Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Birdwatching along the Tajo International river in Spain

With the Portuguese hilltop town of Marvão high above us, our road turned left and we soon passed seamlessly into Spain, heading towards Valencia de Alcántara, Shortly after this remote town we once again turn left, this time a very minor road towards Cedillo. 

 We are now in the International Tajo, no sign of a river or cliffs,
 just the rolling Dehesa and scrub warblers.
We bear right and the road winds down towards the Tajo River, the international border splitting Spain and Portugal, the river forms the border for some 40 Kilometres. 
Here the green-clad cliffs are home to Black Storks, Egyptian Vultures, Black and Griffon Vultures, Golden and Bonelli's Eagles, Short-Toed Eagles Black Kites and Booted Eagles are also seen with many other cliff and rock species.
We will follow the river upstream to Alcantara through a wonderfully remote landscape,
full of nature.

Portugal to the right and Spain on the left, the Rio Tajo centre stage.

Black Kites hunt along the green cliffs.

A key species for our visit was the Blue Rock Thrush.

Perfect timing as the male birds were all seeking partners and very visible as they sing and defend their territories.

Our road continues through small deserted villages towards a tributary of the Tajo, the Rio Salzar.

Black Vulture "what a bird" so massive!

Black stork, what a day!

Unbelievably the Black Stork and Black Vulture are circling together on the thermal.
Just look at the size of the Vulture compared to the Stork.

At this time of year, Short-Toed Eagles seem nearly common.

A pair of Crag Martin's, beautifully camouflaged, take a rest from their nest building.

On the cliff face, we can watch their nest building progress.

The Emabalse de Alcántara is an important breeding ground for the Black Stork, during our visit we were lucky to see two females arriving at the nesting site, the males had already returned.

Reunited on their nest, "yes that is a CCTV camera," all the nests here are given maximum protection.

Egyptian Vultures are also nesting close by.

Synchronised flying by a pair of Egyptian Vultures!

Meanwhile, the resident Griffon Vultures look on.

High above the river, we find acres of wild flowers and Red Deer.

A hunting Spanish Imperial Eagle.

What a fantastic area to visit.

For us, the road heads North, we will return!

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