Saturday, 8 October 2011

Madrid 20th - 23rd September 2011

It's that time of year again for the big annual holiday and this year it was the turn of Spain to host Davids sumptuous 49th birthday holiday extravaganza.

We headed off to Madrid from Heathrow, having seen red kites from the train between Reading and Paddington. Arriving at the hotel in Madrid it was pleasently sunny and warm and the view from the rooftop pool area was stunning with a wonderful panorama of the royal palace and wooded hillsides amongst the rooftops.

Bird wise it was quite uneventful. The most birds were seen when we visited the Temple of Debod, an Egyptian temple donated by Egypt to Spain for their help in moving temples when the Aswan Dam was built and Lake Nasser was formed. It was sited in a small park near to the hotel and I managed views of a spotted flycatcher, a coal tit, magpie, blackbird and house sparrow. A single spotless starling was seen feeding on the grass. Parakeets flew overhead squawking and I initially assumed they were ring necked but on closer inspection I found they were monk parakeets, currently the subject of a cull by DeFRA here in the UK. Woodpigeons flew overhead in small flocks, all heading in the same direction with some coming down to the pool at the temple for a drink before flying on. An adult was seen in a tree in the park with a recently fledged juvenile lacking the white collar of adult plumage.The only other bird of note was a brief view of a Sardinian warbler flying between bushes at the railway museum.

The Temple of Debod, Madrid

The 23rd September saw us heading off to Cordoba by train for the next leg of our tour. We travelled  Preferente class which was very nice with an at seat drinks trolley and a snack for lunch. However belting along at speeds of 250kms an hour meant I saw very few birds other than egrets and a flock of greater flamingoes in a small marshy area which I managed a quick view of as we hurtled by.

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