Extremadura 5-day Bio-blitz (2)

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Day 2 (25th April)


Just before light, we left Torrejón el Rubio on the EX-20 and headed out into the Dehesa. Not far along the road a Hedgehog was seen at the edge of the road, a Western Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus.

Nightingale Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Rock Sparrow, Red-legged Partridge, White Stork and a perched Black Kite were recorded before reaching a familiar stand of Stone Pines Pinus pinea.  

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This was an area visited in 1997 and still virtually unchanged.  Here were Iberian Magpies, Eurasian Magpie, Golden Oriole, numerous Woodchat Shrikes and at least 4 Hoopoes, with a Roe Deer also seen.

Streams and the areas around them found either crossing the road (under a bridge) or near the road always warranted a stop.  

One such stop found a Brown Argus species.  The very bright complete orange markings and the underside ground colour of a rich orange-brown points towards a Spanish Brown Argus Aricia cramera.

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A pond near the road was certainly worth investigating and the sounds of frogs vocalising further confirmed the decision to stop was the correct one!

Initially, there was nothing obvious, although the Common Water Crowfoot Ranunculus aquatilis was very picturesque.  Moving along the edge of the water, several ‘plops’ were heard as unnoticed frogs jumped back into the water.  

Eventually, by keeping still at the edge of the pond and getting ‘our eyes in’ the resident frogs began to show themselves, although with just their head out of the water, amongst the vegetation, made spotting them still quite difficult.  However, heads were beginning to show somewhat closer and some of the frogs emerged from the water to bask on the waterside rocks, allowing some nice images to be taken of what were identified as Iberian Green Frogs Pelophylax perezi (formerly Rana perezi) also known as Perez’s Frog.  

It is worth noting that the Iberian Frog Rana iberica (a species looked at whilst researching the frog’s identity) is rated as being ‘Near Threatened’ by the UCIN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).  It is less tolerant of polluted waters that Iberian Green Frogs and habitat loss has had a major impact on their decline.

Several Griffon Vultures flew over and Black Kite, Bee-eaters and Stonechat were seen, along with an Iberian Magpie which visited the pond to bathe.

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Spanish Pond Terrapins                                                                                             Bee-eater

Black-winged Stilts

Black Kite                                          White Stork                                                                Rock Sparrow      Sardinian Warbler

Woodchat Shrikes                                               Hoopoe                                                                        Roe Deer                           Spanish Brown Argus

Iberian Green Frogs