurant had been recently renovated and the owners really made us feel most welcome!A snack was all I had in mind,so I was surprised when the owner sat us down at a table with parma ham/bread, fresh melon and an assortment of other delicaeses all laid out before us.As we started to tuck in, 2 large ice cold beers appeared from behind the bar,fantastic!
The owner then came over with a large plateful of barbecued lamb accompanied with chips and a bowl of local salad to boot.It tasted absolutely delicious and was well worth the wait.More beer was brought plus another big bowl of local rice pudding which they begged me to try!Well it would have been rude not too.I could hardly move after eating so much food and could gladly have stayed longer.We squared up the bill which came to 7 euros each,including drinks by the way and headed out into the blistering heat.Boy I was ready for a good sleep I dont know about raptor watching!!!
Simon had found this place by chance and it was a closely guarded secret.We took a track off the main road which just led up and up and up and then came to a dead end at a big `fire watch tower` which was manned 7 days a week!As you could imagine the views were staggering,overlooking miles and miles of plain,you could just make out Spain in the distance.
After a short wait the first of the raptors appeared,it was Griffon vulture gliding steadily towards us.although not very close you could make out its long neck and two tone colouration under its wing,its wingspan was massive nearly 3 metres across.Good numbers came past over the next hour and half with an odd Black Vulture for good measure.A few Short Toed Eagles were seen in the distance, hovering over the hillside,this species feeds on snakes and small reptiles but we didn`t get close enough for any photos.Kestrels were evident as were big numbers of Bee eaters heading South to Africa.They were very noisy on their way through, but were none the less a welcome sight.A few juveniles perched on the wires lower down, and I managed a few images!
Two species of butterfly were present,Scarce Swallowtail and one of the largest species the Two Tailed Pasha,its underwing more attractive than its upper.I hadn`t seen any of these before, so was made up!
What I thought was a crow flying by turned out to be a Chough, again another first for me.Simon decided enough was enough and we made our way back down the track.Usually there are lots more raptors,especially Eagle types but today was just a bit quiet!We had a few more hours left yet and Simon headed for another of his secret places where a very rare Swift was breeding,More about this in my next blog though!!!!