Monfragüe National Park, Extremadura: PART 2

Monfragüe National Park PART 2 ~ 17-19th October 2016 ~ 

Carrying on from PART 1...

Day 4 (18th): After breakfast we made our way to Serradilla. From there we took 'La Ruta de la Garganta del Fraile', aka Friar's Gorge Route. It was a stunning walk, with some amazing scenery and great birding along the way with highlights of Serin, Hoopoe, Iberian Magpie and Rock Sparrow! After a coffee stop in Serradilla, we headed to Mirabel Castle for lunch and some birding. The best of the bunch here was Black Vulture, Woodlark and Cirl Bunting. After lunch we went to a cork oak forest to see "Padre Santo", one of the oldest Cork Oaks in the region. In this area we also saw Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Short-toed Treecreeper. Before heading back to our accommodation in Plasencia, we met with the Mayor of Mirabel to talk about ecotourism in the local area, as well as how undiscovered the National Park and Biosphere Reserve are, despite their fantastic array of wildlife.
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
"Padre Santo" 

Day 5 (19th): Some members of the group left mid-morning, leaving the rest of us to explore Trujillo, our final destination of the trip. The municipality of Trujillo is full of history, with many medieval and renaissance buildings. We explored the old town for a few hours, learning a lot about the local history. In Plaza Mayor the Red-rumped Swallows and Crag Martins kept me suitably occupied, while we also saw Merlin, Hawfinch, Serin and Black Redstarts on our wanderings around the town. At about 12.30 I began the 3 hour journey back to the airport where I then flew back to the UK. The drive to the airport was not without birds, of course, with more Griffon Vultures, Spotless Starlings, an Iberian Grey Shrike or two and our one and only White Stork of the trip.
Cospsoptera jourdanaria
View from Trujillo Castle
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable few days spent exploring an incredibly biodiverse environment with excellent company and seeing a plethora of new species (26 birds and lots else besides). A huge thank you once again to David Lindo and the Diputación de Cáceres for making the trip possible and for the invite!

I would highly recommend a visit for the birds, the history and the culture and I hope it's not too long before I return to Extremadura to explore it some more...

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