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that's sir spanish imperial eagle to you

2014-03-05 - 7:22 a.m.

It's a 13 raptor day here in Montfrague National Park. OK, let's be fair. We did see some of the raptors along the way.

First up was a pair of Common Kestrels seen perched roadside as we sat in rush hour morning traffic outside Madrid, Spain.

Not much later, we encountered our first Red Kite, which gave us great views from the side of the (fortunately) not so busy toll road.

Various vultures, one Marsh Harrier, tons of White Storks on the nest or just hanging out.

We'd barely entered the park before we spotted the first look out Partilla del Ti�tar where some fine folks already had a spotting scope set up. Yep. Spanish Imperial Eagle. Perched waiting to take its turn on the nest.

As a perfect bookend to the day, the last bird we spent a lot of time with was also a Spanish Imperial Eagle, either the same one or its mate, near the same spot, who soared over us multiple times before perching for the night.

I could say a lot more but it's been a long day. For now, here are the 13 birds of prey we spotted today:

  1. Red Kite
  2. Black Kite (being mobbed by Raven)
  3. Cinereous Vulture
  4. Griffon Vulture
  5. Egyptian Vulture
  6. Short Toe Snake Eagle (kiting)
  7. Marsh Harrier
  8. Sparrowhawk (great looks of a male bird who spent a long time overhead
  9. Common Buzzard
  10. Bonelli's Eagle
  11. Spanish Imperial Eagle
  12. Common Kestrel
  13. Lesser Kestrel

Other notables:

  • A red fox being fed by a tourist
  • tons of red deer
  • several small to large flocks of my life Azure-winged Magpie

Have to admit that I never knew that foxes wanted to eat peanuts or that they would come to the hand of the astute six-year-old in exchange for huge pink candies. There were several funny moments with the princess in pink had to scold her indulgent papa for attempting to engage the fox with a toy Godzilla. Honey, that fox ain't never gonna play with that toy.

Where was the fox ranger, you might ask? Well, he was there and either it's allowed to feed the wild foxes or papa supplied the appropriate tip, because he drove off and allowed the fun to continue.

We also went over the dam and visited to of the other nearby lookouts La B�scula and La Tajadilla. Bonelli's Eagle required a bit more chasing to find than the Imperial Eagle, but we still had great views, perhaps in part thanks to the same bratty raven that also came back to chase our lone Black Kite.

The food at the country inn was delicious but I was jet-lagged and could only taste but not really eat. The place is normally closed on Tuesday and had been opened just for us, so the host hovered a lot and was unduly concerned about how little I ate. At dinner, I actually managed to push off some of my asparagus and trout on S., so the all the plates ended up clean, and everybody ended up happy. Hee hee.

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