Trujillo Steppes

Saturday, May 11th: We started the day by heading to the (agricultural) steppe area near Trujillo. Early on, a Great Spotted Cuckcoo flew across the road in front of us. I could tell what it was, but it was not a good look.

One of our main targets was Little Bustard. It didn't take long to find some, and before we were done, we had also found another Great Bustard. Other fields had Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We got poor looks at both on the ground, and better looks when they flew, especially the Black-bellied. The Sandgrouse are a new family for me.

We continued to drive the area, finding a couple of pairs of Red-legged Partridge sitting on the old stone walls that are so common here. The Rio Magasca runs through the area, and we were looking down at the river when a Common Kingfisher flew up it carrying a fish. The jewel-like kingfisher continued to ply his trade on the river as we searched for warblers and other birds.

More field birding turned up a couple of Eurasian Stone-Curlews. Monroy Road finally brought us a perched Great Spotted Cuckoo. It sat placidly at the base of an open bush and all were able to get good looks. By now it was time head for Trujillo and have a late lunch. We ate at a restaurant in the square of this old town, with a statue of Pizarro in view. Besides the Pizarros, Trujillo was also the home of Franciso de Orellana, the first man to navigate the Amazon. For those who don't know the story, Orellana and his men started on the Coca River, which runs into the Napo near the town of Coca, Ecuador (officially Puerto Francisco de Orellana). This is the town I flew into a few years ago to start my journey to the Napo Wildlife Center. Orellana continued down the Napo to its confluence with the upper Amazon, near Iquitos, and all to the Atlantic, thousands of miles away. They then needed to sail along South American coast in order to make contact with civilization.

Trujillo: Plaza Mayor Statue of Francisco Pizzaro
Trujillo: Plaza Mayor Statue of Francisco Pizzaro

Late in the day, most of us returned to the Monfragüe castle in search of White-rumped Swifts. We spent a couple of hours looking for them, without success.

My current trip total is 172, with 53 lifers. Today bird total was 54 species, including 5 lifers.

Hospedería de Monfragüe, Torrejón El Rubio