Saturday, July 07, 2018

Birds Butterflies Plants and Flower of Corral Rubio.

An exciting first for both of us.  A terrific sight.

Another really good day around Corral Rubio, Petrola and Higueruela in the grain store of Albacete. We knew that it was likely to be a very hot day and it was already 24 degrees when we left Gran Alacant at 6 am.  As we approached our destination it became cooler and a stiff breeze helped to bring it down to 12 degrees.

We decided to investigate Corral Rubio area first and at our first stop, we watched dozens of Gull-billed Terns flying over the surrounding cornfields of barley, oats and wheat. At one point they were just over our heads calling and wheeling away. 

 On both sides of the track, there was a multitude of flowers and foliage in the unattended margins.  From this, we heard Common Quail calling from several locations, even though we remained patient not one came into view.  That's no surprise really, but it would have been exceptionally good to see one either scurry away or flying.

This is Great Bustard territory and we checked every field that we could see.  In the distance, we spotted three in a group and one solitary male bird.  We moved on attempting to get a closer view and in doing so we had great views of a group of seven just one field away from the road.  These birds are majestic and always worth searching for.  Overhead there were still Gull-billed Terns with Pallid Swifts and Swallows feeding over the corn.

Our next location was on the road to Montenegro Del Castillo were on a previous trip I had seen a substantial piece of water which appears to be capable to stand the summer heat.  This road although frequently used, there are plenty of places where cars can safely stop.  The habitat here is more varied and thus more interesting.  Alongside the road and next to the water, there is a pull off under the pines where the wildlife can be observed.  We saw both Little and Black-necked Grebe, Lots of male White-headed Duck with females and in the distance other waterfowl.

  A female Marsh Harrier plunged into the reeds and did not reappear.  Over a ridge two Buzzards hung in the wind.  This is a place that we will return to.  It was also a very good spot for Marbled Whites butterflies and although difficult to photograph because of the wind and with perseverance they were photographed.

Lagunas de Petrola was again disappointing, but it did provide views of Yellow Wagtails and Tree Sparrows.  A Common Sandpiper flew, Lapwings were easily spotted and a Great Reed Warbler rasped away. On the water, lots of juvenile Back headed Gulls.  We did not stay long and headed for the causeway which a few weeks ago was impassable, but today it was as ‘dry as a bone’.  Then we got lucky for on the end of the causeway a male GB flew to our right and two females flew away to the left.  In the overgrown margin we saw clearly two young birds (and possibly a third one).  One of the youngsters ‘panicked’ after being spooked by our arrival.  Then it squatted down and remained so.  It was immovable for about ten minutes with its tail feathers being ruffled by the wind.  The soil is reddish here and the plumage is fawny, but it was not easy to see and so we worked at it.  I eventually got some photos and then our two-foot high chick walked away into the corn.  It is so good to see young birds like these and I hope that they make adulthood.

By this time the temperature had risen and we moved on and in the distance we relocated our flown away adults. They had not gone that far.  Before we had left the fields we again watched Gull-Billed Terns circling overhead and the camera clicked again.  In the Camino, a Red-legged Partridge paraded her seven chicks before running away.

We headed towards Higueruela, which has been a first stop of the day before, but on this occasion, we did it last.  Under the pines, we had eight bird species either seen or heard.  We had hoped for Golden Orioles again but not today.  The Bonelli's Warblers called and flitted around.

I have not listed all the birds seen as most are usually found on days like today.  However, Bee-eaters were noticeable by their absence as we only saw two.  Great Spotted Cuckoos and Wheatears were absent too.  This year has been different and continues to do so.

We always pay attention to the small stuff.  I have already mentioned 
Marble Whites and also there were Small Whites flying around.  Add to that Clouded Yellow Painted Lady, Spanish Gatekeeper,
Before all of those, we watched and photographed several Red-underwings.

We will do this again next month and see how it compares.  It means we have to get out early.



  1. Great photos, thanks for posting this piece, it will be useful in planning our trip to the area.

  2. Fantastic post and Blog,loved looking in.